24 – An intense 1st day on the plateau

Day 15 - An intense 1st day on the plateau...

We woke up this morning to 25-30 knot winds hammering our tent. The extreme wind was less than ideal, but we thought we'd give it a shot and get moving.

It did not go well :)

I really struggled while leading on the 1st shift...

It was our first time using a strap on compass to navigate. It's this device strapped to the chest with a compass on top of it. I had to keep looking down at it to make sure we were heading in the right direction.

While skiing, the compass needle bounces around a lot, so you have to really be on point with looking at it and keeping it aligned to our intended bearing. That was new and unfamiliar. Last time I used this contraption was only for a short time in Greenland in 2012. I got a bit better by the end of my shift, but I was far from perfect at it.

We also switched back to half skins, since the climb was over. As the worst skier in the group, I had a hard time with that. My skis kept sliding out from under me on the sastrugi.(wind swept formations in the snow)

I also made a big mistake by not starting with my down skirt on, so my thighs were freezing,

On top of all of this, the wind got stronger. It kept beating us down in a nonstop onslaught. This made skiing, navigating and everything much harder. Unlike when I was on Denali, the wind here is absolutely relentless. It doesn't hit in waves, it hits you and then just keeps hitting you some more. It got to a point where we were fighting 40-45 knot winds. It was brutal. You can see the ice on my parka in pic 1, which was taken after getting into the tent,

We had all kinds of issues happening with the team as well that kept forcing us to stop. For all the energy we were expending, we were barely making any progress. Early into the 2nd shift, Christian made the right decision and called it a day.

I made a few mistakes today, but I learned from them and they won't happen again. I spent the afternoon reorganizing my systems in preparation for very different conditions than what we became accustomed to on the glacier.

Not sure what Antarctica will throw at us tomorrow, but we will all be better prepared for battle.

“AKSHAY WILL CHANGE THE WAY YOU THINK ABOUT FEAR” – CAL NEWPORT

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Fearvana inspires us to look beyond our own agonizing experiences
and find the positive side of our lives. ~ The Dalai Lama