26 – My trip is over…

Day 18 - My trip is over :(

Yesterday, we were out on a normal day. It started off brutally hard (more on that later) but then the wind died, and it was beautiful Antarctic weather.

We were all cruising along, when on the start of the 7th shift, I felt my right ring finger go numb. Everything had been going smoothly all day and my hands felt fine before this. It's normal for them to sometimes start a little cold and warm up as you ski. So I kept going trying to warm up in my mittens. I knew we only had 2 more shifts to go, I thought I'd just suck it up. But after a while, something was clearly wrong, so I told Christian. We looked at it and it was very swollen.

We immediately stopped to set up camp and get warm. Then 2 other fingers swelled up as well.

We wrapped them and waited till this morning to see if they'd get better. They did not. The frostbite has spread, they're even more swollen, blistered and blue.

The call was then made for me to be evacuated. Right now I believe they can still heal. But the doctor said if I expose these fingers to the cold any more, I'd lose them.

The South Pole will be here another day, my fingers I can't get back.

I've been analyzing it all night and I don't know what caused it to happen. I didn't do anything stupid. I didn't do anything differently than the rest of the team or how I've usually done it, and I've been on cold weather expeditions plenty of times before. Christian also said I wasn't reckless and it was just bad luck. It really seemed to have come out of nowhere, especially on these particular fingers.

Objectively, I can say with confidence I didn't make any mistakes to have caused this. But at the same time, I know I wasn't perfect out here. That's on me. I will be next time.

It's VERY disappointing, because I've been thriving out here in every way, mentally, physically, spiritually and as a strong, contributing member of the team, as my teammates themselves told me.

But it is what it is now...

I still have the North Pole and I WILL be back here. Antarctica and I are not done yet.

On the plus side, at least I climbed the glacier and should still get to keep my fingers :) 

Now I wait for the plane...

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

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30 – The toughest challenge with frostbite

29 – What I am most proud of…

28 – The worst part about being evacuated early

27 – I owe a debt of gratitude

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