THE GRIND CONTINUES IN GREENLAND16th May 2017.
POS: 62 10' 08.7 N 46 43'51.0 W
ALT 6850 ft
3am. Woken by the gentle flutters of the tent, a telling sign of the wind we are so desperate for. Groggy-eyed, we launched into action; stove on, hot drinks and porridge to get fuelled-up for what would undoubtedly be another day of the elements testing our mettle. Reason I say this, is we’ve had no-wind forecast and then there is a fairly “hairy” weather system on the way. We are in a slight predicament, in that we have to travel as far North (obviously) as possible, so we are aren’t bearing the full ferocity of the storm currently building over the Arctic Ocean.
One of most uncomfortable parts of the day is always taking the first step outside of the tent. We were greeted by a -15ºC slap-to-the-system as cold katabatic wind flowed down the gentle slope and into our tent, as well as into our bones.
Geoff and I had the usual discussion about kite selection for the day, based on the conditions. We elected the 11m, ultralight setup, however, within 10minutes of breaking camp we opted to pack them away and change to a bigger rig. It’s always with a mixed set of emotions when you have to kite change. Deep down you know it’s a wise investment but the price of time and energy in that moment is dear. The process goes; land kite, fix safety to ski (deeply planted in snow, as an anchor), bury edge of kite to prevent gusty take-offs and misbehaviour. Then, wrap lines, fold kite, compress and place away in stuff-sack, then sled. Then do it all in reverse as you set up the new kite.
Even under the greater power of the bigger kite, I was having great difficulty keeping up with Geoff. I found it massively frustrating as I am quite proficient with kite-flying in general, however, it seemed this katabatic airflow fell under a new set of rules. Learning a whole new style of kite flying was one thing, although, when you have to do it over hard, broken ice, as well as keeping up with someone, it feels like a war of attrition.
Time to rest up and do it again. Praying for some more favourable airflow in the meantime.
Often when its this tough we question why on earth we took the challenge on - cold, battering bodies, alone, far from loved ones - then we remember the women we stand for and the breast care nurses who care for them - and we also remember that their battle doesn't end just because of a string of tough days, it continues to the end, to good health. Inspired by these brave Aussie women, we shut up, get into our sleeping bags and ready to do battle again tomorrow.
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**images coming out of Greenland are low resolution due to the use of satellite phone data**