THE MOMENTUM CONTINUESPOS: 73 50'28.5 N 48 33' 15.4W
ALT: 8063 ft
The iPhone-like a parasite from the outside world jarred me out of exhausted sleep at 3 am this morning. It was evident immediately that a cold snap had come in overnight, the hoarfrost within the tent, the clouds of mist from breath and a bone gnawing air temp outside attested to a new normal this far north. Dressing quickly I went outside to our now buried sleds, warning Simon that we'd need to be cautious today as my face was blasted with snow coming in sideways and a wind chill well below -20C.
We dressed like warriors preparing for battle - our enemy today was frostbite. The wind was near perfect direction and strength and so with 11m kites up we raced crosswind ever northwards. Immediately it was evident that the upwind side of the body was copping it, any exposed flesh immediately was in danger and within minute’s feet, toes and hands felt like a blowtorch was being brushed over them.
With miles slipping away it's easy to ignore the warnings no matter how painful. Despite wriggling my toes madly I could tell I was not winning. A bleating body part is one thing but what is truly scary is when a digit or toe gives up and goes silent. My upwind big toe did just this, blissful numbness, no more pain. I signalled to Simon- we must stop, and dropped and controlled my kite immediately. Examining my foot I had no frostbite, but had frostnip - its annoying little sister. Left alone frostnip will develop into frostbite. We rugged up further and pressed on, our toes were happy once more!
The day had everything; frostnip, wild wind chill, clear skies, snow storms, overpowered scary big kites, nearly 2 full degrees of nasty bone jarring sastrugi, and a total white out to finish. The most amazing snowstorm delivered from an ominous black sky to our west, snowflakes drifting at the same speed we were travelling at. The low evening sun backlit these flakes so they danced golden about us and pressed our exhausted minds into a trancelike stupor. The solitude, peace and light show mixed with the absolute punishment our bodies have been subject to had an almost drug like effect.
Thoughts of calories, drying kit, blissful sleep and I close with a thought from "the boss" Shackleton himself - "I believe it is in our nature to explore, to reach into the unknown. The only true failure would be not to explore at all".
**note: images coming out of Greenland are low res due to the use of satellite phone data**