Discipline and very little fish glue

Today we changed our strategy and are now skiing for 50 minutes at a stretch instead of 60 minutes. Covering this many kilometres requires discipline and we are trying to shorten our rest breaks. Ulvang is the slave driver.
Centenary Expedition to the South Pole 1911-2011 skiing in AntarcticaFlatness, whiteness and distance. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

After four stints we stopped for lunch, then continued with four more. That moved us forward 25 km. We’re averaging just under 4 km/hour. When daytime temperatures lie around -25°C, the snow has a rough surface that puts up resistance against the sleds. But the going is good and we have not had to contend with the “fish glue” Amundsen described thus:

“Atop the smooth surface of the ice lie a scattering of little wind drifts, and they consist of a type of snow that more closely resembles fish glue than anything else.”

At night the temperature plunges to well below -30°C. Last night we beat Amundsen for the first time: we surpassed the lowest temperature on his entire trip to the South Pole, -34.5°C, with our -35.4°C.

S 79 47.996, W 165 17.017
Temp: -29.1°C
Wind: 2 m/s from the south
Distance traversed: 25.3 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 243 km