Swapping partners

After one week sharing a tent with the same person, it’s time to switch partners. Until now, Stein and Harald Dag have shared one tent and Jan-Gunnar and Vegard have shared the other one.
Tent camp at 80 degrees 30 minutes southOur tent camp at 80 degrees 30 minutes south. Photo: Norwegian Polar Instititute

We have two tents from Helsport, of the Fjellheimen series, one four-man and one three-man. The tents are great, but the smaller one doesn’t offer much elbow room for full-grown men with a lot of gear. This harsh reality added some extra excitement to the lottery about which lucky people would be sleeping in the big tent. We drew straws for both partners and tents. Stein and Jan-Gunnar won the larger tent, while Vegard must resign himself to another week in the smaller one, which he will now share with Harald Dag.

Amundsen had a tent with only one pole. He had no doubts about this being an advantage: “I have come to the conclusion that the fewer poles a tent has, the easier it is to set up.” In Amundsen’s opinion, his was “the strongest and most practical tent that has ever been used”. It could be set up by one man alone, even in a gale. How often, wondered Amundsen, have we not read about expeditions with tents that were complicated and time-consuming to set up, “and when it has finally been pitched, one lay inside expecting the wind to blow it away at any moment”.

Our tents are also easy to pitch, though we prefer more than one pole. We are using tunnel tents with two poles each. When we move on, we tape down the poles, roll up the tent and put it on top of the sled. This means it is just a few moments’ work to pitch them when we stop to make camp. The temperature has risen a bit today, up to -24°C, but at the same time the wind veered until we were taking it head on. We end with an apt quote from Amundsen: “Wind from the south-southeast, but not very strong. Still, it did not feel like a summer breeze.”

Position: S 80 33.416, W 166 12.932
Temperature: -24°C
Wind: 8 m/s from the south-southeast
Distance traversed: 31 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 236 km