#6: Glacier climb

2022-03-29 04:19:20am
We usually wake at 6am but I declared a 7am start to give some extra sun time on the tents in the morning. Alas, it was overcast. And a balmy -13C night to go with it, too warm for the Arctic pumps on our MSR stoves, though they were absolutely required the first 3 nights. After pack up we ran a quick seminar on setting up a crevasse rescue Z-drag and a debate ensued about the ratio of mechanical advantage in a typical set up. At lunch Mardi proved that a system with 1 block and 1 return at the anchor and 2 returns on the rope creates a 9.1; for every 9 metres a rescuer hauls the rope a casualty is lifted 1 metre. So long as it works I’m happy! The glacier proved to be a grind from start to end with a 2 hour stretch of sastrugi for good measure. It was important to get our layering right, too many clothes and we’d sweat dangerously into our base layers, too few and we’d struggle to keep out the light but chilly breeze blowing up the glacier. We made camp below the final steep push to the pass between Steig and Såte glaciers. The surrounding mountains are virtually all white - although camped at only 427m elevation it has a distinctly alpine look and feel. As with all of our expeditions, we introduce areas that we’ve never been to, exploration being at the core of our intent. Our maps and GPS give us an idea of what lies ahead but we’ll see it all with fresh eyes.
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