The storm hit just before 11pm but I was sleeping. I woke with a massive gust on the tent to find Mardi with her back against the tent wall, bracing the poles. I joined her against the wall where we spent the best part of an hour being slammed by demonic gusts, our tent poles bending to ground level. Configured for a sou’wester, as forecast, the winds were hitting us side on, where we had no fortifications. We were last in line of 5 tents but were most badly affected. At one stage the tent shifted a metre across the snow and we thought we were about to take a balloon joyride.
An hour later, exhausted and still barely dressed, Heath arrived and together with Mardi shored up our anchors.
We lay in our bags full clothed as an endless barrage of blast hit our forlorn camp. At 2am I got out to check on other tents and all seemed to be holding up ok.
The storm finally let up at around 5am and the 6am alarm heralded yet another day in the wilds of Svalbard. Our tent sustained some minor damage, others suffered bent poles, all in all relatively unscathed! A miracle of sorts.
We dug ourselves out and headed up the valley to find a flat and somewhat sheltered site - winds of 25mps are again forecast for tonight. Ugh!
After camp setup and lunch we skied up Jansson valley to get some magnificent views across mountains and glaciers.
Let there be sleep!