I’ve had a cheeky afternoon off today, as I want to start my climb up the Wujek Ridge – some 12km from yesterday’s campsite – first thing in the morning. I’m expecting it to take the best part of a day to climb, so I trundled over to the start of the climb this morning and have camped on one of the last sections of snow before the surface turns to blue ice.
The weather has been great again, which makes me feel guilty for lying in my sleeping bag at 5pm rather than clocking up more miles, but I’m setting my alarm a little earlier tomorrow, with the intention of skiing for longer from now on. For the last few days I’ve travelled for 8.5 hours, excluding my six ten-minute breaks, so I’ll move up to nine tomorrow.
Apparently a few of you have asked how I’m recharging my satellite phone out here. I actually have a handful of gadgets that need feeding electricity: my Iridium satellite phone (a 9575 Extreme), my DeLorme tracker (on loan from ALE who are providing my logistical support – this lets them know where I am on an hourly basis), my Iridium GO! (the device that allows me to upload these words and pictures via the Iridium satellite network – it’s a little box about the size of four smartphones stacked on top of each other, with a stubby antenna that pops up), the smartphone I use to compose these updates before emailing them back via the GO! (a Samsung Galaxy A5 bought on eBay that has become one of my favourite pieces of equipment on this trip as – even though it has no SIM card and doesn’t work as a phone or access social media out here – it allows me to swap short text-only emails with friends and family, to write these updates, and to read at night on a Kindle app). I also have a Sony RX100 camera and four little iPod Shuffles full of music.
Crucially it’s 24-hour daylight here, as I’m in the early austral summer, so I’m able to have a 30W solar panel strapped on top of my sledge at ‘night’ with a long (silicon rubber, low-temperature) cable that snakes into my tent. This cable goes straight into a 58Wh external battery that recharges all of my gubbins, and I have a spare solar panel and a spare charge controller in case anything fails.
Enough geeky detail for now. I’ll report back after the climb tomorrow…