Recharging

Day 11: S82° 23' 9", W051° 53' 19" Altitude: 582m Daily distance: 8MI Distance to go: 913MI

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

Ben Saunders (@polarben)
18/11/17
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Comments

Scott Sheer

19/11/2017

Can’t wait to hear if you are able to put the skeats skin cleats to good use on your upcoming accent. Good luck!!

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Scott Sheer

19/11/2017

Ascent

Kevin Wright

18/11/2017

Hi Ben, nothing wrong with a cheeky afternoon it’s not just the kit that needs charging and it’s a good idea to charge your own batteries before that climb tomorrow. You are making a significant red line on the tracker now and we can all see the mountains and the climb ahead of you. I guess that pulk is still quite heavy being only a couple of weeks in. Well at least it’s getting that little bit lighter as each day goes by. Take care on that blue ice tomorrow, Kev

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Konrad Bartelski

18/11/2017

Great reading your geeky info! Vital to the whole project..
do you was your skis regularity??
And how do you keep your toes warm..?
Ta
KB

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mike smithwick

18/11/2017

Hi Ben, it’s fun to share your adventure, and more so considering I have an aversion to frostbite.

As the antarctic is a premium spot for collecting meteorites (any black rock on top of the snow is likely from space) have you been on the lookout for such things? They’d make nice souvenirs for friends and family.

Cheers! (I was about to say: Stay cool!, but that self-evident)

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Monica Robertson

18/11/2017

Good day, Ben!! I’m following your journey with interest and awe. I live in northern Alberts, Canada and look out upon a pristine frozen landscape for five to six months of the year. And while I love cross-country skiing, I can’t imagine having the courage to do what you’re doing right now. What inspired your journey? Why do you choose to solo? Best wishes and congratulations on following your dreams!!

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Sean foley

18/11/2017

Hi Ben, Greetings from Ireland, hope the climb is going well today! What do you do for navigation? I imagine the accuracy of a compass is reduced when so close to the poles?

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