Friday, September 28, 2007

Sledge Golf - Part 4

Thursday 20th - Ice Climbing

The day started windy with poor contrast, but relatively warm at a sultry -21C! We had intended to break camp and head west, towards a safe route down to the sea-ice and penguin colony, but conditions kept us bound to the camp area.

Not to worry, there was still plenty to do. The local crevasses were still accessible, and after our taster a few days before, we were keen to take another look. To make things a bit more interesting, we replaced the jumars with ice axes, allowing us to climb back out instead of haul up the rope.

These photos were taken with my remote flash wedged under the snow bridge.

Tom focuses on the next move

Popped tools!

The crux - soft snow offers little purchase

After a couple of runs down and up, Sune decided a great challenge was in order - no tools.

Sune "Who needs ice axes"?

The axe-less approach was a great laugh. We found a perfect grit-esque flake to layback, with plenty of cold slopers towards the top. Ok, it's not Stanage, but you've gotta take make the most of what's here.

Waiting for my go on the rope, I stopped to think about what I was wearing. In brief, everything! From the skin up, I had thermals (my own nice wooly ones); fleece salopettes and top; Skidoo Suit (V warm); Wind proof smock and Canada down filled coat. This was topped off with fleece gloves and Bear Paws, a Wind stopper balaclava, a massive neck warmer and goggles. All this clothing kept me toasty warm, but severely restricted every sense. Frozen goggle = blindness. Thick hats = deaf. Bear Paws = clumsy and all the layers restricts movement to next to nothing. To see, anything, the whole body has to move. To get better detail, you grasp the item (after a few attempts) and bring it close to the frost free area of goggles to get a good look. If the aliens were to land, they'd probably think we were giant red and orange chimps! It's seriously annoying, but very funny to watch someone else.

Restricted senses aside, it was a good day that deserved a toast of success.

Prost! to a top day


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