Miles Advanced: 13.7
Temp: Wind-chill 10 Below
Location: Upper Leverette Glacier
“This land looks like a fairy tale.” Amundsen 1911
“God, this is an aweful place.” Scott 1912
“Where’s the strawberry icecream?” Weimer 2010
We rounded the steep cliffs of Mt. Beazley (seen below) and made camp at the base of the Leverette Headwall.
This area offers 10% grades so we hitched each load with two tractors and made our ascent. At one point we side-hilled and our loads shifted 45 degrees downhill of the trail, which was a bit unnerving, but we managed alright and made it to the top of the glacier.
We dropped those loads and went downhill for more, but halfway up the hill decided it was getting kinda late so dropped those loads and went back down to camp.
This is our last day of warm weather- so I decided to do some laundry and take a shower. Yesterday Galen accidently sprayed himself with fuel and then stuck his soiled cloths in the wash. Well guess what, now all my clean cloths smell like diesel. I hate that guy.
Day 22 Miles Advanced: 16.9
Weather: Whiteout/Overcast/Ice-fog, Windchill 28 Below
Location: Summit of the Leverette Glacier
Glenn and I hooked up our tractors in tandem to 8 bladders of fuel and crept our way up the glacier.
Nearing the summit we found ourselves in a complete whiteout and relied solely on our GPS ‘breadcrumbs’ to navigate along the trail, which was unsettling considering all the crevasses lurking about. At the top we got into the Refer Module and collected a few pans of food for dinner that night. On the way down the hill we hit a large divot in the trail and tater tots went skyrocketing all over the cab. These were ‘Kiwi’ tater tots- they don’t resemble American tater tots in any way shape or form, in fact, they look like pine cones… and taste like them too.
Down at camp, Zee Zee Top and Dosinga repaired the radar boom as it had sheared off the Prinoth. We hooked three tractors in tandem to the LMGM and went up the hill again- our last and final load.
Above: Living and Generator Modules.
We surmounted the Glacier but we weren’t done with the hill climbing yet. In fact, the next set of hills were the worst because we didn’t expect them to be so steep. We broke two plasma ropes trying to haul loads in tandem, which believe me is extremely hard to do- when they finally snap it sounds like a gunshot. One of the loads in particular is a serious pain in the butt- 8 bladders (weighs 168,000lbs) with an additional sled carrying a 30,000 pound loader and a Piston Bully. McLovin’said it best, “It feels like you’re dragging a battleship!”
Miles Advanced: 15
Weather: Cold, Windy, Miserable- WC -20f
Location: Polar Plateau
Made it one mile, just one- and then we were stuck.
The snow is just bottomless this year. We tried reconfiguring loads and transferred fuel from a heavier sled to a lighter one but none of this worked. So we began ferrying in tandem assist mode. A lousy 15 miles was all we could muster- but I guess it’s better than nothing.
Definitely feeling the elevation now- tried manhandling a fuel bladder and started seeing stars. Gotta drink more water.