Kite Ski Spitsbergen
#3: Baptism by ice
Published at 20:05
It has been a baptism by ice for Mardi, as it would for any first-timer to this exquisite but unforgiving land. Temps overnight dropped well below -20c and she felt every one of them despite a polar-rated sleeping bag. Hot water bottles helped and it was a joy for me to hear her sleeping.
Daytime brought its own dilemmas. Though an icebox by night, by day Mardi is a furnace and for the first hour she slowly peeled layers until she was hauling in thermals up a steady incline. Then the first break had us shivering in our boots.
Although the sky was clear and still the sleds dragged on the snow as if it were sand. Our unacclimatised bodies and our lack of fitness also took their toll and by mid afternoon we were done in, having covered only 4km of ascending terrain. But we have no agenda, no set route, no holy grail, just a plan to immerse ourselves into this polar world. A father and daughter cold communion.
Our view outside before darkness descended is that of white mountains, sweeping valleys, the Rabot glacier below us and the chance of northern lights. We will see, or not!
Nightly we set a polar bear wire around our tent. If an intruder enters camp it trips a loud banger which makes the bear think twice and wakes us up...inside our cocoons.
Eric (proud dad!)
- Name: Camp 2
- Elevation: 606 m
- Latitude: 78° 18’ 42” North
- Longitude: 18° 17’ 47” East