Training Expedition: Time to Get Serious
Yesterday I headed out of Longyearbyen for a 3-4 day training expedition. Along for the ride were Eric Philips our team leader and general ice trekking guru, and Clark Carter, another cold weather specialist who will be handling our communications while we're out on the ice. It's Clark's tech wizadry that will allow us to keep in touch with the world while we're isolated out at the pole.
This training run is a really important part of our preparation. We need to get many of the systems we will use at the pole working asap. One very important part of any polar expedition is obviously equipment. Knowing how to pack and unpack your sled quickly and intelligently can make a huge difference to the team's overall efficiency. During the first weeks of an expedition it can take as long as 4 hours to get prepared to leave camp each morning. If we can get that down to 2 hours we'll gain upwards of 40 hours for the trek. And when you're racing to the South Pole, 40 hours represents a heck of a lot of miles.
This trip is also going to give me a chance to get a solid work out, which is something I've missed during the last few days of manic preparation. I've been getting out on the skis as much as I can, but there's so much to do and it can be frustrating, because on some level I just need to be out there, putting more distance behind me, particularly on skis and in cold conditions.