Monday, November 10, 2014

Thursday Nov 6

After a very windy night (but not as windy as Camp 1 where we were forced to all sleep in one tent and were almost blown away) we got up at 5am. The sky was rather sunny and the wind had died down. It was time to go although it always manages to take an hour and a half to get ready (packing, melting snow for water and preparing a strong breakfast, undoing tent, redoing bags and sleds, …). We still had not decided which pass to take so Bertrand, our cameraman but also a very accomplished climber, proposed to check a couple of options while we finish getting ready. When he came back we decide to take the pass we had originally planned on based on his discovery that the other one was much further away.
The passage of the pass was very windy, which is typical, and the slope getting to it quite steep but we all make it without too much trouble.
The remainder of the climb down to Fortuna Bay was a series of patches of snow and rocks and tiny water flows that had to be crossed. This would not have been much of a problem with lighter equipment, but with our sleds it was much more of an ordeal.  We helped each other lower the sleds with ropes and together carry them across rocky areas.  In any event, we were glad that we had not attempted to finish this section the night before: we were tired, it was getting dark and we would have had to do everything with headlamps - not worth the risk. This is neither a re-enactment nor a competition.

Eventually we made it to the ‘beach’ of Fortuna Bay after more than three hours of strenuous effort. Penguins and seals are waiting for us and the Australis, our support boat, was anchored in the bay.
We finally ended the most important leg of our crossing and congratulate ourselves on the beach.

Approaching Breakwind Pass

Keith and Ollie, the British soldiers, crossing Breakwind Pass

Going down Breakwind Pass

Approaching Fortuna Beach

Arrived! With my sled – and the welcome committee in the background.

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