Friday, April 30, 2010

Kjellstromdalen, Svalbard

We set up camp that night on the north bank of Kjellstromdalen. Usually we'd stop at about 18:00 and start by digging out a platform for the tents. We'd then put the tents up (we were carrying three- the YEs shared three to a tent and Zoe and I shared), anchoring them down with our skis and ice axes. Next we'd put our bear flares up around the tents (more on these later), dig a loo and fill the porch of the tent with blocks of snow for cooking. If there was time and it was warm enough we'd lay our sleeping bags and mats outside to try to keep them as dry and fresh(!) as possible. Because of the temperature difference between the inside of the tent and the outside we suffered from large amounts of condensation building up inside the tents. This would then make everything damp so it was important to take every opportunity to dry things off.

At 20:00 every evening we had sit. rep. (situation report). We had an HF radio that we set up with a 25m antenna facing the direction of base camp. At 20:00 Jackie would come on the radio and ask for each of the fires sit reps in turn. If the line was good she would then open the net for chat. As our only opportunity to hear from the other fires, sit rep became one of the favourite parts of the day, and "nothing heard, out to you" one of the tag lines of the expedition. This picture shows us all ready for sit rep, with the radio antenna in the foreground. Say again, over.

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