Only 240 miles to go!
5 April, 2006 86.0000N, 77.8000W
Keeping warm in the Arctic is critical for survival. Richard's wife Joseé came up with idea of having a ball of muskox wool inside our mittens to prevent frozen fingers. The wool fills in all the excess air spaces and the fingers can burrow deep inside it. To keep warm at night we sleep in a 3 layered system. The inner plastic vapour barrier prevents moisture from the body penetrating the middle down bag, but makes for a damp and clammy environment that is not pleasant to sleep in. The outer bag acts as a barrier between the cold outside and warm middle bag but accumulates condensation, which turns to ice. Our outer bags are sorry specimens weighing an extra 2 kilos and are full of ice balls, but should recover with the April sun.
For socks and underwear I stand by the Scandinavian Ullfrotte and Brynje but Richard and I both relish the warmth & lightweight "monkey man" jackets by Mountain Hardware.
The last 3 days have seen less than hoped for progress due to the very difficult travelling conditions of deep soft snow, acres of ice rubble and numerous open water leads to detour around, combined with terrible visibility. Nevertheless we today reached the 86th degree and still continue north with only 240 miles to go to reach the Pole.