Day 4 - Slowly but surely
Manu reported this morning that yesterday was quite simply intense.
Throughout the morning, our Polar Experience guides and participants navigated as one large group via several technical zones, challenging terrain which hindered Henk-Jan's kite group a bit more due to their heavier sleds. By afternoon, the two teams made the expected tactical decision to separate. They bid a fond farewell to one another and began their respective quests to traverse Greenland via each corresponding mode of transport.
Manhauling and snow-kiting require specific preparation and unique execution. The sled contents for each type of travel are substantially different. While a manhauling expedition in essence requires more food supplies in the sled due to a lengthier expedition in the sense of time, a snow-kite expedition requires more equipment in order to be able to take advantage of the wind in its various forms and intensities.
At this early juncture of our combined Greenland traverses, the manhual team is moving faster since the participants' sleds are approximately ten kilos lighter than those of the snow-kiters. This will of course change in the favour of the kiters once the winds decide to cooperate.
The weather yesterday continued to radiate sunlight and warmth on the icecap, causing humid conditions which slowed the pace of everyone. While blue skies and bright hues make for visual pleasure, too much of a good thing can be just that. Too much.
The current weather pattern over this area of Greenland has pushed an unusual dominant wind from the east across the entire icecap, resulting in higher than normal temperatures and punishing headwinds. Normally once our teams reach the high point of the ice sheet, the dominant katabatic winds should take over and create a welcome push back down to the other side.