Exploring The Norwegian Outback
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Lars and Merete are climbing Jøkulkyrkja (Norway's highest mountain, 3148m) and nearby mountains in Queen Maud Land in Antarctica November and December 2010.


Forberedelser

Posted by Lars fri 05.11.2010 13:25

Da nærmer det seg avreise og vi jobber ihverdig med å få alle brikker på plass før vi drar.
Dette er bare et testinnlegg for å se at det fungerer


"mamma" [sat 06.11.2010 20:43 (norwegian time)]

Så fin begynnelse!


Tingeling [fri 05.11.2010 18:55 (norwegian time)]

\o/



ANTARTICA!

Posted by Merete sat 06.11.2010 21:17


Time for an intro blog for our trip. This time it was Lars who knew he
wanted to come back to Antartica after going to the South pole just a year
ago. He mentioned that the nicest part was really the mountains close to the
coast. Since we are Norwegians, Queen Maud land would of course be a natural
choice for a return visit! For myself, I've never been futher south then Rio
De Janeiro :)



Let's start of with some fun facts! Antartica is a HUGE place. It sort of
starts at 66 degrees south (that equals starting at Nordland in in the
north). The total surface is 14,2 million sq. Km! That is almost twice the
size of Australia. But we are going to the Norwegian part. That is "only"
2,8 million sq.km! To compare it to Norway, you can puts about 7 Norways in
there ;) The highest mountain in the region is Jøkulkyrkja. That's the
mountain we are hoping to climb on this trip, together with many others. The
first time anyone wrote about Antartica was back in 1820. Fabian Gottlieb
von Bellingshausen wrote about some icy continent covered with small hills.
His position was approx. 30km off the coast of Queen Maud land. But the
first person to walk there was probably Lars Christensen. He had nine
expeditions to the area looking for whales. (he was a very bloody
whale-hunter..the part of Norwegian history we should not be very proud of
as he almost made them extinct in the area). This was done between 1927 and
1937. He made maps of the area and also flew over to take pictures. During
these expeditions Queen Maud land was declared Norwegian. The Germans tried
to steal it away from us in 1939. One cool thing came out of that. The
Germans took som really cool pictures of Jøkulkyrkja.



This is actually one of the best pictures that we have of the area we're
going to!

Next year it's 100 years since Amundsen reached the South pole. Scott died
trying as we all know. The story of Antartica is a great one. Not to forget
the stories about Mr.Ernest Shackleton. :)

Enough history! Now we should make our own history!

We are leaving tomorrow for Cape Town. Everything is packet and ready.. at
least almost. Over and out!





Arrived in Cape Town

Posted by Lars Mon 08.11.2008 01:00 gmt+2

This is just a short update to let you know that we have arrived in Cape
Town, at the southernmost part of South Africa. We will stay here a couple
of days before we continue south.



The picture shows Merete and me outside Oslo Airport at 04:30 this morning.
The picture is taken by my father who generously drove us up there. At
baggage drop we weighed in at 150 kg of check-in luggage in addition to 30kg
of carry on board. The pulk/sledge is 3 pulks stacked and tied/ducktaped
together. Even though we scrutinized every gram we brought, it ended up
being a lot. As we are going to be alone in one of the most isolate and
unfriendly places on earth, we've brought extra of all essential equipment,
like extra skies, extra stove/primus and even a small extra tent. We've also
brought food for all the 22 days + 7 days of emergency food.



This is Merete last week, putting up the main tent in my living room.



And this I my test of one of the solar panels in the Norwegian autumn. We
are hoping for a bit more sun down south.


Kaja [mon 08.11.2010 09:01 (norwegian time)]

God tur! :-)



Preparing in Cape Town

Posted by Lars 08.11.2010 22:00 gmt+2

There is still a couple of days until we are in Antarctica. And even a
couple of days more until the expedition really starts.



This morning started slow, as we came in quite late last night, and didn't
sleep much the previous night. Merete is wondering whether the stomach
infection she had last week is gone or not.

After breakfast we started training/repeating how we would get ourselves and
each other out of crevasses (bredsprekker). As I'm a bit bigger than Merete,
we don't expect her to be able to pull me out of a crevasse. We will both
carry enough climbing gear on our body to get ourselves out. In addition
I'll have gear to create a pulley (talje), to get Merete up.



Then we went to a supermarket and bought more food for our lunches.
Especially biltong (beef jerky/tørket kjøtt), which is a specialty down
here. Merete is by the way an expert in nutrition and calories now. She
knows the calorie content in everything by heart now. It is important that
we bring enough to keep our energy throughout the trip. But not to much, so
we break our backs.



Then we packed the luches into day-packs, and went through and repacked all
our luggage. Tomorrow we will load the all the luggage onto the plane.



Then we walked down to the Waterfront (Aker Brygge) and ate local food. I
had springbok shank (Gazelle).





Lars [tue 09.11.2010 13:36 (norwegian time)]

Blargh. It took spammers only a couple of days to find this comment-section. I was hoping it would take them at least a month.

Oh, well. I've implemented a "hidden" captcha. Hopefully this will allow humans to post comments, but keep spammers away (CAPTCHA = Completely Automated Public Turing test to tell Computers and Humans apart)

If it works; Thanks, Sesse. It is based on something you said a while back.



Daddys birthday & fact-day!

Posted by Merete tue 09.11.2010 21:00 GMT+1

9th of November. Pappa turns a good number today and I gave him a call to wish him happy birthday. As he is quite like me, he had some strong opinions. This time on our blog. He said there were to little facts! "You need to write about the interesting facts everyone wants an answer to!" he said. Since you should get what you want on your birthday we will add a couple of more facts on the top of the page regarding the trip but in this entry I will write a lot of interesting facts about the trip and how it is organized etc. I tried (in the sun by the pool so could not see the screen properly!!) to find out what latitude Cape Town was. I looked in the wrong column and thought it was 55 degrees south..then did a search to see what was 55 degrees north and concluded that Beijing was..But I was looking at the minutes not the degrees ;) Since my love is in Beijing at IETF I found this a great fun-fact news..Well...I was wrong. We are at 33 degrees south..and that's Morocco somewhere up "north" ;)

OK. time for facts:
- To go to Antartica you need to go via a company that is authorized to fly there. There is a lot of rules regarding pollution etc etc that needs to be followed. The Antarctic Treaty is a keyword here. Feel free to read up on it if it is of your interest. So this treaty's slogan is: Antarctica is designated as a 'natural reserve, devoted to peace and science'. This slogan made me think of The Gathering (nerd-party) at the Vikingship back in the days of early 2000 when we had fun with a slogan saying "Love peace and linux" ;) It sort of fits here as well. We even have penguins here! ;) Ups..Keep to the INTERESTING facts Merete!

- We fly with a Russion company who operates out from Cape Town (doh).
- Lars met with Viktor our Russian friend, almost half a year ago at Gardermoen airport when Viktor were on his way to Svalbard. He told Lars about the possibilities and gave him all info he needed.
- As mentioned above, our main objective is to climb Jøkulkyrkja. 3148 meters. Jøkulkyrkja Mountain was plotted from surveys and air photos by the Sixth Norwegian Antarctic Expedition (1956-60) and named Jøkulkyrkja (the glacier church). It was first climbed in 1994 by Ivar Tollefsen and his team.
- Lars has been communicating with Ivar Tollefsen via email and he has given us valuable information and input when we planned this trip. So thank you Ivar!
- The air on the poles has less pressure then by equator. That means that when you climb something being 3148meter it "feels like" 4000 meters. And as you probably know from a bunch of National Geographic series from Everest, the higher you climb the less oxygen you have. So why is that? When you go up a mountain the air gets less compressed and therefore thinner.
This is no high altitude climbing trip, but since it's my dads birthday I've added some more facts on this because he knows Boyle Mariotte's law by heart:
The important effect of the decrease of pressure at high altitude is this: in a given volume of air, there are fewer molecules present. This is really just another way of saying that the pressure is lower (this is called Boyle Mariotte's law). The percentage of those molecules that are oxygen is exactly the same: 21%. The problem is that there are fewer molecules of everything present, including oxygen.
So although the percentage of oxygen in the atmosphere is the same, the thinner air means there is less oxygen to breathe.
WHY the air pressure is lower on the poles then by equator?? Long story short: It has to do with the wind!..
WHY is there wind you ask?! Winds can be traced back to the contrasts in temperature ;) ... (I'm preparing myself to get a 4-5 year old in the house that will ask all sorts of questions)

We went on a briefing for the flight tomorrow and we got lots of more facts:
- We will fly a Ilyushin 76TD plane. It takes 20 tons. And looks like this:

We fly at 23:30 tomorrow night and will land in Novo about 6 hours later, depending on the wind. It's 4200km between Cape Town and Novo. And yeah..Novo is the russian air-strip :)
- And for more geeky plane details. We will fly a Basler Turbo 67 into Queen Maud land.

Our plan for the upcoming weeks is to go skiing and climbing in the mountains around Jøkulkyrkja (and west of it) and those towards Ulvetanna. The distance between Ulvetanna and Jøkulkyrkja is ca. 50km. Take a look at map on the top of the page. Click on it and then then zooooom on the Jøkulkyrkja pin until you see the mountain.
If you zoom out a bit you will soon see a upside-down V to the right in the picture. That's the Ulvetanna area were we will be picked up some weeks from now. You got to love the shape of Ulvetanna! :)



Enough facts! You have probably stopped reading anyway! :)


nala [tue 09.11.2010 22:51 (norwegian time)]

I am not a robot!
Bortsett fra det, er jeg særdeles imponert av fjellene der nede! :-)



Tourist for a day in Cape Town

Posted by Lars Wed 10.11.2010 21:00

Yesterday we loaded all our luggage onboard the plane. So today we have been
tourists.



We hired a guide and drove out to Cape of good hope. The area
where the Atlantic ocean and Indian ocean meet and the turning point around
Africa (although it isn't the southernmost point). I forgot to bring my
inflatable beach ball :(. It is already loaded onto the plane for
Antarctica. I've been so busy planning for and thinking about Antarctica, I
forgot that I've never been to South Africa before, and that there are a lot
to see here as well.



On our way back, we stopped and looked at some penguins. They are rather
small, and about the same size as the one we swam with on Galapagos. Bigger
penguins only live in the Antarctic.

Merete is in good shape again, and aren't worried about her stomach any
longer. Unfortunately for me, she now has enough energy to start
discussions. - "Laa-ars, I want to bring more cheese". - "No, Merete think
of the weight and that we need to keep it refrigerated until we get out of
Cape Town". - "But, Laa-ars, cheese is soo-o yummy". On the picture we see
Merete with almost 1 kilo of cheese. She has 1,5 more kilos of cheese and 1
kilo of butter in her shopping cart. (update: didnt have time to upload
the picture)

At 21:00 local time (20:00 in Norway) we will leave for the airport. The
Ilyushin 76 is scheduled to leave for Antarctica at 23:30. It is a 4200 km
flight that will take us about 6 hours. When we come to Antarctica, we will
switch to GMT (Greenwich Mean Time, Same as London (during northern
winter)). So we will land 03:30 in the morning, local time. The Ilyushin 76
is a big cargo plane. But they have also installed 60 seats in the front
part of the cargo hold. On the plane are also some other expeditions and a
lot of scientists/workers. This is the main transportation line for all the
research stations that are in Queen Maud Land. The Ilyushin 76 is a high winged
plane, with the engines well above ground. This makes it suitable for
landing on an ice/snow runway. It is the same kind of aircraft I was on from
South America to Patriot Hills almost a year ago, href=http://www.noring.no/southpole/>when I was going to the South Pole.


update: 22:20 we are about to board



Novo, Antarctica

Posted by Lars thu 11.11.2010 06:00 GMT

We have arrived at the Novo airbase in Antarctica. We will stay her for one
day before we fly out to the Jøkulkyrkja-area.



If everything works as it should, the Google map up to the left should be
updated. Click on it.




"mamma" [thu 11.11.2010 16:29 (norwegian time)]

Så fint å se hvite vidder --- med Merete i forgrunnen.



A day at Novo, Antarctica

Posted by Lars thu 11.11.2010 17:30 GMT

When we landed at Novo air base at 03:00 GMT this morning, there were -10C
and quite a bit of wind (10m/s). But by mid-day it had changed to calm,
sunny and warm weather. We used the first half of the day to repack all our
stuff from bags into our 3 pulks/sledges.



Then we took a test-run with the skies and sledges around the camp to check
that everything worked as it should and that we actually were able to pull
our sledges with all the stuff in them. In the photo, we see Merete putting
half-skins (halv-feller) under our skies.



This is me this morning, in the mess tent waiting for the last entry to be
uploaded. This time we brought a tiny laptop for connecting to the net.
Since it uses a lot of power, we have also brought a couple of solar panels.
The solar panels will also recharge our other gadgets like cameras and
mp3-players.

Tomorrow we will leave at 10 in the morning with the Basler towards the
mountain area. The Basler (DC3) is a smaller aircraft with propellers and
skies in addition to wheels.

As mentioned earlier, there were a lot of scientist and workers on our
Ilyushin flight. Some of them were Norwegians heading for the Troll research
station. They got delayed here at Novo because of weather reasons. So we got
a chance to chat with some of them. Seems they are equally fascinated by
someone going to vacation here, as we are that they are working here.

We also had a meeting with the communications office at the air field today
and agreed on a communication plan. We are to call in at a fixed time every
day and report about our position, situation and weather. If they don't hear
from us or are able to reach us, they will start a search and rescue
operation. Since communication is important, we have brought two Iridium
(satellite) phones.



Into the wild

Posted by Lars fri 12.11.2010 21:30

Finally. We are here.

A little more than 2 hours delayed, we took off from Novo Airbase in the
Basler/DC3. The delay was due to a problem with the right engine. It didn't
start. But they have their own mechanic, and fixed it quickly.

We shared flight with another group of 11 people.



We landed at Ulvetanna to let them off. This is also the location that we
will be picked up at in 3 weeks. Then we continued towards Jøkulkyrkja.
Unfortunately we couldn't land where we had planned. We planned to land
between Jøkulkyrkja and Trollslottet.



Instead we landed on the other side of Trollslottet, on the east side. In
the picture you see me putting up the tent and one of the peaks of
Trollslottet in the background.

It was calm and sunny when we landed. We took our time, set up the tent, and
made dinner.

At the moment it is about -12C in the outer tent and just a gentle breeze.
Even though it is midnight sun, the sun has gone behind some mountains, so
it is rather cold inside the tent.

Our position is (hopefully) updated in the map.



nala [fri 12.11.2010 21:54 (norwegian time)]

Pretty mountains!! I really love the look of Ulvetanna.
After seeing "trolljegerne", I just want you to keep safe from the trolls ;-)
I'm sorry to let you know, that the map still doesn't work.. :/ (It worked rather fine, until you said.. "YAY! It works..!)



First mini-summit

Posted by Lars Sat 13.11.2010 21:30 gmt

The lowest temperature inside the tent (towards the wall) during the night
was -24C. But at 8 this morning, the outside temperature was -10C.
Throughout the day, there has been a light cloud cover, and just a little
bit wind. Now, at about 21 in the evening, the outside temperature has
dropped to -17C and we have been warned that winds of 10 m/s has hit Troll
and are coming our way. But as always, we have secured our tent.

We have started our trek towards Jøkulkyrkja. But we hadn't been skiing for
long, before we found something we wanted to climb. Actually you can see it
on the camp photo from yesterday



We did not try to climb the peak on the left. That one is called Rakekniven
and was climbed by National Geographic in 1998. Instead we set out to climb
the mini-peak on the right. But we turned around before we reached the
summit.

So we continued towards Jøkulkyrkja. But when we turned the corner, we saw
that it was an easier route on the back side. So we set out to climb it
again.



This time we were successful. At 15:00 GMT Merete reached the 1855m high
summit at S71d54.281m E007d18.652m. We might have been the first ones to
ever reach that mini-summit. Merete named the summit Nung, which means 1 in
Thai, as it was our first summit. (For those who don't know, that is also
the name of Merete's step-sister)



This is me just below the Nung summit. In the background is the other end
of the Trollslottet range and the Kubus mountain (also climbed by National
Geographic).

We camped not long after the summit. Camp 2 is just north-east of Rakekniven
with a great view of Jøkulkyrkja. I fixed a bug in the google map (up to the
left), so hopefully you can follow our movements there.







Life as it goes forward

By Merete Sun 14.11.2010 07:00 GMT

The morning has broken in Antarctica. It is so quiet! No sounds except the
fingers on the keyboard. The sun is shining. The temperature in the sun at
06 when I went out to pee was 0 degrees. Did anyone say Easter? In a couple
of hours it will be even warmer. I know what time it is by the heat inside
the tent. As the midnight sun climb upwards the inside of the tent gets very
warm. Yesterday it was 26 degrees. It's strange to go from -20 to +20 in
less than 10 hours. I wake up in my WONDERFUL sleeping bag that I got from
my birthday from the man who keeps me warm when I`m back home, Ole. Now, My
Mountain Equipment, Everest series sleeping bag that goes to -40 degrees
keeps me happy. I do wake up once a night because my nose is cold, but
something has to stick out of the bag :) I guess I'm just trying to say that
Antarctica is not a place you go to suffer in the cold. Svante Strand told
me before I left that I should have a bottle with hot water to put inside my
sleeping bag each night. My feet is always cold and that way I do not lie
awake trying to get them warm. Yesterday I fell asleep before Lars had
finished his blog entry. And as the temperature rose this morning I felt
like listening to a wonderful song called Jeg ger dig min morgon by Fred
Åkerstrm. The morning is indeed my time. And after that I had to listen to
a bit of Lillebjoern Nilsen and Ane Brun just to feel complete. And do you
think you have a nice view from your bedroom..or what is the view like
between your bedroom and your toilet? Right now I have a view that makes you
humble, happy and small at the same time. And do you think we are alone out
here? We're not. There is a small stubborn bird called Snoe-petrell that
also love the mountains here. They nest here and fly 200km to the sea when
they need food. Were anyone complaining they had a long commute time to
work? :) The bird looks like a white dove but with very black eyes. When we
were on top of Nung yesterday it flew just above us to say hi.
So what to whine about...well there is this one thing. Dinner.. I guess I
have not been hungry enough yet, but I just can't enjoy dry freeze dinners.
I guess I'm spoiled back home were Ole makes all food from scratch. Fresh.
At least I love the breakfast and the lunch...and I do eat dinner as well,
don't worry mamma :) Just not the whole pack :) Well, time to start melting
snow so we can have some breakfast. I guess the moral in this blog-entry is
that even though you might look at Antarctica as a cold, deserted and
unfriendly place, you might just be completely wrong..at least if you look
at the bright side of life :)




Swearing and sunshine

Posted by Lars Sun 14.11.2010 22:00 gmt

This day started out good.



A sunny day, and we see Jøkulkyrkja in the horizon. By the end of today
we'll probably be at the base of the mountain (but on the far side of our
route up). I have 2 sledges/pulks. In the last one we have our bedrooms.
Inside each of the flat bags are our inflated sleeping mat, sleeping bag,
personal stuff and in my case a bit of electronic equipment. We just drag
the flat bags into the tent, open the zipper, and voila, our bedroom is
ready. On top of the bedrooms are the solar panel, that charges it's battery
during the day. The ski bag on the first pulk contains the tent. We just
break the tent-poles in half, and role the tent together, without taking out
a huge mat that covers the entire floor.



But then we hit a field of huge sastrugies. Sastrugi is formations in the
snow made by the wind. They were so huge, and there were so many of them,
that we took off our skies and just walked. In the picture is Merete trying
to move her pulk. It weighs more than her. This is when Merete started
swearing.



Then we realized that we had walked into a crevasse area
(bredsprekkomraade), so we roped up. Most of the crevasses was the size of
this one. But some were large enough for my foot to fit. And they were all
deep. Navigating the pulk through the sastrugies didn't become more easy
when we had a rope between us. Especially not for Merete, that walked first.
She felt all the sudden stops from my sledges in addition to her own. And
when I had to walk back to my sledges when they fell over, she had to walk
back. This is when Merete's swearing got worse.



But now we were close to Perskjeret. So we left our sledges and walked to
the small peak. At 15:24 we reached the summit at 1720m. As far as we know,
I'm the first person to ever reach that summit. If it can be called a
summit...

Then we walked back to our pulks. But we were done hauling sledges for the
day, so we found a flat area just big enough for our tent, just below
Perskjeret. Inside the tent, the first thing that happens is that Merete's
inflatable sleeping mat suddenly decides it want 7 chambers and not 8. So
now she has a large bulge in the middle. Then we realized that my inflatable
sleeping mat wasn't inflated at all. We found a small hole. But we have a
lot of gear with us, so we fixed it.

At dinner today, Merete got a freeze dry meal she actually enjoyed. So all
the hardships of the day was suddenly forgotten. The sun set over
Jokulkyrkja at 21:00. (It's midnight sun, but it goes below the mountains).
The temperature was -20C with a gentle wind from the south-east.

I've fixed more google map bugs, and hopefully not introduced new ones. So
you can follow our path on the map on the upper left side. Thanks to Svein,
Marte and especially Erlend for helping us with the google map debugging. We
can't see the map ourselves on the satellite link.




Øyvind [mon 15.11.2010 17:57 (norwegian time)]

One of the photos is missing but here's the correct URL:
http://www.noring.no/jokulkyrkja/bilde/meretesastrugi.JPG


Øyvind [mon 15.11.2010 18:06 (norwegian time)]

By the way, that pulk looks really heavy. I guess it is kind of like pulling my nephews on a sled. Except then I can't swear. And I can sort of leave them there if they misbehave. Maybe it is not such a good comparison.

The scenery looks fantastic, it must be so great to be there. Stay safe you guys, use lots of rope. :)



5 hours of hard work, 4 km covered

Posted by Lars (and Merete and the end) Mon 15.11.2010 19:00

During last night, we discovered that our thermometer inside the tent start
displaying Lo when it drops below -25C.



This is Merete in her sleeping bag in the middle of the night. We both made
a lot of white frost on our sleeping bags from our breathing. As there is
midnight sun, Merete sleeps with eye cover.

We never took our skies on today, but walked all day by foot, maneuvering
through the sastrugies.



This is me with my sledge, that has fallen over on the side, AGAIN. The
black dot a bit behind me is my other sledge. It was faster to go two times
many places, than trying to haul both sledges at the same time.

5 hours of hard work through the sastrugi-field, and we have moved 4 km
since this morning. The gps says that I've walked 7 km, but that is
including going back and forth a lot of times, as well as zigzagging through
the snow.

We have now made Camp 4 at Kyrkjetorget. This is the location the plane was
supposed to drop us off. But we can understand now, why they turned around
and landed a bit away. (We have marked the google map)

I managed to step into a crevasse twice today. But just with one foot. First
time to the knee, and second time to the ankle. It was mostly my own fault,
as I was too preoccupied quarreling with the sledges.

And now, some thoughts by Merete:

When I read the prior post being super-positive I have to admit that things
change in the mind of Merete sometimes. Maybe I'm bipolar? :) I were so
happy when I got the post from you Kari. And then I came to think of what
you posted on Facebook some weeks back. I can't remember it correctly, but
it went something like this: My life is shit, but thank you for having me
life, as I don't want to be without you. :) I dedicated day 4 till: I miss
you-day. I miss you Kari! Probably waaay to early in a month on the road
would some of you say, but I don't think so. And it is very easy to have a
miss you day when the conditions have been sooooooooo crap as today. I asked
Lars this morning why we did things like this, and he could not answer. I
suggested that we felt a form of "mestring"/ ability to manage something
really hard. It is of course an adventure no-one have done before us. Every
step we take down here, at least many of them is only done by us. Perskjeret
we climbed yesterday, we are the only one that have been and seen in detail.
But it IS hard and it is cold...and you miss all the luxury of home. Well,
my hair looks GREAT so no need for a shower yet ! :) And when talking about
missing, just putting extra salt on the pasta makes me want to cry as my
mouth opens and says "Savner du salt, savner du alt". That was internal.
Only my family would understand that one. What feels good to know is that
I'm glad I'll never be a Amundsen or a Nansen. And because I can have a
miss-you day after only 9 days away from Norway, mean that those I love is
at the end the most important thing. It can't have been for Nansen and
Amundsen who were able to be away from years from those they loved. SO: From
all of ME to all of YOU: I miss you :)




Ranveig [tue 16.11.2010 00:00 (norwegian time)]

Merete, jeg er veldig glad i deg! Og utrolig stolt av deg!


"mamma" [tue 16.11.2010 08:36 (norwegian time)]

We all miss you two too! A wonderful morning here - Stine says that at Frognerseteren there is a "fairytale = winter". As you have --- no need to travel so far --- (:


perjacobson [tue 16.11.2010 11:58 (norwegian time)]

Your ramblings smack of true Antartic explorer: crazy and wonderful.
; )
Keep going, good luck!!!


lisajacobson [tue 16.11.2010 16:07 (norwegian time)]

Merete! In solidarity for a miss you day today.
You guys are definitely lunatics but I love you both.
Stay safe and keep your attitudes positive.


kari [tue 16.11.2010 19:03 (norwegian time)]

merete!! you are making me cry! but only in the best way like when you cry just thinking about how much you love someone or a beautiful memory. Savner du salt, savner du alt...you are my salt (metaphorically speaking of course) and i love you! You are amazing and an inspiration to me...also you are a total babe;) sending you lots of love and a big hug! xoxo kari



Back on track

Posted by Lars and Merete Tue 16.11.2010 21:00 gmt

It was extremely windy last night. We were warned about 10 m/s, but it most
have been more than that. I was lying awake a lot during the night,
wondering if we had secured the tent and sledges good enough. It had dropped
to 8 m/s this morning. We waited out the wind a bit, and started walking at
11. After a final hour of the horrible sastrugi field of Kyrkjetorget, we
arrived at the entrance to Kyrkjedalen (Church valley). It is the valley
between Jøkulkyrkja and Habermehltoppen. At first there was a rather steep
hill. We climbed 200. But this was a mere joy compared to the sastrugies.



At the end of the valley, there are a 200 meter descend. After a short
while, we discovered that we had walked into an area with huge crevasses. As
we were going downhill, Merete had all three sledges, and I'm going behind,
holding them back. But I've also got a rope connected to Merete's climbing
harness. In this picture Merete is poking a crevasse with her ski pole and
shouting "Who decided that it was a good idea that I should go first, and
that it is better that I fall into the crevasses?!?" (The peak in the
background is Gessnertind)

But it wasn't long before we had navigated out of the dangerous area. We
have set up camp 5 at the end of Kyrkjedalen and close to a "lake". It is
frozen now, but it probably will be some open water by the end of the
summer.

There are some strange noises at this site. Kind of a "blopp" that comes
every now and then. Don't know what it is. But it might have to do with the
lake.

And then some thoughts by Merete:



Back in the tent. Evening in Dronning Maud Land. The good thing about really
hard days is that usually it gets better. Today was an amazing day. The hell
of the Sastrugi finally ended up the hills of Kyrkjedalen (the valley of the
Church). I'm not a religious person, but this place must be very close to
heaven if there is any. The mountains, the weather, the outlook and the
challenge of crossing it made me smile again. First, if you wonder if it is
tiresome to drag a 65+kg pulk up 200 meters, the answer is yes. I guess I
need to work out more in the gym. So the feeling that went through my head
today was that I was the first person EVER to cross this valley. I must
admit I felt I were on Mars or something far away from mother earth. I felt
very very alone...and I was the first because Lars walked behind me the
whole time :) It's a strange feeling knowing that there is still places on
this beautiful planet that no one has gone before and that tiny little
Merete can be the first to see the mountains from the angle I did. So I
guess the valley carries a good name. This is the place I go to feel close
to something much bigger then myself, nature.

PS: thanks for all the messages



Stine Grete [tue 16.11.2010 22:30 (norwegian time)]

Så hyggelig å høre at dere har hatt en fin dag. Har vært flott her også i 2 dager. Oppe på Frognerseteren har det blitt ett vintereventyr og med solen oppe er det sikkelig påskevær. God tur videre og lykke til med å bestige Jøkulkyrkja


"mamma" [wed 17.11.2010 08:12 (norwegian time)]

The "blop" you hear is certainly from the lake! I have heard it a lot of times crossing lakes in the winter!



Recreational skiing and climbing

Posted by Lars and Merete Wed 17.11.2010 around 19:30 gmt

We are still at camp 5 at the end of Kyrkjedalen.



Merete took this picture of an unnamed peak with a summit of 2237m last
night. The sun had set below Jøkulkyrkja for our camp, but the unnamed peak
still had midnight sun. The south face wall in the picture is 500 meters
high. This morning we set out with just one pulk full of climbing equipment
and a backpack with other necessities to see if it was climb-able from the
north side.

2 hours later and 300 meters higher, we saw that it might be climbable by
us. But it was still 200 meters to the summit, and we did not have enough
time. If we want to climb it, we probably have to move the camp up there.



Instead we went to the ledge and peaked out the west side, also a 500 meter
drop. Even though we did not summit the first peak, we have a lot of good
pictures from the area.

We then set our eyes for a smaller peak a couple of hundred meters north. At
14:15 Merete reach the summit of this 2130 m little peak and named it
Rundholmen.



This is Rundholmen. And the small dot in the snow field, is Merete coming
back down. We have marked it in the google map on the upper left side.

And now for some thoughts by Merete:

To the rhythm of Johnny Cash and Elvis, this is this evenings thoughts. :)
First about my mornings. Since I get the sun on my side of the tent (I asked
for it), it get really hot really fast. Around 06 I have to unzip my
superhot sleeping bag. I then lie for an hour listening to the winds, but
today I found my iPod and listened to the book my dear friend Rune Goddokken
said I should bring. Verdensmestrene is the name. After only a chapter I'm
hooked. Now I just need to be disciplined and make it last the next weeks :)


Today was just a climbing day, and Lars will probably tell you all about
that, but I want to say some words about the name our peak/knøs got. Not
sure if Lars said this, but in Norway it is custom that if you are the first
person to climb the peak, you are allowed to name it. I named it Rundholmen.
It was not one of the bigger mountains we set out to climb but didn't
manage. But this small peak sticking out of the ice-ocean was big enough.
Just what you need to be happy. It was as hard to climb as the side of the
real Rundholmen pointing towards Kirkegården. Again, this is a bit family
internal, but who cares. Now there is a peak in Antarctica called
Rundholmen, because I'm quite sure no one have tried to climb it. For that,
it was too insignificant. The great thing about this Rundholmen is that no
one will ever own it. No one can buy it for money, but everyone can come and
climb it and watch the amazing view over the ice ocean that lied bellow it.




"mamma" [wed 17.11.2010 22:04 (norwegian time)]

Thanks for a lovely spot to be called Rundholmen --- tears ---


kari [wed 17.11.2010 22:41 (norwegian time)]

I'm crying AGAIN!! Merete, stop it! ...just kidding of course- we have the same heart and it makes me smile. Viva La Rundholmen! Keep going my crazy, beautiful cousin and hug to Lars:) xoxo


Per [thu 18.11.2010 12:56 (norwegian time)]

Koselig, just like Rundholmen.
: )


Svein Asak [thu 18.11.2010 15:05 (norwegian time)]

This is the first time google map works with tags. Have you done anything to succeed? This gave an overview that has a completely new value to understanding the tour.


[sat 20.11.2010 17:20 (norwegian time)]

You crazy people. Take care,Lars, we need you badly on deck next summer. Tor



Stripping in Queen Maud Land

Posted by Lars and Merete thu 18.11.2010 about 21:30 gmt

There is a lot of wind every night. But if we have slow mornings, it usually
isn't more than max 4 m/s when we get out of the tent.



This flattering image is of me eating the Merete's special breakfast. It is
inspired by Børge's breakfast based on oatmeal porridge. But Merete has
added a lot of stuff to give it more flavor and calories.

Today we have skied past the entire north side of the Jøkulkyrkja massif,
and almost half the west side. But the second half is much more uphill. We
have camped just north-east of Torbjrnskjer on Lundebreen (google map is
updated).
(It is kind of confusing with north/south/east/west being down here,
especially when the sun is in the north and going the wrong way).



It has been sunny all day, and at for a long time, there were no wind at
all. So going up a hill, we got really hot. At one of the lunch breaks
Merete needed to ventilate a bit.

In the background is the part of Jøkulkyrkja called Kapellet (The chapel).
If we haven't said it already, Jøkulkyrkja means The glacier church.

Hei Farmor! Hyggelig at du fikk det til å fungere og følger med. Takk for
hilsen. Det er kaldt innimellom, spesielt om natta. Men vi klarer alltid å
varme oss opp igjen. Det eneste som har et hint av frostskade er nesene
våre. (Just a quick greeting to my over 80 year old grandmother who uses
internet (on an Ipad) for the first time to follow our trip)

And now for some thoughts by Merete:



aaah! We have been out here aaaall by ourselves for one week now. The trip
has lasted for 12 days, but can't really count the days of "luxury" at the
Russian airbase :) So what is status body-wise? Well, I can feel, smell and
see that I have not had a shower for a while. I got my first blister
yesterday. But a tiny one. I therefore put on some sports tape and voila. I
feel much better today. The body part that is least happy is my lips. My
poor lips got grilled the first day when I forgot to add some more sunscreen
during the day. So they are not very kissable for the next weeks I guess.
The same happened at Aconcagua on summit day. I guess I never learn. Regards
to the food. It starts to taste better and better, and I guess that means my
body have stopped to protest on the crappy dry freeze food. So you might
think that our pulks getter lighter each day. Well, since this is
Antarctica, we are not allowed to leave our toilet-visits so we actually
have to bring it with us!! so a pack of dry freeze food weigh 160grams. Then
we add ca. 350 cl water to it, and then whatever comes out in the other end
we have to bring. So it sort of goes up in up. So..since you get baaad
expedition-humor we can say we have at least freeze-pooh, but not dry freeze
:)
Regards to equipment test I think the only thing I would like changes is:
- Have the roof of the tent higher. I can't really sit upright properly.
- The Paris pulk SUCKS in sastrugi-terrain
- A better solution to protect mouth and nose for cold and sun..AND that
allow you to breathe when you walk. I'm trying new things every day.
Mmm, rest seems to work fine! The Solar panel rocks. It charges all of Lars
techno-heaven equipment like a charm!

I spoke on the phone with Ole and Trym yesterday telling Trym I borrowed his
pillow. So I just wanted to add the picture so he knows what I was talking
about :) It makes me sleep like a baby. And yeah, that other picture, that
was a special pose for Ole only. Everyone else, close your eyes :)

PS from Lars: The paris pulks rules! It's the gigantic sastrugies that suck.



per [sat 20.11.2010 04:30 (norwegian time)]

OH FOR GOODNESS SAKES! KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON YOU'RE IN ANTARTICA!!!!
; )
cute.per


[sat 20.11.2010 14:25 (norwegian time)]




Lundebreen up

Posted by Lars and Merete Fri 19.11.2010 around 21:15 gmt




This is our campsite today, far up on Lundebreen. We have camped about 400
meters above the last camp, at about 2070 meters above sea-level. The
altimeter on our Garmin GPSes doesn't agree. They refuses to accept that
this is 2070 meters. The air pressure here, close to the south pole, is less
than elsewhere. At the moment it is 748mb. I'm guessing Garmin has hardcoded
a limit in the software, assuming there is an error when someone claims that
the air pressure at 2070m is 748mb. So we have to set the GPS for 100 meters
higher...

Torbjrnskjer that we camped below yesterday, is the small dot to the right.




Lundebreen is Norwegian for The Lunde Glacier. And when you have a glacier,
you usually have crevasses. We had lots of them today. Both small and large.
It's me in the photo.

We are not sure what we will do next. It might be a rest day tomorrow, or we
might move the camp to about 2500m.

And now for some thoughts by Merete:



Right now I'm heating my back against the side of the tent that turns
towards the sun. In about 30 minutes it will got behind the mountains for
some coooold hours. That's when we start the heater/stove. We brought more
then 0,2 liter of fuel per person per day and that is waaaay too much.. so
we better just burn it up and keep warm then carry it back home :) Minus 22
degrees outside the tent now. I'm also enjoying a LOT of candy/smågodt. I
brought with me almost 2kg to enjoy, and the great thing is that I should
probably eat muuuch more than my stomach can take. My appetite is really
picking up. A bit more windy today. I could not do any stripping for
sure...with just a tiny wind in the air it gets really cold. I guess Lars
told you all about the 1001 crevasses we had to walk/run/ski around today.
Some were really scary. For me that has a bit of Claustrofobia didn't like
the narrow crevasse that just went downwards, and you can't see the bottom.
I've also just concluded that I'm really stiff in my dragging-a-pulk muscle.

It sort of feels good. Having a job were I sit on my ass all day long makes
this a very big change to my everyday life. Friday today.. Weekend has
started in Norway. Some are going to parties and dressing up. Oh well. Maybe
I should too. Maybe enjoy the feeling of taking of my 9 day-bra and change
to a new one :) Have a great weekend where ever you are.
Ps. ILOVE to get mail/messages, so keep them coming :)




Per [sat 20.11.2010 05:30 (norwegian time)]

What's a guy gotta do to get his cousin to post on his Facebook page from Antartica?


"mamma" [sat 20.11.2010 08:56 (norwegian time)]

Im glad you eat - not only candy I hope. Today I am going to celebrate "tante Liv"s 70th birthday together with Trond who is 50! Its windy here too, feels colder than 5C below 0. And do look careful after the crevasses. Love from mamma/Eva


"mamma" [sat 20.11.2010 12:46 (norwegian time)]

Just great to hear your voice through my phone/Stines phone/connecting to you somehow/somewhere!


Jaakko [sat 20.11.2010 14:05 (norwegian time)]

H Merete and Lars,
Just want to wish you all the best for this expedition ! It__s amazing to read about your trip & experiences. You know, I have heard at least 3 times a great story in company events from these types of trips... but seeing someone like you actally do that is wonderful.
cheers, Jaakko


Gunter [sat 20.11.2010 19:19 (norwegian time)]

Looks like you are having great fun again at -22C... i keep wondering of a trip to the heat and nature of bali would not be easier :-)



All play and no work

By Merete Nov. 20. 22:00 GMT

Saturday. The winds were really bad last night. Probably way past 20 knots.
Our wind-measurer (Lars has all kind of gadgets) could not measure, because
it froze in the cold, so we don't really know how bad it is. Hard to sleep
when you constantly try to listen if you can hear a ski pole getting caught
by the wind..or maybe a ski. I could not remember how well I had put my ski
poles into the snow and were quite worried as the wind made the tent shake
like we were inside a bottle of milkshake that needed some proper shaking :)

So after a lot of debating over breakfast we decided to stay inside today.
It is Saturday and we are on vacation after all! :) So I have stayed inside
a tent that is 3 square meters and only half a meter under the roof for a
whole day. Well, I did got outside to fasten the solar panel to the outside
of the tent. That mission took about 10 minutes...back in the warm tent! So
I have done something my dad thought I'd never do. Knitting! My first since
elementary school. I'm making a hat...sort of. It doesn't look like the one
in the picture I got with the knitting wool. It was all a gift from Gisken,
Oles sister for my birthday. There is no way like killing time with some
knitting...maybe :) At least I understand why they did before we had
Internet and all that :) Then you could knit while you were talking on the
phone. Now we only chat on Facebook or messenger and for that we need our
hands. How unpractical :)

Well, and then I had loads of time to write in my diary. And that's good for
the soul. We have also had a body-cleaning day. So now I feel super-clean
again! Heated water and everything. Unfortunately your inside is not so
clean. To stay inside a tent when the only food you process is dry-freeze
means that the body needs to digest the food inside and our comes a fume in
regular dozes that make the air inside the tent killing!

Well, enough about that. Need to be a serious expedition person that doesn't
care about anything else then survival! I called Ole today..and then he
called back, because it is super-expensive to talk. (conversation sponsored
by Cisco :) YEY! We love cisco!). He asked me if I didn't feel like a bit
well "connected" out in the wild. I did see his point, but I have put a lot
of thought into that. I'm not Nansen or Amundsen and what I DO want is to do
cool things, see cool places, feel that I get challenged, and if I can talk
to the once I love while doing it I see no rules in the book of:
"Expedition-rules for very tough people" that you can't be on Facebook... I
guess the might have forgotten to mention just that ;) Well, what I'm trying
to say, is that there are no rules, just to enjoy! And I was a very happy
woman after that call!

When writing in my diary I tried to write a poem. Just because I admire
those who are able to write some lines that makes me feel something special.
When listening to the wind and thinking about the outlook I've witnessed the
last days I wrote these lines about Antarctica. In Norwegian, as I would
never dear to try it in any other language then my own. It's called Ice and
Mountains in Antarctica.



Is og fjell I Antarktis

Is og fjell som fryst I tiden for lenge siden
Akkurat nå som et hav som stoppet
og slår bølger I et siste pust
Hvor mennesker aldri var ønsket
viser Antarktis sin vakre kyst.

I et landskap formet av samme hånd,
men allikvel I en hel annen ånd,
Hvor fjellene ruver med en egen verdighet
som om de har stått slik i all evighet
Det er Antarktis

Det sted hvor vinden former ishavet
bare i sakte film.
I sakte film endres snøen og isen
etter vindens ønsker
Slik lever også vi vindens ønsker i Antarktis

Vi er ikke ment å være her
Vi vil alltid være gjester i isødet
Kulden som en påminnelse om hvor vi hører hjemme
At et sted vil alltid leve uten oss,
is og fjell I Antarktis.





"mamma" [sun 21.11.2010 10:46 (norwegian time)]

Så fnt et dikt jenta mi! Det går nok en ånd fra de i familien som diktet - også mamman din!


Ranveig [sun 21.11.2010 21:50 (norwegian time)]

Hei Merete. I dag har vi vært sammen med Ole og nå er Medvind pakket inn under presenningen. Det var bra for Medvind for det er kommet litt snø allerede. Ole fikk middag også i dag. Du skal se han blir fast søndags middag gjest :). Imorgen drar jeg til Romania. Å lese postene deres er som å lese et eventyr. Stor klem fra meg til dere begge!


kari [sun 21.11.2010 23:04 (norwegian time)]

You are AMAZING! You should take take everything you write and make it into a book because it is SO funny!! Tell lars I said to stop farting:) just kiddin;) Can't wait to read what happens next! Love you xoxo



2500 meters above sea-level

Posted by Lars Sun 21-11-2010 about 21:00 gmt

This morning it was about 10 m/s (20 knots) of wind, but we broke camp
anyway and started skiing upwards. We had the wind in our faces all day, but
it was down to about 4 m/s by the afternoon.



Although it doesn't show very well in the photo, we have been skiing/walking
uphill all day. We have gained 450 meters today and Camp 10 is at 2515
meters above sea-level. That is higher than Galdøpiggen (2469m. The highest
mountain in mainland Norway)



The solar panel broke yesterday evening. We've done some repairs, and it
seems to be working fine again. We have another spare solar panel, but that
one doesn't do so well when there's a lot of wind or on the move.

We might do a bid for the summit tomorrow




Per [mon 22.11.2010 13:18 (norwegian time)]

Go for it!
I'll meet you there... once I find my slippers.


"mamma" [mon 22.11.2010 13:19 (norwegian time)]

HURRA - HURRA. Ca. kl. 12.30 kom Merete og Lars opp på toppen av Jøkulkyrkja! Kl. 12.40 fikk jeg en telefon fra 3158 moh!! Congratulation. You did it again!



We've summited Jøkulkyrkja - Merete as first woman

Summited by Lars and Merete Mon 22.11.2010 about 19:00 gmt



We have summited Jøkulkyrkja (3148m) in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica,
Norway's highest mountain.



Actually we have summited it two times. As we found both a summit on solid
rock and a summit on ice. Both were exactly the same height, as far as we
could measure (with the altimeter/pressure-reader of the GPS). The pressure
on both summits was 648.1mb. So to be on the safe side, we have summited
both and taken two sets of pictures :) (The vertical GPS position isn't
exact enough for this)



As far as we can tell, there have only been around 19 men that have climbed
Jøkulkyrkja before us, and no women. If this is correct, this makes Merete
the first woman to have climbed Jøkulkyrkja.



I had of course brought my inflatable beach ball, and threw it at both
summits. For those of you who's not familiar with the ball, have a look
here. As usual on extreme cold
places, the ball quickly ruptured. Luckily I had brought a spare ball (which
also ruptured).



The weather reports for today, was a bit iffy. When we woke this morning,
there were only a thin cloud cover (+a few extra clouds) and almost no wind.
So at 7:30 am gmt we started our summit bid. It took us 3 hours to reach the
ice summit from the camp. At the same time it started to snow ever so gently
and the wind began to pick up. We spent 2 1/2 hours on the summits before we
went back down to the camp.

We did it! We did it! We did it!

And we have a lot of pictures. Just a tiny tiny portion has made it to this
webpage.

And now for some thoughts by Merete:

What is it with these mountains?? And now just this tiny top on the other
side of the planet?! It's not even very high..just Norwegian :) It can not
be explained. I tried to explain why I climb when climbing Aconcagua in
March, don't think it can be explained in a good way. First of all, this is
really where I belong. Where I can find peace. Between beautiful peaks and
beautiful valleys. They can be found everywhere of course. But coming to
Dronning Maud Land is special. I cannot explain it, but it feels sometimes
that I am on a different planet...with no people. Just us. It is one of the
places on earth you can be very sure not to bump into people. For the last
11 days we have walked around Jøkulkyrkja. We have seen it from all angels.
In beautiful weather.

Anyway, today was special. Magical. When starting off from the tent I turned
my iPod on and listened to Over the Rainbow by Israel Kamakawiwo'Ole . For
me that song is magical. Music often makes that magical feeling. Being
Miss-cry-easy I have to admit that I felt like the luckiest person on earth
that could walk up this valley a quiet Monday morning with no other goal
then reaching Norway's highest mountain. I felt spoiled and fortunate at the
same time. Ole, my love, have told me that I might be that one person that
don't have a bad word to say about Norway. Don't know why. I just have
gotten so much good in life, and that life has been in Norway. Now, enjoying
a tiny bit of Norway so far away is superb.

Stepping on top of Norway's highest peak in Dronning Maud land makes me feel
maybe a bit too nationalistic :) I am super-proud! And what's great about
this wonderful peak is that it can be climbed by anyone, if it hadn't been
for the location and climate! It is really just like Galdhøpiggen. And that
second peak on the snow at the same altitude, we can call it Glittertind!
Just as high, with snow on :) I am a very happy girl tonight!




Per [mon 22.11.2010 20:52 (norwegian time)]

Congratulations Lars! First Man to climb Jøkulkyrkja with a girl!
: )
YAY MERETE!!!


betsy [mon 22.11.2010 20:56 (norwegian time)]

You guys rock! Congratulations!


Per-Øyvind [mon 22.11.2010 21:02 (norwegian time)]

Gratulerer!


Sara & Trevyn [mon 22.11.2010 21:21 (norwegian time)]

Fantastic!!! You made it!


Magne [mon 22.11.2010 21:23 (norwegian time)]

Grtulerer!!


Bård H. [mon 22.11.2010 21:39 (norwegian time)]

Grattis begge to! =D


Stine Grete [mon 22.11.2010 22:17 (norwegian time)]

Gratulerer så mye, kunne ønske jeg kunne fått vært der og sett de vakre fjellene der


James [mon 22.11.2010 22:22 (norwegian time)]

Yeehaa - Way to go Merete and Lars - you are the best!


Ranveig [tue 23.11.2010 00:16 (norwegian time)]

Gratulerer så mye! Dere er flinke!!


Malin [tue 23.11.2010 02:18 (norwegian time)]



Malin [tue 23.11.2010 02:20 (norwegian time)]

Gratulerer med å komme på toppen av Norge!! Ser fantastisk fint ut. Nyt resten av tiden på isen.


"mamma" [tue 23.11.2010 07:49 (norwegian time)]

Prøvde ringe dere i går kveld --- opptatt!! Igjen gratulerer det var flott. Så fine bilder - så vakkert! For alle vi som higer mot topper skjønner vi dragningen...


Morten Wilfred [tue 23.11.2010 09:21 (norwegian time)]

Gratulerer!!! Ser badeballen representerer.


Lisa Jacobson [tue 23.11.2010 16:01 (norwegian time)]

Wow! You two are seriously inspiring. Love the life you live! Live the life you love!


Øyvind [tue 23.11.2010 22:10 (norwegian time)]

Gratulerer!


Gunter Van de Velde [wed 24.11.2010 22:49 (norwegian time)]

Lady, you rock!!!


giuseppe [thu 25.11.2010 13:08 (norwegian time)]

BRAVISSIMI.....



Another first ascend - Trym

Posted by Merete and Lars Tue 23.11.2010 around 18 gmt

We are still at Camp 2500. Lars and I plan to break camp tomorrow, descend a
bit and go east in the direction of Camp 1.

This morning was a bit windy. But we set off to have a look at
Larsenskarvet, and the south-eastern steep hills of Jøkulkyrkja, down
towards Kyrkjetorget and Perskjeret (and the horrible field of sastrugies
from last week). When we got there, we climbed an unnamed and previously
unclimbed peak at the northern end of Larsenskarvet.



The peak is located next to the drop down to Kyrkjetorget. Small, but quite
steep. We used ice-axes to secure our way up and down. We summited at about
12:25 gmt. The peak is 2700 meters high and at S 71 deg 55.149 min E 006 deg
49.770 min (google map is updated). I named it Trym after Ole's son. When
you're only 2,5 years old a peak like this must be the perfect one. The
right size, but with a view to the rest of the world like no other! :) We
measured the wind to 11 m/s (22 knots) and the temperature to -17C in the
sun. Bloody cold!! So we didn't stay at the summit for long. The view from
the summit towards Kapellet:



And then there is fooood! Sorry to bore you with this, but since I know
there is a billion magazines out there just about food I know I'm not alone
to care a tiny bit about it. I've been to so many wonderful restaurants and
the gourmet-chefs always say that how things look, the consistence and
texture is just as important as the taste itself.




So....do not complain if your woman or man serves you the same boring fish
balls or meatballs with white/brown sauce. At least it's not just one
jumble. :) In the picture you see: Breakfast. Light color. Then dinner.
Darker color...then you have a picture of our celebration dessert.. dark
color.. mmmmm! I'm dreaming about Lisa's healthy vegetarian dishes she made
for us last year! Never take good food for granted! :) Kiss the one that
made you a great meal today!

And now for some thoughts by Lars, for a change:



A day of skiing in Antarctica

The wind is wiping, trying to find cracks it can enter between the hood,
balaclava, ski goggles and the face-mask. Sometimes it does, and the moist
in the face from breathing, instantly freeze.

Earphones in the ears. Music to help pass the time in the monotone
landscape. The same, way too short, playlist is playing again and again. Why
did Apple make us touch the iPod with bare fingers to change playlist? Can't
take off the mittens now.

Hands. Two layers of mittens. Chemical hand warmers. Holding the ski-poles
gently. Can't grip hard. That will give the heat a way to escape, and also
limit the flow of blood. Have to be careful how the ski-pole band wraps
around your hand. Don't restrain the blood flow. The fingers easily get
cold.

Going up endless slopes. Only 20 minutes to the top of this hill. That was 2
hours ago. For every ski-step, there's a hard tug in the opposite direction
from the sledge. The sastrugies is carefully plotting so that the middle
part of the skies with the synthetic seal skin grip isn't touching the
ground and you slip.

Having to pee. The mittens must off one hand. Trying to find the shrinked
one under the ski-harness and climbing harness, behind the zipper and
between layers of wool. Finally it is out. Barely. Hard to relax the right
muscle. Cold climbing gear coming in the way, and touching the hand, to
facilitate a frost bite. Is it done? Think so. Letting it back in. Ah, so
warm and cozy. Much easier to relax now. NO!

The sun. Gives a little bit of heat in the cold environment. But it is
dangerous. Uncovered skin quickly gets burned in the ice landscape and high
altitude. The facemask isn't only for the cold and the wind. Sore eyes some
days ago. Wearing sunglasses under the ski-mask.

But this is the vacation I chose,
and it is awesome!





"mamma" [tue 23.11.2010 21:26 (norwegian time)]

Thanks that you eat the good food - remember christmas is around the corner! Agree with Lars - What a vacation - its awesome! Have a safely return -


Per [wed 24.11.2010 14:47 (norwegian time)]

Amazing! Except for the peeing part. Peaking is more exciting!
; )



Almost back at Camp 1

Posted by Lars and Merete Wed 2010-11-24 about 21:00 gmt


We are almost back at Camp 1. This is Camp 13 with Rakekniven and Nung
(small peak to the far right) in the background. We are 5 km from where the
plane dropped us off and we had Camp 1. We have been around Jøkulkyrkja and
seen it from all angles.

Today we have descended 750 meters and skied/walked 23.5 km. It took us 9
hours. We've gone down (by) Larsenskarvet, crossed the awful sastrugies of
Djupedalen and gone down Kubusdalen. We are currently at the end of
Kubusdalen between Kubus and Trollslottet.

And now for some thoughts by Merete:



I do not have kids. When people say they can drive you mad, I have an idea
how it must feel when they do the opposite of what you want all the time.
After the second experience with huuuge sastrugies I have to admit that my
patience gets quite...limited. I walk 1 meter, the pulk falls over. I go
back, turn it, then go two meters. Bam... the skis I tried to fasten to the
pulk falls off when going hard down from a sastrugi. I go back again. Fasten
them. Then move forward. A uphill-sastrugi coming up and I go for it with
all my weight to get over it! BAMM! The pulk is stuck inside the sastrugi.
It didn't manage the steapness... Janne, my dear friend from the north of
Norway would be very proud of me. I could go for a Nordlening anytime (They
swear a lot).



But then.... Suddenly the ground flattens out. And the beauty of it all just
overwelms you. Kubusdalen (Kubus Valley) with Trollslottet-massive is
impressive. That's what you see in the picture. Trollslottet means The
Castle for the Troll. What a great name! I've taken a bunch of photos today.
The weather allowed it. No wind at all! So another day is soon finished here
in Antarctica. Even tough we summited Jøkulkyrkja 2 days ago, our trip is
far from finished. We have to get to a mountain-massive called
Fenriskjefeten (The jaw of a wolf from Northern Mythology). In about 7 days
a Basler/DC3 will pick us up from that area. The pickup point is about 60km
away. Those moutains are even more crazy beautiful then over here...if
possible :)




Janne [thu 25.11.2010 09:23 (norwegian time)]

Merete, æ e superstolt av dæ, helt uavhengig av bainninga!!!
Følge kvert skritt dokker tar, å e mållaus av beundring!!
Ser frem tell å høre å se bilda fra deinnan fantastiske opplevelsen dokkers. Hels han Lars :)


Stine [thu 25.11.2010 13:53 (norwegian time)]

Hei søstern min jeg håper du fikk mailen min igår og koser deg med den:)


Per [thu 25.11.2010 16:49 (norwegian time)]

We're saving some turkey for you guys.
See you at dinner.
Happy Thanksgiving!



Sunny day

Posted by Lars Thu 25.11.2010 about 20:30 gmt

This has been a sunny day, with just a little bit of wind. We are on our way
towards Ulvetanna were we will be picked up in about a week.



We've camped next to an unnamed and unclimbed (as far as we know) peak in
the middle of the glacier. About 20 meters behind our tent, there is a 50
meter drop to the base of the peak. So we've put up our tent of the border
of the glacier. Every now and then we hear a loud PLONGs.

If the weather is good tomorrow, we will see if we can find a route up to
the summit.



Dear Åsnes Ski Factory,
I love your skies. Especially the half skins clip-on. But I have one
question. Why did you decide to put the picture of Nansen on the male skies
and Cecilie Skog on the shorter female skies? I would much rather look at
Cecilie all day long than Nansen.


PS: Merete has been in the quiet corner today. Another miss-you day.

PS2: "both5", you are on our notification list. If you haven't received any,
try checking your spam-folder



nala [thu 25.11.2010 21:49 (norwegian time)]

stor klem til dere begge! :) Om en uke er dere på vei hjem!


Jan Erik Gøbel [thu 25.11.2010 22:54 (norwegian time)]

Hei Merete og Lars. Til info så er both5 en venn av meg. Han er Amerikansk militærpensjonist fra 2 verdenskrig og bor utenfor Los Angeles. Jeg tror det er hans mailprogram som er for strengt satt opp og stopper mailer med uvanlige adresser. Jeg kopierer linken og sender ham hver kveld. Han elsker å lese om dere. Gratulere med flott tur og fine opplevelser. I skrivende stund er det -10 grader celcius i Oslo. Ha en fortsatt opplevelsesrik tur. Hilsen Jan Erik


Bill Jasper [thu 25.11.2010 23:08 (norwegian time)]

Lars...I have been receiving your messages, and have enjoyed reading and seeing the pictures about your adventure. Thank you very much. The "both" in my address stands for "Bill on the Hill."


"mamma" [fri 26.11.2010 08:27 (norwegian time)]

Every morning: Turn on the PC - reading about you in the "Nowegian Outback". Thank you both - hope you reach another unamed peak today!



Relaxing and super climbing

Posted by Merete Fri 26.11.2010 about 21:00 GMT

We meant to go out early today and start a long climbing-day. Due to the
wind in the morning we stayed inside until 13. Then we heard the wind quiet
down. We had seen two possible routes to the summit. One on the east side
and one on the north side. We got our climbing gear on...and that takes a
while...and headed off to the east wall. This had a perfect slope up to
about 20 meter from the summit. (To the right in the picture)



We got ready and started climbing. We didn't bother using a rope, because it
wasn't super-steep. But when we were almost at the top we had two obstacles.
the one that made us turn around was the wind. The wind almost always come
from the south-east down here. Some of the wind gust made you come out of
balance. We decided to turn back down and head for the North wall. (the
other obstacle was the straight 20 meter wall at the top with overhang we
had to get up).




Up on the north side we got our crampons on and climbed the steep ice up to
the stand (standplass). Since this ice was the only victory for me today I
have to mention that I lead that part and secured Lars with an ice-screw at
the top.

From that moment on I was belay-Bob....or was it Belay-Betsy? :) Now the
hard climbing started. Lars had a bunch of nuts, friends and what we call
transformers. These are cool tools you can stick into a crack in the
mountain, and they expand when you let go of them. If you fall it is
supposed to catch you. So Lars started climbing, using his rack of gear, and
me securing him from below. The first part was quite tricky. At one point he
was hanging from his hands and just dragging himself up... I was standing
below mumbling something about that I had no chance in heaven to get up that
part. He had the benefit of being 15 cm higher than me I would later find
out.



And up he went. On a Norwegian scale I would guess that would be 6-climbing
just aiding himself. I was bloody impressed to be honest. I should add that
is was about -15 as well. Then it was my turn. The rope had come to an end.
I had to climb up where he was so we could continue upwards. Riiight. I had
the backpack as I was number two. One ...Two...Three! I tried with all my
body to get my fat ass up the first 3 meters where Lars had dragged himself
up by his arms. Now I was dangling by the rope as I lost the grip and fell
backwards. I was lucky number two, being secured from above :)

After about 10 tries I just had it... Nope. This mama is staying on the
ground if I were not to start to aid-climb, and I wasn't. For Lars to climb
higher we extended his rope with one I had on the ground. I spliced two
ropes together and Lars dragged it upwards. Now he had 60 meters of rope all
together. He continued until he had no more rope. Then he untied himself
because it was getting not so steep. He checked out the upper part and then
came down to the ropes again.



Now... how to get back down. It wasn't much rappel points at all. He found a
rock and used on of the friends.. For double protection. And down he came,
picking up all his nuts etc. on his way down. We left the rope hanging. Lars
has not given up, he thinks I will be lighter in the ass tomorrow and that
it will be easier with the fixed rope we left to get up that first part. Let
us see about that...

We're back in the tent now. Lars was quite worn-out. He had not eaten or had
anything to drink since we left the tent. We came back around 18. Me,
standing on the ground had all the water and candy bars. I was supposed to
get up where he was..but you know...that ass...

So, that was another day in Antarctica. Strange feeling today. One week
left. I guess we're staying here another day. Lars is quite eager to climb
this thing. I can't say I have the same drive.. specially not when I noticed
that when the climbing flattens out there is a huuuuge crack in the wall
where rocks has fallen out. We need to pass (climb over) that huge straight
wall to get all the way to the top. I do think that it will be super hard.
But you know.. It's good fun trying at least.

Over and out.


"mamma" [sat 27.11.2010 10:13 (norwegian time)]

Sounds dangerous - glad about your ass! And that Lars came safe down again. Please also have some "nuts in the pockets! And something to drink!


Greger [mon 29.11.2010 22:42 (norwegian time)]

Reading about you, I am so envious. It almost makes me want to become a frilufts-guy, especially in the winter. But then I remember how much I hate tight clothing like superundertøy.
My cameras really want to go though.
Envy envy.


Gunter Van de Velde [mon 29.11.2010 23:08 (norwegian time)]

Stay safe... looks as quite an adventure... heard from Ole on a small crack in the ice somewhere


christophe [tue 30.11.2010 17:42 (norwegian time)]

Salut tous les 2. Nice to read your travel news from the other side of the mountain. Bravo for all your first ascend. Just back in France today. Left Antarctica 5 days ago. Keep safe, look after yourself, Ulvetanna has a great shape from what will be your last camp. Just pitch your tent a the place of mine, it will be a pleasure, i've left the ice block igloo wall.
Speak soon.
@+
Christophe



Out of shape

Posted by Lars and Merete Sat 27-11-2010 about 19 gmt

I was completely out of it last night. But I took a couple of pain
killers/muscle relaxers and went to sleep. I slept most of the time for 10
hours. Once, I woke up and was soaking in sweat.



This morning I felt much better. But soon realized that I was still quite
worn down. I took my temperature, and it turned out to be 38,5C under my
tongue. (Thanks for the ultra-light and extremely compact thermometer,
Marte). I have been feeling a gentle itch in my throat this week. And as it
turns out, Merete felt it last week. So it seems we have managed bring a
bacterium with us out here.

Today I've just been lying around the tent relaxing. As yesterday, the day
started with a lot of wind, that diminished a bit during the day. Merete has
been out to fetch the ropes we left hanging yesterday. As we have camped on
the south side of the mountain, Merete had to walk half way around and back,
descending/ascending 100 meters on her way.

And now for some thoughts by Merete:
It is a beautiful day today and a shame that Lars has been not feeling well.
I've been outside just admiring the view and taking photos. Also had a chat
with Ole. He's in Vingelen and it's just as cold there..but I got the sun so
it is much more pleasant to be outside here :) So good to hear his voice,
and also talk to Trym who skied for the first time in his life today!
Tomorrow we should start moving to get to Ulvetanna in time for the plane
out. I'm crossing my fingers that Lars feels better tomorrow!


So to the polar bear in Antarctica! I just have to write this because one of
the conditions my manager and my colleague in Sweden had, was that I came
back with a picture of a polar bear. I'm not sure if this is Norwegian humor
(my manager is from The Nederlands), but finding a polar bear in Antarctica
can only be done in Disney movies, and I found it a "bit" funny when I got
the condition ;) I do think they made a movie with a flying polar bear and I
think it was called something about Antarctica. No wonder why people are
confused.

But anyway... there are NO polar bears in Antarctica. It's only penguins
here, and they are mostly close to the coast. Don't know how well the
penguins would have done if the polar bears had moved South. :) It's for
sure more ice here! We did see penguins when we were in a town close to Cape
Town on our way here. We'll probably not see any here.

The only living creature we've seen is the snow-petrell. This wonderful
white bird. My manager never said what KIND of polar bear (living, dead
etc.), so we brought a small mascot from Norway. It has been hanging from
the roof of our tent now for 16 days. Actually hugging a penguin, but I took
that out of the picture not to confuse anyone ;) So, now I can come back to
work and I have kept my promise! pjuuuu.
.


"mamma" [sun 28.11.2010 09:31 (norwegian time)]

Hope Lars is better today. It helps to sleep. The Antartic "polar bear" look so happy ...all by him/her self!


Morten Skriver [sun 28.11.2010 20:50 (norwegian time)]

Thanks for the polar bear Merete, now I think you have satisfied both Bert and Erik :-)



Crevasse

Posted by Lars and Merete Sun 28.11.2010 about 22:00 gmt

When I woke this morning, I still had fever, but an Ibux scared it away. We
waited for the wind to slow down a bit before we broke camp. Merete did most
of the work, and was the one with 2 sledges most of the day. We went on foot
as there was a lot of big sastrugies. I walked first.



I came to what looked like a hidden crevasse (bresprekk). I'm not so sure
about what happened next, but I think I was turning to tell Merete when I
lost my footing. The next I remember is that I'm shoulder deep in a
crevasse, I'm seeing my GPS falling further down, and disappears. I'm
pressing one knee forward and one foot backwards to try to pin myself. One
hand is grasping at the edge, and another is holding on to the ski pole that
is lying across the crevasse. Merete immediately jumps down on knees in
front of me and sticks a pair of ski poles under my left armpit. Then she
quickly substitutes the fragile ski poles with a ski under each armpit. Then
I was safe, and climbed out.

I didnt sustain any injuries other than just a strained something in my
upper back and a tiny strain somewhere in my right wrist. What I'm most sad
about is the GPS. It has followed me and tracked my everywhere I've been the
last years. I liked it.

And now Merete:

What a day! Not my favorite one except that this day have brought me closer
to home. Super wind in the morning. Preparing the pulks in gusty cold wind.
The first hour was OK. Then it started again. The killing sastrugi. It is so
hard work. If you can imagine having two tires from your car hanging after
you, and then you try to climb over an obstacle every 1 meter. Some very
tall, some crooked so the tires just goes from side to side living their own
life. And when you get the first tire over an obstacle, well, be quite sure
that the second will not make it without you helping it by dragging it
upwards.

I listened to Cecilie Skog once, on television saying that she felt that she
felt it "meaningful" to cross the Antarctica. It takes about 80 days... I
kept thinking about that all day today.. meaningful...meaningful...
meaningful..Don't know if I am convinced.

I listened to music. Tried to enjoy it. Then Edit Piaf came on.. singing in
French she has no regrets! I usually enjoy that song, but today I can't say
I did.. And of course..when it flattened out we walked into a minefield of
crevasses. Blue ice and where it was not blue ice it was big cracks and you
could look down to Satan far below. Lars always waited for me when he found
a very dangerous area to show me that I had to take special care. I had 2
pulks so I had to navigate a bit "wider" to get them all over the crevasses.

I was about 5 meter away when it happened. First I thought he stumbled
because his feet disappeared. Then he was gone to his knees. It happened in
stages because the snow under him probably didn't loosen at the same time.
When I saw him just disappearing down I think I worked on instinct. I ran
forward. Lied down superfast on the blue ice (my knees is as blue and
bruised as the ice this evening), put my poles out.. and I guess Lars told
the rest of the story.

What he didn't write was that I did this as fast as I do when I play squash
and that's when my knee "pops". I don't know what it is but it hurts like
HELL when I stretched out my knee and leg to grab the ski from Lars's pulk.
Not that I cared at all. Adrenalin is a good thing I guess. I must say I
was surprised how calm I was afterwards. Glad it wasn't me I guess. Don't
know if I would want to walk another step that day. Well, so that's our
day...nothing to write home about... just very hard, very strenuous, and a
bit scary.

At the North pole they say you get baptized the first time you get wet by
getting in the water by mistake. I guess down there a crevasse like today
would work for the same type of baptizing.. Not funny, but not very unusual.
I'm surprised it has gone so well for 17 days.



But I want to leave you with this picture taken from the tent tonight. I
brought one candle with me to light it on this day. It's the first Sunday in
Advent. I like Advent. I love it. That's why I brought the candle. And today
we light it for happiness. Happiness. hmmmm..There is so many things to be
happy about. I do feel a bit of the 3rd candle today as well. Yearning, but
I will focus on the happiness! Takk mamma for koselig adventsmail! Jeg er så
glad i dere og gleder meg til å se dere alle sammen igjen!




"mamma" [mon 29.11.2010 09:30 (norwegian time)]

... and you had time to take the picture of Lars ...
glad you respond so quickly - I believe when something scary happens - you work automatically ..- glad to see you in the tent with the first candle (what do you remember to bring!)



No Drifting snow today! :)

Submitted By Merete Monday 29. November about 21:30 gmt

Good day. With a start with high winds it suddenly decided to say bye. The
wind that is. It just disappeared! Starting the day with sastrugies wasn't
supercool but we knew what awaited us. When we had a break we were suddenly
surrounded by six seven snow-petrell birds! They were playing around us. I
guess they were just as curious by us as we for them. They just flew over
the sastrugies..ah how I wish I were a bird sometimes :) But suddenly the
ground flattened out. Jacket had to come off. The sun kept my back very very
warm. It was -15, but the heat from the sun makes it easy +20 when you turn
towards it. Not much crevasses either. Just a couple close to our camp, but
nothing like yesterday, thank God..or someone ;)

I finished my sound-book today. Such a great book! Made me miss Oslo and
Norway even more ;) Verdensmestere by Langeland! Go buy it! Specially those
of you who love Nordmarka ;)

I had 2 pulks most of the way. I did see that by the speed I am able to
keep. I thought I went really fast, but nope..we have kept a steady 2km/hour
today as well. We did gain 185meters. 15km. I'm happy.



We have camped in the uvula (drøvel) of the Fenristunga (Fenris tongue).
Just next to Holtanna. Holtanna is the mountain you see in the picture. Lars
walked in front of me today. I couldn't keep up the phase. This camp is
special. It's the last time we will see Jøkulkyrkja in the distance.
Tomorrow we will move to the other side of the Fenriskjeften massive. We are
getting close to our final destination, Ulvetanna.

Talking about pictures. The one I took of Lars yesterday has been commented
quite well. Let me say it this way: I would NEVER take that picture if Mr
Nøring had not suggested it. From being SUPER scared .. and I do think he
was as well, he felt safe with his skis under each armpit. When I walked
over to the pulk to get something he asked me to take it! If that was me
dangling inside a crevasse like that I would scream and drag myself up the
second I had the chance. What you do not see in the picture is that the
whole was just continuing down and down..Anyway. Don't shoot the
photographer! ;)

Just to end this entry, I have to say something about Novo Runway. The only
regular human contact I have (except Lars now and then ;)) is at Twenty
hundred zulu (military time boyzzz!!) each evening. For security in case we
fall in a crevasse, fall off a mountain side, kill each other etc, we need
to report in at 20:00 each night to tell our position, the status and the
weather at our current location. We call Novo Runway. Run by Russians. The
conversation goes like this: "Noooovo Runwaaay!". Me: "Hi, Merete from the
Norwegian Climbing Expedition calling (we got that name by the Russians!)
.." Novo: "Yeeeeez, I'm ready"..Then I read our gps coordinates to them an
tell them the weather and status. The conversation end by them telling us
the weather forecast. It's strange how you just love how someone says
something. This man, Slava, I meet in a brief meeting to agree on
calling-times says this one line so beautiful that I hope for that type of
weather every night.. "blablabla... driiiiiftttiiing snooow!".
And one good thing about Antarctica is that it is a LOT of drifting snow! I
like Novo Runways drifting snow!.. but I can't say I like it every time I
have to visit the ladies room...

It's not like the Novo-gang are weather-forecasters full time! They are
supposed to land some airplanes now and then also. And one other cool
thing, they have a gmail-account. I think all airports should have a
Google-account :) But then Lars came up with the idea that we could just
tell them to email us the weather forecast instead of us listening to what
they say. I sounded logical..until I understood that I could no longer hear
him say: Driiifting snoow. Humph! Sometimes phone is muuuch better then
email... but I guess you all know that!

PS by Lars: We have a lot of equipment and trained on how to get out of
crevasses, even if we should fall deep into them. (Of course, the trick is
not to hurt yourself on the way down)



Bill Jasper [mon 29.11.2010 23:50 (norwegian time)]

Still enjoying the reports of your fascinating journey.



Back at Novo

Posted by Lars Tue 30.11.2010 about 21:45

Our "domestic" flight back to Novo got pushed forward by 3. days. We barely
made it. But now we are safe back at Novo. More later.



"mamma" [wed 01.12.2010 08:06 (norwegian time)]

Puhh - safe back at Novo. Good. BUT I will sort of miss your daily writing from the Queen Maud Land in Antarctica.



Last day in the wild

Posted by Merete Wed 01.12.2010 about 14:00 gmt

What a bizarre feeling. Here we are. Sitting in a chair for the first time
in 3 weeks. It all happened so fast. We woke up yesterday morning in our
beautiful tent-spot overlooking both Holtanna and Jøkulkyrkja far away. The
weather was perfect. No wind. The Antarctic sun asked us to get up of our
sleeping bags. From -20 during the night it quickly turned +20 inside the
tent. Probably warmer even. I could not sleep after 06. I got up and
starting boiling water. That's usually my job in the morning. Lars decided
to check his email and that was indeed good! We had gotten an email from
Novo runway. It said:

We've got a new flight schedule. You have to be ready to meet Lidia at RME
point with these coordinates:
S 71 49 30 E 008 23 35.
Tomorrow, on 30th of November, we will wait for your call at 08:00 UTC.
Probably ETA Lidia at RME point will be from 16:00 UTC.

Ai! We had to hurry. Luckily we had gotten up early! Lars quickly found out
that it was 11,5km in a straight line towards pickup point. We knew we had
to make a big turn around the mountain so it would be probably close to
20km. We both crossed our fingers and hoped for good skiing conditions..that
meaning: No sastrugi. We were ready at 08 to go. Gave Novo runway a call. We
said we would try our best to get there in time for 16. He said the flight
might be delayed.



Well, off we went. I had eaten well. My appetite had gone through the roof.
After dragging two pulk for 2 days I could not get enough food it felt like.
The breakfast is close to 1000 calories alone. I ate it all with pleasure,
and even helped Lars a bit with his. We took out the best of the remaining
lunches. That is: The Energy bars (Snickers, Mars, New Energy).

The conditions was far from optimal. Still we saw quite a bit of cracks in
the hard-packed snow. After the incident with Lars I kept quite close
attention to the ground and where we moved. Even though the cracks were just
tiny I could see the dark blue color underneath. I kept thinking: What
should I do if this whole plate of snow will just give up under my weight?
But when we started to descend to the other side of the mountain they
disappeared.



Holtanna was amazing from all angels! A picture just don't show the
grandiose feeling you had walking next to it. It is massive and the lines of
the mountains are so straight up!

Downhill. Pulks. That is not a good combination. It's nice with a bit of
downhill but does it become more then 10% they just slide into you from
behind and you fall over, or it slide up next to you and with a tiny bump it
just fall over. Me, with two to keep track of made me swear quite a bit. At
the end I just let one of them go. Worked perfect. It stopped not far down
and then we continued North towards Ulvetanna were we had our pickup-point.
It became very hot. I was a duracell-rabbit it felt like. We stopped. I ate
an energy bar. Drank a cup of water. And the battery was up to 100% again.
Up and down, up and down of the sastrugi.

The legs felt fine. I thought I would go tired after 4 hours of this, but
eating and eating and drinking and drinking made me go without problems.
What a great feeling! My body had adapted. It didnt mind anymore. That
feeling of a body that works and plays along with you is such a wonderful
feeling. A body in its right element. At one point I took of the wool
sweater. I just had my bra and the trousers with suspenders..and of course
the harness for dragging the pulks. The heat from the sun made my face melt
and the front of me was so warm, but the part of me that was turning away
from the sun was cold. It was probably -15, but that sun.... You just have
to feel it to understand. We passed Kinntanna. I don't know how to describe
the beauty of these mountains. They are just incredible

Lars were leading the way through the sastrugi. Then suddenly he stood quiet
waiting. "Look!! tracks in the snow!!" I had to smile. That was the first
sign of people in 20 days. yeaahhh! Funny what makes you smile. We were
getting close to "civilization". At least people... We later found out that
it was tracks from the people that had climbed Ulvetanna. They climbed
Holtanna the day we arrived there!!!



When a trip like this comes to and end it sort of sinks into you. I suddenly
really thought of what I had been experiencing. How lucky I am. How
magnificent Dronning Maud Land is. What a magical place it is. How lonely
and how friendly.. When the sun shines and the wind calms down. I do not
think it really sunk in before I stood at the base of Ulvetanna and saw the
camp with people 3 km away, that it was over. I have to admit that I have
been counting days. When we landed and sat in the tent at Camp 1 how I just
laughed thinking that we were to spend 22 days in this deserted place. How I
have been counting days when I miss what I have at home. But I do think you
only count the days when you miss something. And I did miss something. I can
say I missed good food, but that doesn't really matter. At least I can't say
it matters a lot. I can say I miss a duvet and not a close fit sleeping bag,
but I did sleep like a baby. I just had to get used to it, and I did. The
only thing I really missed is the once I love. If they were there with me, I
do not think I would be any other place on this planet, and I really mean
that.



We had been going for 10 hours when we finally put our poles down and saw
the incoming DC3 in the air. With its beautiful red white and blue colors it
came circling over us to spot a good landing place on the snow. And after
almost 3 weeks here I can tell you that that is NOT an easy task between the
sastrugi ;)
The loading of the aircraft went superfast! All the stuff from the climbing
expedition and our tiny small 3 pulks. I had a last look behind me. Looked
at the mountains. Said goodbye. Then I climbed onboard the DC3 and just felt
a bubbly feeling inside. Then I screamed over to Lars to make myself heard
over the engines starting up outside the window: " I LOVE ENIGNEERS!!" Such
a simple old plane, but it works so well in the cold and it can land and
TAKE OFF on the snow..Who can not love engineers that can make something
like this fly us back home with such an ease. The takeoff was amazing. With
the view back and Ulvetanna...and the white desert of snow lying there.



We were brought back to Novo, had a quick dinner.. I ATE LIKE I'VE NEVER
EATEN! I got a full plate of food, it even had salad..WITH tomato and
cucumbers!!! I would never finish a plate like that at home, but it all went
down in a swallow. Then we were shipped off to our current location, in a
caterpillar (beltevogn), to Novo science station, 14km away. We were shown
our room....a room! a bed! VERY wide bed I thought! And a mirror. We forgot
to bring a mirror, so this was the first time I saw myself in a mirror for
the first time I almost 3 weeks. Can't say I have missed it, and I do not
think I have needed one. But it was a strange feeling nevertheless.

Lars mentioned that we should send out a quick blog entry, just to tell
people we were alive. And the day was not over.. At around 23 we got a
shower. Well, I should not call it that, because it was so much more than
that. We got a Russian "Banja". It's a sort of sauna, but it is much better!
It so much more damp and it was about 70 degrees. Very nice and clean. A
changing-room. They had towels and a robe to have on. Then a hat to protect
the head from the heat. Then we went into the washing room. It has bowls on
a bench and we had a wash before we got into the "parilka". Then there was
the "Venjik". Dry leave you could hit yourself with. It smelled of a nice
scent added to the damp. It was all really warm and damp and clean. Amazing!
I should have stayed there for hours. But the clock were close to 24. Really
tired. It was strange to think that we were in the heart for Dronning Maud
Land and that we woke up in a tent next to Holtanna that same morning.

We're back. To the luxury of modern life.



PS from Lars: Our flight back to Cape Town is still the evening of the 4th,
and we land in Oslo December 7th.



Ranveig [wed 01.12.2010 18:20 (norwegian time)]

Hallo! Jeg er så glad for å lese reisebeskrivelsene deres. Særlig fint å lese når jeg er syk og ligger i senga mi. Gleder meg til at dere kommer hjem!


Bill Jasper [fri 03.12.2010 04:15 (norwegian time)]

Thoroly enjoyed your reporting. Congratulations on completing a great adventure.



The research station and cave exploring

Posted by Lars Thu 02.12.2010 about 18:30 gmt


Waiting in Novo, to fly back to Cape Town on Saturday evening.



Today we got a guided tour of the russian research station. Can't really
describe it without adding a lot of pictures. Another time.



After lunch, the chef of the station, took us exploring ice caves/crevasses.
Again, this is really more a picture story. So here is another picture:







Penguins

Posted by Lars Fri 03.12.2010 about 18:45 gmt

I can't go to Antarctica for a second time without seeing penguins.



We were flying from Cape Town to Novo together with some guys from Extreme
World Races. It is the race the 2 Norwegians from Toten won 2 years ago
(aired on Norwegian TV/NRK. There was recently a re-run). 3 weeks ago we
helped them to get their iridium pc kit to work. They have some "cars" here,
as support vehicles for the race.



Today they drove us to the Indian research station and showed us a penguin
colony nearby. Yay!

Only one day left in Antarctica, for this time. The Ilyushin 76 is taking us
back to Cape Town tomorrow evening.



Per [fri 03.12.2010 19:55 (norwegian time)]

Yay, penguins!!!


nala [fri 03.12.2010 20:07 (norwegian time)]

I still want one of those for xmas, you know!


James [fri 03.12.2010 23:09 (norwegian time)]

I prefer turkey myself but a penguin for xmas would do too ;-)



Waiting to go home

Posted by Lars Sat 04.12.2010 about 16:00 gmt


We are sitting in the mess-tent at Novo Runway. We have been down at the
runway and loaded the Ilyushin with all our cargo/luggage. Now we are
waiting. It is scheduled to take off at 22:30 this evening. We will land
tomorrow morning around 06:00 local time in Cape Town.



Per [sat 04.12.2010 17:24 (norwegian time)]

Hooray!!!



Defrosting in Cape Town

Posted by Lars Sun 05.12.2010 about 16:45 gmt+2


We landed in Cape Town about 06 local time this morning. We went back to the hotel and slept for a couple of hours. Then we walked a bit around town and shopped for stuff like clean underwear and a t-shirt.



Now we are sitting by the hotel pool and are defrosting.



They even got wireless internet here, so we can try to catch up on our email.

Our flight back to Europe is leaving late tomorrow evening.


Per [sun 05.12.2010 17:05 (norwegian time)]

You look pale for some reason...


Merete [sun 05.12.2010 17:29 (norwegian time)]

ah! I can comment back! I am VERY VERY brown...in my face ;)


Bill Jasper [sun 05.12.2010 18:55 (norwegian time)]

Welcome back to civilization.


Bård H. [sun 05.12.2010 21:40 (norwegian time)]

You guys make a trip to Antarctica look like a wonderful summer vacation by the pool... Literally!


"mamma" [mon 06.12.2010 14:44 (norwegian time)]

Brun i fjeset --- good that you had defrosted ... welcome back to one more winter (:



Back in the real world

Posted by Lars Wed 08.12.2010 10:45 gmt+1


We are back in Oslo. The weather here is about the same as
in Antarctica. Good we have excellent clothes. But putting
on my jeans this morning, I discovered I've lost a lot of
weight. (As well as everyone commenting on it)

I'm currently at work sorting through a heap of emails.

Last day in Cape Town, we did some beach ball throwing in
front of Table Mountain. The trip back to Norway went well,
just a little delay out of Amsterdam.

We have a lot of pictures from the trip. Hope to sort through them
during the next couple of days and perhaps upload some of them.


"mamma" [wed 08.12.2010 14:48 (norwegian time)]

Welcome back to "Antartica no.2" ! Good you throw the ball ...



This web-page is made and maintained by Lars Nøring and Merete Asak for our expedition to Queen Maud Land between November 7th and December 7th 2010. You can reach us before/during/after the expedition at jokulkyrkjanoring.no. The banner is made by Anne Karen Stokke. The cartoon in the banner is Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Waterson