Day 24: Speed and
Melt of Glacier
in the mountain hut was wonderful. Really special. No heating. Grubby
cutlery. Damp-ish beds, some covered in plastic that creaked like a giant
crisp packet. But - hut full of happy people, cups of tea and fantastic
food. We munched our way through fab salami, watercress pesto, beef casserole
All sleepy by 9 …
but … to get to the ‘dunny” (toilet) you need to walk
20 m across snow. We're not allowed to use it without Chris accompanying
us … it's too risky. There are gentle slopes everywhere that
dip into steep death-bringing slopes. So - a toilet trip in the night
involves putting on spiked boots, taking ice axe, waking up Chris, putting
on clothes, walking 20 m, sitting on smelly box … then returning
(not necessarily in that order!). Quite an incentive NOT to go to loo
in night! Mike L - the man with vertigo - went off to loo without Chris.
His torch was too weak to pick out the loo - and he walked wrong way.
He stopped walking when he noticed a slope downhill (which probably means
he was close to a v. Dangerous point - if he could feel it). Just proved
how dangerous a place it is!
morning - making ice lenses and soaking up views and scrambled eggs. At
12ish a helicopter came to take us to resume our flag positions. Still
exciting to be by the glacier, even on Day 2. You occasionally hear it
creaking and hear and even see rocks falling down from one path of terrain
to another. Or hear a distant (one hopes!) avalanche. You just feel the
glacier's power. It looks so still, but you can sense that it's
grinding its way down the mountain. We took our measurements - and found
the flag had moved around a metre (1.3 according to the trigometry). It's
insane to try to measure movement in one day - we need to do this for
months or years even. And using one reading is insane too. It's
so unscientific. But we had no more time to make any more readings.
Chris let me come
along to take the flag out even though my boots were just walking boots.
So much fun on the ice! The others were there by the time we got back
… Kate had an envelope with the ‘results' in …
is 0.5 to 1 m a day. Rats! Given the fact we were working at it only for
one day, and that the movement is an average (it speeds up and slows down),
we were delighted with how close we were. And Mike B's ‘handwarmers'
were GREAT … they got so hot, they melted the plastic wrapping (or
exploded it) and singed our fingers. RESULT!!!
What a fantastic 3