3 Feb_2

Day 29, 3 Feb 2016

Great progress day!

Woke to good weather day. At last!
Started skiing up a steep hill at 0730 and located (our previously cached) sleds tied to the stone within 1/2 hour.
We easily circumnavigated all the previously unseen obstacles and within 200 metres came upon a tent, where 2 people had stopped because of bad weather. Within another 20 minutes we came upon the 2 Norwegians with the dogs (they had departed yesterday) who were just packing their tent up.
We pressed on hard to take advantage of the good visibility. The steep ascents combined with huge patches of deep soft snow made for hard work. As we ascended, the snow hardened and we pushed as fast as we could. We gave a wide berth to an avalanche prone area and soon reached a flatter plain where we put on “half skins” (kickers) to give us more glide, compared with full skins.
The wind increased to 15mph, which was straight in our face, making progress slow and hard.
Imagine our surprise when we saw 3 skiers coming towards us. The only unaccounted for people. They had made no progress in the storms and we’re coming back, deciding not to stick to their original plan of going to Rjukan.
Snow started to fall and visibility disappeared for about an hour, but thankfully this cleared.
We had a downhill run to the cabin at Hellavvasbu and quickly fired up the stove with some wood from the storeroom. As part of our daily routine, and especially in these conditions, we must prepare water etc in case either of the other 2 Norwegian pairs arrive in the dark.
A really hard 8 hour day, but incredibly satisfying to reach the cabin in such difficult conditions. Seeing what happened to everyone who ventured out when the storms were approaching makes us feel we made the right decision, despite it being very frustrating at the time.
The body is glowing and the hot chocolate tasting wonderful!