Happy Belated Valentine’s Day to All,
I missed writing last week because doing three overnights with students in three weekends in a row challenged even my time management skills. Despite a winter of low snow (until this week where we have had two snow days), all three groups managed to build quinzhees to sleep in. Now with that intensive teaching component rapidly coming to a close (except for the grading which is piled up deep), my attention is turning to my next adventure.
Monday I laid out gear in the living room. This familiar ritual serves to both calm and excite me. Making decisions about which items “get the call” and which ones stay home is always a challenge but this time the decisions were fairly straightforward. The biggest decision was to take the minus thirty bag or the minus 40 bag. Even the streak of very cold days (and nights) in Iqaluit of late, I elected for the big fluffy minus forty “inferno” bag which hasn’t seen service since Everest.
Wednesday I finished the pile. Everything is there. I think. Today I will put the pile into a bag or bags depending on how it packs up. I fly to Ottawa tomorrow and will make a pilgrimage to Mountain Equipment Co-op and sleep in an old jail. Sunday I will meet many of the group in the airport for our 4.5 hour flight north to Iqaluit. Iqaluit will be the furthest north I have been at 63 degrees latitude (I’ve been to Yellowknife and Anchorage before this but both in summer.)
I’m filled with great eagerness for all the new skills and information I will learn and, of course, some trepidation about sleeping/living outside for 13 nights in the extreme cold. The first six days are a series of workshops related to everything polar expedition from clothing systems to ski systems to sleeping systems to polar bears and expedition sponsorship.
I had an intuitive hit yesterday that this course will be key in setting the direction/plan for the next year and beyond. I’ve been hanging out waiting for clarity about exactly how to lay out the road back to Everest and I’m hoping that the stark white world of the north and several long days of skiing will provide. The second half of the course is an expedition out from Iqaluit-first under Matty’s guidance and then on our own to put all of our new tools to work.
I’m not sure of what kind of Internet access I will have but do check my website in case I am able to provide updates. As always, it’s such a pleasure to have you along.
Catch ya from way north,