Antarctica Countdown 8 Days and Counting: The Lunch Bunch

Let me begin by offering congratulations to three key folks in my life. First, a big wahoo goes out to Xander for scoring a goal in the top left corner from the point! Way seriously cool. Second, a big shout-out to Rayne for an awesome weekend at her swim meet. Her hard work in practice is paying off with improved times in most of her events and she is closing in on some “B” times. Third, a huge congrats goes out to Michelle Young ( a friend who has pulled tires up Signal Hill with me) for finished her first full Ironman in Arizona yesterday in stellar form. All three provide great inspiration to me as they work hard towards their goals! Yahoo to all three.

Marian and I made big progress last night with my food packing. There were lots of decisions to be made and we even turned to a spreadsheet to help. The aim was to come out of the process with 10 pounds of snack/lunch food that had just the right mix of sweet, salty, and sour flavours, that had a good mix of carbs, proteins, and fat, that could be eaten while frozen and that would seem appealing to eat at altitude. 10 pounds is 4540 grams. I can import meat or dairy to Chile so the first decision was to buy 908 grams of cheese and sausage/jerky in Chile once I arrive.

This left 3632 grams of yummies to be packed in YYT. We tried various combinations decided to end up with a split of 50 percent sweet, 5 percent sour, and 45 percent savoury.
We did some trial and error to get a sense of how the various weights of items looked in a bag as a serving. We started with the savoury items and decided to pack them separately since they all had very strong flavours such as honey mustard, BBQ, and salt and pepper and would likely overpower everything else if mixed in one “feed” bag. This resulted in nine salty bags to each be eaten over two days. Next we turned to the sweet and sour (and not so overpowering salty) and made decisions about how much of each to include in the final tally (you can see why the spreadsheet was handy).

Once the items were in the bowls, it was time to make up 17 different mixes of items-one for each lunch. One thing I’ve learned about mountain food is that I like variety. Each bag had one of the nut items, some form of chocolate, and some sour in various amounts. On Denali, after 32 days of snack food for lunches, I grew pretty tired of having the snack bag look the same every day so here I aimed to have lots of choice to fill various cravings. Each bad weighs 155 grams and it’s one per day.

Here is the final products of our efforts. You can see the savoury bags along the bottom, then my summit day items (clif shots, clif mojo bars, and clif bloks), my just in case I get stuck on the ice for Christmas item, my cough drops (hopefully not needed) and then the 17 mixed “feed” bags. So a lunch will consist of half a savoury bag, a full feed bag, and some cheese/sausage. Lunch will be taken in short breaks/snacks throughout the day. The calories in each collection will range from 1500-2200 calories or so depending on the mix. There are lots of fat calories in that they are calorie dense and have a good calorie to weight ratio and in the cold, it’s not a big deal to eat so much fat.

During a skype call last night with Rayne and Xander, I held up the bags and they noticed the large amount of candy in the bags. I explained how sometimes candy can be a good energy source. Xander wanted to know where the vegetables were…I said I wouldn’t be eating too many of those but I did have dried fruit in the mixes. They thought it sounded like a great idea to become polar explorers if it meant you got to eat candy for lunch.

The first RMI team has made it to the ice and I am following their expedition with close attention.  You can sign up for email alerts on the RMI website if you’d like to receive an email every time they/we post an update.  Those same updates will make it to my website once I am underway (Thanks Marian).  Dave Hahn will blog most days he is able from the climb.

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