there is a strength in numbers in a climbing team, if not too many. Ot might sound strange but most important for each climber is to be ‘selfish’. You have to take care of yourself or you will be a liability to the team. If you are warm, well replenished and safe you will be helping the team to be stronger. But you can’t be strong all the time, and that’s when you need to be able to receive help.
I had two days to miraculously recover from my airway infection. Then the southpole team arrived and we had to move up the mountain carrying backpacks and pulling sleds with gear. I was about half as strong as usual, and had the brand new experience of being the weakest person. It is humbling. As I brought a low mark it hopefully made the others feel stronger, and it’s nice being able to help out. I gratefully carried less group gear as we hiked into a whiteout of snow and wind. There were no contours, just white. Legend Vern Terjas says he haven’t seen this much snow in antarctica in his 35 times here. There were 5 avalanches within one hour down the mountainside. We covered our faces against the snow.
I had to use all my mental tricks to mamage the hike. I looked down into Verns sled ahead of me, not trying to see how far we’d gone. I repeated the words ‘strong’ and ‘light’ for each step. I thought of all people at home and elsewhere who I know is cheering me on and thought ‘I do this for you’. And made it to camp 1. In all honesty I didn’t enjoy it a single bit. That’s also a first in the mountains. Without health we don’t have much. Here is a colder camp as the sun goes behind the mountain ahead, so we live by the sun. We wake up at noon for breakfast!
And we have a day to rest and recover even more, and hopefully moving up the steep wall with fixed line, up a rigde to high camp tomorrow.