EX ICE DIAMOND
Norway – Hardangervidda
9 February – 4 March 2017
The Ice Maidens headed to a new area of Norway for their final three-week training expedition, arriving in Ustaoset on the edge of the Hardangervidda National Park on 9 February 2017. This expedition was their dress rehearsal for Antarctica, allowing the women to consolidate as a team, test kit and refine drills and routines so that they’re razor sharp for the journey to the Pole in November.
A vital part of the training was getting used to monotony – skiing for 10 hours a day one-behind-the-other, unable to communicate except during a quick 5-minute refreshment break every hour. This routine was exactly the same for 21 days, and without iPods or any other source of entertainment, the team got used to spending a lot of time in their own heads!
Carrying almost the full expedition weight in their pulks, the team hauled over 20kg of food each, as well as fuel, tents, stoves, sleeping bags, ropes and all of their personal clothing and equipment. The increase in weight was felt on the hills of the Hardangervidda, providing vital preparation for the climb through the Transantarctic Mountains and up the Leverett Glacier. In total the team covered 463km in 21 days, climbing a total of 6,700m in ascent and skiing up to 30km per day.
Although temperatures ranging from 0 to -15 degrees Celsius were not quite what the team had hoped for, there were plenty of days of zero visibility where it was impossible to tell whether they were skiing up or downhill, which made for some testing navigation. Strong winds enabled the team to practice putting up and taking down tents under similar conditions to Antarctica, and the wind chill was a good test for clothing and equipment.
Fuelling 10 hours of weight-bearing skiing is a challenge in its own right and rather than the usual practice of eating for health or enjoyment, the team learned the importance of food as fuel. They had to consume 5000kcals every day, and for the first time in their lives, eating became a chore.
Finishing the expedition in style, they skied through Geilo’s downhill ski resort with their pulks and dropped into the slalom course as they passed!
Training continues throughout the summer with regular training weekends to practice the vital crevasse rescue ropework, navigation and endurance while they wait for the Antarctic summer to arrive.
BUILD ON SKILLS LEARNT ON EX ICE READY
PRACTICE SKI TOURING IN A REMOTE LOCATION FOR AN EXTENDED PERIOD
BECOME ACCUSTOMED TO DAILY ROUTINE
SELECT THE FINAL FIVE CANDIDATES TO PROCEED TO EX ICE MAIDEN