Day 14 was a tough one, which started with Tarka popping his head out of the tent -- as he was nearest the door -- and reporting that while the weather was still poor and the wind was still high, there was just enough visibility to make a go of it. We breakfasted in near-silence, neither of us much looking forward to what lay ahead, then set about taking the tent down and freeing our half-buried sleds.
It was a grotty day, and the wind swiveled 90 degrees from a headwind to a crosswind without dying down. The cloud came in again during our last hour and we pitched the tent in what was quickly becoming another full-blown storm.
At night it was so windy as we lay in our sleeping bags that we had to shout at each other to communicate and I struggled to sleep, even with earplugs. The gale hitting our tent and sleds, and the guy lines and straps anchoring them to the snow (sometimes, I think, like a tiny tick or flea clinging to the skin of some giant beast determined to fling it off) made a noise like a classic motorbike revving, not far from my head.
We woke to the same conditions and it was my turn to poke my head out to see if we could travel. There was no horizon or contrast, just thick whiteout, and only in the slight shadow of the tent could I see the blizzard flying past us.
We decided to stay put on half rations and go for it the following day, so I'm lying typing this after another day waiting for a slight break in the weather. The wait is frustrating but Tarka and I have had a good look at the maps, the plan and the number of days' food we have left, and we're feeling optimistic.
We've done the heaviest lifting, and we should begin to get faster. And as Tarka said today, "If it wasn't hard, it probably wouldn't be worth doing".
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