Warm feet!

Yesterday’s wind let up enough for us to continue and after a short stint of skiing we arrived at the depot. Here we are enjoying such luxuries as home-made cakes from Vegard’s daughters in Maridalen, and ice cream (!) from Chile. Our Primus stove is running on overtime and we’re relaxing.
Stein P. Aasheim and Harald Dag Jølle inside the tentA moment of luxury in the tent. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

“Incredible! Not the hint of a blister after 14 days on skis.” Vegard wiggles his toes over the Primus. “Very good boots!”

Yes, we must admit it: we have been very cold. A couple hints of frostbite; one lip and one cheek that have felt the touch of cold and wind. But our feet have been warm all the time. And that is not something to take for granted.

“Footgear is the most important thing of all,” wrote Amundsen as he checked through the equipment lists for his expedition. You pack up your feet in the morning and don’t see them again until evening. Your fingers are easier to get at – and to pound life into. But where your feet are concerned, you have to trust your sense of feeling: “But your sense of feeling can often play dirty tricks.” Are your toes warm again, or is it your feet that have frozen?

Finding soft, warm shoes was no problem, according to Amundsen, but how do you make sure they are good for skiing? He had the cobbler custom-make moccasin-soled boots out of a combination of leather and canvas. The measurements had been taken from his own foot – “which isn’t exactly child-sized” – clad in two reindeer-leather socks. Amundsen was almost embarrassed when he saw the monstrous boots on display at one of Kristiania’s shoe-shops. But they worked.

Our boots do too. Alfa has managed to design a ski-boot for use in polar regions, with BC bindings. They live up to Amundsen’s specifications: pliant, yet stiff enough to ensure good communication between ski and skier. Our boots allow adequate space for proper woolen felt liners from Karasjok: they are not exactly child-sized either, but they’re warm enough for Antarctica!

Position: S 82 30.445, W 166 00.450
Temperature: -11°C
Wind: 10–12 m/s from the south
Distance traversed: 21 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 243 km