March 15, 2005 Russian Version

Last few days it was very difficult to move. We reached foothills. There is a lot of snow here. Sledges sink down 10 to 15cm into snow. We are following each other (going one by one) and changing the order every 30 minutes. One day some wind brew in the morning, so we wanted to use the parasails. However the wind was too weak and there were heavy sledges to haul on the thick snow. We had to give up the idea.

Caravan on the way

We reached a mountain foot. Visibility is almost zero. We decided to make a camp and look around next morning. It is very important not to mistake the way; we can wander into huge catacombs! Polar mountains are something very special. Altitudes are less then 1000m, but peaks look like the 7000m ones.

Exploring (Looking around)

There are steep slopes and a lot of snow and ice. The ice is especially dangerous. It has a lot of colors and tints. It can be at the same time very beautiful and very dangerous.

Night photos

A lot of fissures and huge sizes

We explored our way very well, but the way is difficult and dangerous. On the right side is a big glacier: centuries-old ice covered with snow and on the surface a lot of fissures are showing. On the left side was a mountain slope which was too steep to enter with sledges. We might have to go up and down a few times with our properties.

Blind alley
On the right side is a centuries-old glacier 20m in height; on the left side is a steep slope of mountain.

It was a typical mountain landscape with many ascents and descents. We need special equipment, but we don't have it. In case the sledge or somebody from the team will slip and fall, special equipment is needed to rescue them back. With sledges we can move safely at a slope of 10 degrees or less. But in front of us it was a slope of 30 to 35 degrees. If sledges lose connection and slip, we will not have enough power to hold them. To move on glaciers in the spring is also dangerous because during the day time sun makes the ice friable and easy to break into fissures.

Slope of 30 to 35 degrees.

Several days back we were progressing at a quite difficult place: a shelf of 20m altitude. It was very difficult to move sledges down without special equipment. We looked at the slope and find only one (!) almost safe place. But we were lucky it was a down slope and everything went well. If we have had a same situation with moving up, we would have had to move few times roundabout way and lift up our properties little by little.

In the evening we discussed what to do. We decided to slightly change our route: go around the mountains and continue to move south. We thought that if we move further down south, probably there will be more favorable wind and firm snow where we can use the parasails. In that case our progression will be much faster.

It is very nice to drink some tea before get going!

Stepan Gvozdev    

February 2005
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March 2005
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April 2005
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May 2005
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June 2005
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