Iceland 2.0 Training Expedition, February 2018

If you head from the coast of Iceland into the interior the road stops at a place called Hraunheyjar. We arrived to find it almost buried in snow, with more building up by the hour. Perfect training but a little daunting. It has been a year since the team has physically been together in one place and some 18 months since our last cold-weather training expedition - so everyone admits that they are worried they don't remember everything that was learned last time around....but for now, as Steph (Cyprus) explains, just finding our sledges is the issue....

 

Blizzard!

It was a stormy start to our expedition which made for great training. As soon as we began putting up the tents and skiing together in two lines, everything we had experienced during our first Iceland Training Expedition began to come back to us. Despite clearing in the afternoon, the weather soon returned with a vengence....winds at speeds of 30m/s started to hit the tents. It's very noisy inside the tents in a storm so no-one got much sleep! Here's a video from Susan (France) of the team hunkering down to sit out the storm.....(in French)....

Making Tracks

The main aim of our training expedition was for the team to practice travelling together as a group and to practice putting up tents in our tents groups of three or four people. We have to be really good at this because during the North Pole expedition it may be difficult to communicate with each other. Our faces will be covered in protective layers and there might be wind howling or short distances between us that nevertheless make it hard to shout to one another. So we need to be able to put up our tents without much discussion. We also need a few basic hand signals to use while we are skiing. We practiced all this while skiing through beautiful snow-covered lava fields. The twisted rock formations made it difficult to navigate, forcing the person leading to carefully pick a route. We will have to do this on the sea ice of the Arctic, finding a route through obstacles such as large heaps of ice rubble or cracks in the ice that reveal open water. It might mean hardly ever walking in a straight line and sometimes even doubling back on ourselves - very frustrating. But today, it was just a pleasure to be moving through such unique scenery.