A little green sledge is my life support

I don’t want to keep banging on about the hardships up here and I will say that they’re far less than what real Polar explorers endured a hundred years ago and more.

The pressure of the environment, however, remains the same.
This little green sledge is my life support system.
Without all the kit - tent, stove, fuel, sleeping bag, down jacket and food - I wouldn’t survive up here for long.

My friend, the solo cave diver @Andy_Torbet, says of his sport that ‘you’re OK or you’re dead.’
There is a gap between OK and dead up here, but it’s not a big one.
If I were to stand still in the same clothes I was wearing when this photograph was taken the environment would’ve killed me.

Ironically, it’s by keeping cool that you find the most comfort - sweating  is an efficient way to discover hypothermia.
But cold management is not easy, especially where fingers and toes are concerned.

If your fingers get cold, you cannot put up a tent or, even worse, light a stove.
All these factors are controllable though.
And once you trust yourself enough to keep away from the sharp teeth of the cold then you can almost enjoy being here.

Skiing across the surface of the Arctic Ocean gives me the profound feeling that we are on a planet, and that alone is worth the toil.

Martin Hartley
Follow Martin on Instgram

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