Finding a Team
Most of the competitors met for the first time up in Tamworth this month at the Snowdome (indoor simulated snow area ). First impressions were fine. Everyone whether individuals or part of the team seemed really friendly . We were taught to use the gps. This is an amazing tool. Never again would I ever get lost on a mountain (or so I thought ! ). Like most car navigation systems , it can tell you exactly where you are usually in terms of latitude, longitude and altitude or ordnance survey grid references. It took a bit of getting used to. My "satellites weren't engaging". This problem shouldn't occur out in the Arctic as there shouldn't be anything between me and the sky but one thing we have to watch out is battery life. Batteries typically lose their power in the cold so I will have to to keep it tucked down my chest along with all the other equipment I'll need to keep warm eg chocolate, ipod , camera , other batteries !!
Thom, another indiviual applicant kindly took me out to Richmond Park to practice using this new gadget. It's great fun and amazingly accurate. Can't wait to get out and start practising in the Lakes. (Mum and Dad live in a village called Edenhall , 3 miles from Penrith near the in the Lake District , perfect for training.)
Learning to Navigate
Many of the competitors have applied as ready-made teams. I have applied as an "individual". This means I am on the look out for other "individuals" who I can team up. Equally the other individuals are on the look out for their team. Will I fit the bill , will they fit mine ? I guess I would like to be with team members who are of similar fitness to myself, not too slow, not too fast etc. But camaraderie is also key. Will they re-act calmly in emergency situations, will they keep motivated for the most part with general good humour; Are they determined to finish but will not put safety before finishing. I have to ask this of myself too ? It is likely we will all be suffering at times but how will we all re-act to such enduring hardship ?
On Skis at Snow Dome
We also got to test out the feel of cross country ski-ing at the Snowdome. I once spent a day cross country ski-ing in Antarctica and found it fairly challenging , quite different to down hill ski-ing where I'm more experienced.
This time at the Snowdome I took to it easily and didn't fall flat on my a* but the track was flat , unlike the undulating terrain we will no doubt encounter in the Arctic.
Me getting the feel of skis and sledge ( I know , empty but later did try pulling Sarah one of the staff who was 60kg
Gabrielle Finn - Polar Challenge 2007