We no longer feel our hands and our feet, but final measurement done!

Saturday, March 20-Ulla, -10, sustained wind.

This is our last day in the field.  We must concentrate our efforts on the latest radar measurements with the antenna low-frequency (deep profile) on Olafsbreen and Sorbreen.  Only two people are needed for this work.

Equipped with a VHF, I coach Johan for measurements on Olafsbreen.  Fast slalom between stones in a lava field, acceleration on the first ridge, we avoid the thick fresh snow and canyons.  Soon we arrive at the beginning of the mighty down slope we skied down last Wednesday.  The more we go, the wind is stronger.  We do not distinguish the top of Beerenberg in turmoil.

The snow plow is very violent and the radar does not work correctly.  It is imperative to solve the problem, we will have no further opportunity to return here. I do screen against the drift to protect electronic equipment while Johan, with bare hands, verifies the different software settings.  Nothing works.  We must call Anna to the radio.

Unfortunately Ulla is located in the radio shadow of the volcano over Olafsbreen.  The contact is in Swedish with the head of radio station Loran C.  The man from the station very carefully repeats the information in Norwegian to John  who has stayed in Ulla and translates the message into English for Anna. The journey of the answer is the same: 2 intermediates, 3 languages.  It takes several minutes to be understood and remaining motionless in the wind becomes unbearable for our hands and our feet that we no longer feel.  Between radio calls, we run around the scooters to warm our feet and we use the heat from the engine of the scooter to feel our fingers again.

After half an hour standing this infernal wind, we decide to go down with the parameters of the radar yet.  We do not distinguish the glacier surface and the visibility is less than 10 m. We decide to meet the deposit (at mid slope of Olafsbreen) and, then down on Sorbreen.

We head back to Ulla under the sun!

Looking up, the sun is there but in front of us: it is the white out.  We know that the upstream Sorbreen is divided into two slopes: one leads to deep crevasses, the other is safe.  But we see nothing and our GPS just died.  We decided to take a minute and miraculously a lull in the snow drift allowed us to aim just to the secure the slope of the glacier.  We are safe now!

As expected, it reigns over Sorbreen Olympian calm and visibility is perfect. We head back to Ulla under the sun.  After lunch, it was decided to retry the raid to Sorbreen with the large radar antenna.  Bravely, despite the fever, Anna puts it on.  Johan leaves with John for this final measurement.

We spend a relaxed evening, us 4 celebrating with music the success of the entire mission and enjoy our satisfaction in the blazing lights of the polar night.


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