(By Correne Coetzer) Preparation and attention to detail set out on spreadsheets are important aspects of Christians planning. The Norwegian set off from Hercules Inlet on December 20.
Before he left for Antarctica Christian Eide told ExWebs Correne Coetzer why he is going, about his game plan, the planned days on the ice, where he gets his energy from, about going solo for the first time, his physical preparations, gear and food, and Amundsen vs. his expedition. Here goes.
ExplorersWeb: You are going to climb Vinson, ski a Last Degree and then ski All the Way from Hercules Inlet. Where do you get energy to do all these activities in one season?
Christian: They call me Duracell so I guess Ill bring an extra battery...
ExplorersWeb: What is your game plan for your attempt?
Christian: Long days with skies on, strict regime and focus on weight. I have previously participated on many different expeditions and also skied to the South Pole in 2008-09. Hopefully I have picked up some tricks enabling me to cut some corners and use the time more efficiently. I am however very curious how it will be skiing on my own for about a month. I have only been sleeping in a tent alone once before and that was close to Oslo.
ExplorersWeb: It is known that you have lots of fun and laughter with your teams, for example the team that you have lead from the Messner Start in 2008-09 when you did an average of 36.87 km over 25 days. A group full of fun and laughter adds a positive energy and more energy to ski faster. As you say you are on your own now. How will you make your solo fun for yourself? Won't you miss the energy of a group?
Christian: I will bring a mirror that should take care of the laughter. Hopefully it will not be a problem to keep the mood and energy. If I get a dip - I just think about all my friends who sit in front of the computer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, 47 weeks a year. I am definitely not made for that!
ExplorersWeb: You take food for only 33 days for the 1130 km (distance as the crow flies) which means you have to average more than 34 km or 18.5 nautical miles per day. How do you physically prepare to be able do these distances?
Christian: Well, the food for the 33 days could be stretched to 36 days. My main target is to beat the solo record. Todd Carmichael did not set the record in an elegant polar way (beating Hannah with some seconds, arriving half dead and with only your boots left. Also, littering the path with everything else is not the way to go and should not stand as a standard.
I have been lucky and have crossed Greenland twice this year, climbed the highest mountain in Greenland, GunnbjĂ¸rns fjeld, climbed Carstensz Pyramid, and trekked in Greenland with Latitude earlier this year.
Otherwise, I have pulled tires for many, many miles and hours, lifted weights at the gym and put on 10 kg (makes me feel a bit fat and unfit right now). Hopefully the extra fat will isolate well and continue to stay on my body till I reach the pole.
There is a lot of (fresh) snow this season in Antarctica, so I believe it will be a hard trip how so ever.
ExplorersWeb: What sled will you use - you had a light and fast sled system on Greenland, the little red sled with kids skis on. Will it be the same?
Christian: Together Acapulka and Latitude have developed a superlight and strong carbon sledge, 2.1 m long and weighs just a few kg. We are using special runners to reduce the friction. The ratio lightest longest strongest best gliding sledge that has ever been made?
The Paris-pulk with the kid-skies is home in Norway, its too short. A long sledge is favorable, as it will stay on top of the sastrugi instead of dipping into them all the time. It was hard to leave the kid skis home, but I had to.
ExplorersWeb: What skies and bindings are you using?
Christian: Light skies (Ă snes Holmenkollen), and cross country boots (Alfa TX30) with bindings. It works perfect on Greenland, and should do so in Antarctica as well.
ExplorersWeb: Food is important to fuel yourself, tell us about your menu please. Do you take special treats?
Christian: No, special treats. Oatmeal and cereal for breakfast, chocolate, Christmas cake, nuts, noodles, dry meat and fish for lunch and freeze dried food for dinner. When the body has to perform like a race car for a month it is important that it is set up in a way that secures me the optimal ratio fat, carbohydrates and proteins.
[Ed note: Christians sled with his food, fuel and gear weighs 62 kg and his back pack 12 kg. Inside his backpack he carries his satellite phone, an emergency beacon, food, water, a little fuel, a stove and GPS.]
ExplorersWeb: You have a lot of admiration for Amundsen. How much does he and the way he did his South Pole expedition play a role in your preparation and expedition?
Christian: Nothing in particular. Things have changed a lot since he reached the South Pole. However we are both utilizing the newest technology with regards to equipment and modifying this to suit our extreme demands. The keys to success are still the same staying fit, preparations are 80%, have one goal, stay focused on the plan. Amundsen was a rotten photographer, so I hope to beat him in that field...
ExplorersWeb: Anything else?
Despite the fact that I am all alone I want to share my experiences, daily routines and joys and sorrows with the readers of ExplorersWeb. I have a blog that will be updated daily on www.latitude.no Right now I am not into anythings - I am only into everythings - so wish me luck.
On December 20 Christian Eide set off on a solo speed attempt along the classic Hercules Inlet route on Antarctica in relatively good weather. He said on his daily updates he was eager to go but somehow his sled was not as eager. Christian has a ski schedule of 50 minute marches with 10 minutes breaks in between. He started at 7h30 and made camp at 18h00.
Christian Eide is born in 1975 and lives in Oslo Norway. He has a Masters degree in Engineering, is an expedition leader and owner of an adventure company, Latitude AS.
Apart from his 9 Greenland crossings and other ice field expeditions he was leader of a record breaking Norwegian South Pole expedition who skied from the Messner (Ronne-Filchner Ice shelf) Start in 24 days 8 hours and 50 minute and averaged a very fast 36.87 km/day.
Christian has also climbed mountains: Denali/ Mt McKinley, Mt Vinson, Cho Oyu (no oxygen, no Sherpa), Kilimanjaro x 6, Elbrus x 2, Huscaran, Aconcagua via Polish Glacier, Carstensz Pyramid, Pequeno Alpahamyo, Condorriri, Anchohuma, and more.
During this current Antarctic season Christian Eide has climbed Mount Vinson (summit December 8) and skied the Last degree to the South Pole (arrival December 15).
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