Antarctic winterers’ training

(Story)

As part of our preparation for the 18 month Antarctic mission, the wintering teams of Bird Island, Halley, King Edward Point and Rothera stations of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) had a week long outdoor training in Derbyshire, UK. However the sessions focused on more or less the same outdoor skills that are used by mountaineers, these were all placed in the very special context of the Antarctic environment, which made the whole training different from those I had before, and so assumed it might be interesting for you too. Please consider that this post is a story and not an advice, the descriptions are neither detailed nor accurate enough to be used as a training material.

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Norfolk Coast run-hike

(Story)

I really enjoy experimenting with the daily distance I am capable of maintaining on a multi-day tour no matter if its walking, cycling or running. It is partly the usual curiosity of my limits, but also a preparation for a real, weeks or months long tour that I might have opportunity in the future to do. I’ve done several long distance weekend hikes, and last year I crossed both the Swiss Alps and Jura by bike, but the multi-day running was an itch that I couldn’t scratch so far. So given my first weekend alone in Cambridge I decided to do a careful test on the Norfolk Coastal Path.

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Ballad Oberaar

Oberaar is a mountain area in the Obergoms region, Vallais canton of Switzerland. Surrounded by 4000ers, spotted by ponds, crossed by glaciers and rivers, covered by grass, ice and stones, it is everything that is considered Alpine. Our team of four – the mother-of-four programmer Zsuzsi, the agricultural scientist Bori, my dear biologist girlfriend Kata and myself – decided to enter this area to make an attempt on the Finsteraarhorn (2478 m). Our base was the affordable and super welcoming Sporthotel of Obergoms in the heart of the Swiss Alps within an hour of the Grimselpass, Furkapass and half of the high-mountain ranges of Switzerland. Although the peak left unclimbed this time, the two days we spent in the wilderness of Obergoms was spectacular, tiring and dangerous, especially the 17 hours walk of the first day that gave the idea for this ballad.

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Nature by a scientist’s eyes

(Thought)

Going out to the nature can mean a lot of different things. It is an adventure for one, and a relaxation for the other. It can be an opportunity to meet others or to be alone a while. It is also fun to know what it means to others, which can be shared through conversations or by photos. So I was glad my girlfried took hundreds of pictures on the hiking tour I guided to the Watzmann ridge, because that way I could see the tour, during which I was too busy looking after our team of 20, through the eyes of a biologist. It’s quite a special angle of view I can assure you.

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The mountain will be there

(Thought)

“Because it’s there.” This was the answer of George Mallory for the question why climb the Everest. These words became the motto of generations of mountaineers. But there are some words I find just as important as those motivating ones, words that saved and will save many lives, words that everybody should keep in mind when facing a difficult decision on the mountain: “it will be there”.

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My Grand Cycling Tour – Simplon

It is the season of the road cycling Grand Tours. Hundreds of the world’s best cyclists compare their strength and endurance day after day making huge distances and climbing great mountains. Their inspiring performance should not only pin you in front of the TV but also make you follow their example and make your own Grand Cycling Tour. Here is the story of my Grand Tour in Switzerland. The first part was about the Alps, followed by the Jura and the Lake Geneva, and now the final episode comes with the crossing of the 2005 m (6578 ft) high Simplon pass to Italy.

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My Grand Cycling Tour: Jura

It is the season of the road cycling Grand Tours. Hundreds of the world’s best cyclists compare their strength and endurance day after day making huge distances and climbing great mountains. Their inspiring performance should not only pin you in front of the TV but also make you follow their example and make your own Grand Cycling Tour. Here is the story of my Grand Tour in Switzerland. The first part was about the Alps, now it is followed by the Jura and the Lake Geneva, the final episode will be the crossing of the 2005 m (6578 ft) high Simplon pass to Italy.

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Off to Antarctica

I wanted to write you the story of an amazing cycling tour in the Swiss Alps that I made not long ago, but I really couldn’t focus on it after I received that mail from the British Antarctic Survey: “We would like to offer you the position of Electronics Engineer for a Halley Winter.” Okay, but who cares about me spending 18 months on that frozen continent apart from my family and girlfriend? Well, since I consider it the second best thing after going to space, it might be interesting for some others too, but I wouldn’t really write about myself, not even about Antarctica yet, there will be plenty of time. I would rather write about what lead to this. How the impossible might happen.

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