A Polar Night Blog

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    Day 18 13th December

    Rise time 2300 Scheduled bed time 1740

    0930 We depart the station in the dark, just as the word is beginning to turn blue, to climb Pikku-Malla. We begin with a 30 minute walk up the highway in our reflectors and headlamps, stopping only to make a recording of some strange whirring bird noises. The climb begins with shallow (ankle deep) snow along a ski track before crossing over my beloved river, which is as inky black as ever. As the climb progresses the snow gets deeper and deeper. At the point where I am crotch deep in snow I change places with Josh who forges Josh-sized footprints which I follow in.

    Near the turn off to the peak there was a flock of (rock?) ptarmagin, bobbing about in the snow. I think we had all been quite keen to see the sunlight skirting beneath the horizon, but the cloud cover and fog kept everything a very monochromatic pallet of black, white and paynes grey, which ends up being spectacularly beautiful in itself.

    At the top the wind is icey, so we stay long enough to admire the shapes of the windblown snow-ice and all the different crystal structures clinging to rocks, plants and track markers.The return climb and arrival back at the station takes us just over 5 hours, with the snow forging possibly adding a couple to what we had all expected to be more like 2.5.Given the high representation of artists (75%) and display of creative snow moving techniques employed, I believe that the day's mountain shambling fits more into the category of performance art than hiking....

    Three techniques for hiking in snow: the stomp, the panther-crawl and the straight up roll.