Man Ram in Antarctica - © International Polar Foundation

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Live from Antarctica: One Prinoth is down

Another day begins in Utsteinen. It is 2 30 in the morning mind you. The traverse team returns, quietly sneaking back into camp. They have left one Prinoth behind and come back with eight containers.

I turn over and sleep some more. Then, at 6 00, Alain starts the generator and in a flash all hope of sleep is lost.

The traverse team attempts to get some sleep but cannot hold out for long either.

We have to put together a rescue party for the limping Prinoth. It is sitting out on the ice 75km north from here with a jammed track no one can figure out.

Frank Vercouillie, Olivier Graselli and Jos Van Hemelrijck are ready to go shortly after breakfast. Emily and Geoffroy provide them with a gourmet lunch basket with red wine, and chocolate (what? they are Belgians you know!)

The team radios in from 500m away to tell me that all is fine. This is a good team - they will be sure to keep in touch. It's like when your kids leave home: you hope they will write, but not all do, not because they don't care, but because not everyone has the habit.

Work on the ridge is going faster than I can record it. Yesterday, I went up to take a few pictures but got held up doing some stuff with an electric drill around the basement of the tower. By the time it was done, my camera was so cold it refused to function, so no pictures of the roof beam progress are available.

They will be provided shortly. Patience.

However, in order to earn my keep, I will send you instead a scoop - the picture of the first Nepalese Sherpa in Antarctica, and if not in Antarctica, then in the Sor Rondanes.

I know that most of you are thrilling to the sight of this station that seems to be morphing into place at the speed of light. So are we, but I can tell you that it takes 14 hour days, without overtime, in the freezing cold. That is, except today, when it is really quite pleasant. Neumayer weather promised us snow and strong winds, but somehow it seems to have missed us and has probably got the Russians at Novo instead.

We have news for Prof. Shiraishi of the NIPR: their team of geologists will probably come through here on the 2nd of February. We are looking forward to the visit - we don't get many callers around here. The nearest neighbours are at 430km.

One expeditionary, having watched too many episodes of Prison Break on his i-Pod has been trying to devise an escape plan from the Utsteinen Gulag, but has come up against too many logistical issues. Hah! Nobody escapes before we finish the station....

44 containers left at Crown Bay. 6 traverses left to go. The heat is on.

Author: IPF

Picture: Man Ram in Antarctica - © International Polar Foundation

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