<![CDATA[Level 1 Polar Training - Day 7]]> http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262294 <img src='http://www.x-journal.com/member/ericlars/images/b158_562273_scale.jpg'><br />Our last morning on the ice. Of course, while I'm excited to be heading home to see Maria and the kids, I can't help but feel a little sad about nearing the conclusion of another Level 1 Polar Training Course on Lake Winnipeg.<br /> <br /> It's fun for me to share my knowledge and teach others about the subtle nuances of polar travel. Equally rewarding is to see the process of each student going from complete novice (often, but not all) to very competent and comfortable in such an extreme environment. There are so many details to understand and apply to be safe out here and I worry that students will grasp not be able these concepts. Yet they do (it's not rocket science after all). There is still more to learn, obviously, but from here on out, I feel confident in sending each person off on their own adventure. In fact, one of my students from last year is en route to Winnipeg as I write this to complete his own solo expedition in the North Basin a part of the lake that dwarfs the southern bays in which we travel. Good luck Brad!<br /> <br /> This year, we had very cold windchills - in the minus 40's setting up camp was brutal. It was nearly a white out as well as we skied west toward the middle of the lake.<br /> <br /> The wind dropped as we melted snow for breakfast and packed up camp. By the time we were skiing it was down to a light breeze at our backs. The surface had hardened considerably and we were able to ski along at a relatively fast pace with minimal effort. I reflected on how big an impact fresh snow has on this type of travel. It doesn't take much blowing or new snow to adversely affect your forward progress. While I've always known this, I was reminded of it with the stark reality of not being able to make enough miles in Antarctica nearly two months ago now.<br /> <br /> With the wind at our back we took leisurely breaks and even stopped for a few extra photo ops and a drone flight. We kept a steady pace and were able to cover our greatest distance of the trip. We all remarked how comfortable it was to set up camp on a calm but cold Lake Winnipeg. Everyone had been tested - more than they expected, but all were impressed with their newfound abilities to stay comfortable no matter the conditions.<br /> <br /> I was worn out with the effort and solitude after Antarctica, but feel reinvigorated after my time here on Winnipeg. In our normal every day life, we go from here to there seemingly every second, but the opportunity to slow down... To be a small figure in a huge landscape... To travel across big spaces in a deliberate and purposeful manner is a unique and special opportunity in today's world. I look forward to coming back and rediscovering the cold next year with a new group of future polar adventures.<br /> <br /> Luckily, summer will be short lived.<br /> <br /> So do yourself a favor and always remember that, 'It's Cool to be Cold' and 'Think Snow'!<br /> <br /> Image: Me and my shadow times six.<br /> <br /> --000000000000760fd005817cadec Content-Type: text/html; charset=&quot;UTF-8&quot; Content-Transfer-Encoding: quoted-printable<br /> <br /> &lt;div dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;ltr&quot; class=&quot;gmail_signature&quot; data-smartmail=&quot;gmail_signature&quot;&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;ltr&quot;&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;auto&quot; style=&quot;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69)&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0);font-size:1rem&quot;&gt;[s]&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:1rem;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69);background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0)&quot;&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;auto&quot;&gt;[c1]p:50 43.6771N:96 28.9122W&lt;/div&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;auto&quot; style=&quot;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69)&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0);font-size:1rem&quot;&gt;[t]Level 1 Polar Training - Day 7&lt;br&gt;[l]Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba &lt;br&gt;[a]Eric Larsen&lt;br&gt;[b]Our last morning on the ice. Of course, while I&amp;#39;m excited to be heading home to see Maria and the kids, I can&amp;#39;t help but feel a little sad about nearing the conclusion of another Level 1 Polar Training Course on Lake Winnipeg. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div dir=&quot;auto&quot; style=&quot;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69)&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0);font-size:1rem&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0)&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:1rem;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;It&amp;#39;s fun for me to share my knowledge and teach others about the subtle nuances of polar travel. Equally rewarding is to see the process of each student going from complete novice (often, but not all) to very &lt;/span&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;competent and comfortable in such an extreme environment. There are so many details to understand and apply to be safe out here and I worry that students will grasp not be able these concepts. Yet they do (it&amp;#39;s not rocket science after all). There is still more to learn, obviously, but from here on out, I feel confident in sending each person off on their own adventure. In fact, one of my students from last year is en route to Winnipeg as I write this to complete his own solo expedition in the North Basin a part of the lake that dwarfs the southern bays in which we travel. Good luck Brad! &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0)&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69);background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0)&quot;&gt;This year, we had very cold windchills - in the minus 40&amp;#39;s setting up camp was brutal. It was nearly a white out as well as we skied west toward the middle of the lake. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69);background-color:rgba(255,255,255,0)&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;The wind dropped as we melted snow for breakfast and packed up camp. By the time we were skiing it was down to a light breeze at our backs. The surface had hardened considerably and we were able to ski along at a relatively fast pace with minimal effort. I reflected on how big an impact fresh snow has on this type of travel. It doesn&amp;#39;t take much blowing or new snow to adversely affect your forward progress. While I&amp;#39;ve always known this, I was reminded of it with the stark reality of not being able to make enough miles in Antarctica nearly two months ago now. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;With the wind at our back we took leisurely breaks and even stopped for a few extra photo ops and a drone flight. We kept a steady pace and were able to cover our greatest distance of the trip. We all remarked how comfortable it was to set up camp on a calm but cold Lake Winnipeg. Everyone had been tested - more than they expected, but all were impressed with their newfound abilities to stay comfortable no matter the conditions. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;I was worn out with the effort and solitude after Antarctica, but feel reinvigorated after my time here on Winnipeg. In our normal every day life, we go from here to there seemingly every second, but the opportunity to slow down... To be a small figure in a huge landscape... To travel across big spaces in a deliberate and purposeful manner is a unique and special opportunity in today&amp;#39;s world. I look forward to coming back and rediscovering the cold next year with a new group of future polar adventures. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;Luckily, summer will be short lived. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69)&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px;color:rgb(69,69,69)&quot;&gt;So do yourself a favor and always remember that, &amp;#39;It&amp;#39;s Cool to be Cold&amp;#39; and &amp;#39;Think Snow&amp;#39;! &lt;/span&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;&lt;br&gt;&lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;div style=&quot;&quot;&gt;&lt;font color=&quot;#454545&quot;&gt;&lt;span style=&quot;font-size:16px;word-spacing:1px&quot;&gt;Image: Me and my shadow times six. &lt;/span&gt;&lt;/font&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;/div&gt;&lt;/div&gt;<br /> <br /> --000000000000760fd005817cadec--&nbsp;(<a href='http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262294'>View Post...</a>) Eric Larsen Sat, 09 Feb 2019 15:27:03 -0600 http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262294 50.728 -96.4819 <![CDATA[Level 1 Polar Training - Day 6]]> http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262293 <img src='http://www.x-journal.com/member/ericlars/images/b158_354866_scale.jpg'><br />Unbeknownst to us there was an â??extreme cold warningâ?? while we were traveling yesterday. Windchills dropped the temperature to 40 below. For our part, we actually managed to stay quite comfortable while skiing, if not even a little warm.<br /> <br /> Of course, there are always times during the day when the cold starts seeping in. We are working fairly hard skiing and pulling sleds so, while moving, our bodies generate a lot of heat. Consequently, we donâ??t wear a lot of clothes so as to not sweat while skiing as well. (Sweating is a dangerous adversary in this type of travel.) When we stop, however, we cool off very quickly and we have to don big down jackets at every break.<br /> <br /> The goal is to minimize the peaks and troughs of our body temperature and keep a steady equilibrium, but an extended break, a repair on a ski, extra time navigating means that we can quickly feel the cold seeping in- especially with a 40 below windchill.<br /> <br /> We skiied North directly into the wind then veered east to circle around the North end of Elk Island. Last year, we heard a wolf pack howling while camped near the southern shore. We wound in and around some smaller pressures slabs then set up camp.<br /> <br /> One of the unique aspects of this course is its focus on self reliance. Just a week ago, this group of polar newbies had almost no winter camping experience. Today, we are safely and efficiently traveling and setting up camp in extremely dangerous conditions. In our â??otherâ?? lives there are so many layers that separate our actions from our well being. But here everything that we do has a direct consequence- positive or negative and it feels good to watch everyone slowly master these skills.&nbsp;(<a href='http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262293'>View Post...</a>) Eric Larsen Fri, 08 Feb 2019 09:05:03 -0600 http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262293 50.728 -96.4819 <![CDATA[Level 1 Polar Training - Day 5]]> http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262292 The wind picked up steadily throughout the night and the temperature warmed up slightly to -4 Fahrenheit. The clouds cleared as well and for most of the day, we skied through clear skies and a sun that we could almost feel the heat from.<br /> <br /> Itâ??s definitely polar like here. As we skied across the frozen surface, wind sculpted drifts reminded me of my recent trip to Antarctica. But itâ??s colder here than Antarctica if you can believe that, and dark during the night. Itâ??s also more humid here and all of these factors mean that actual physical camping is much more difficult here than at the South Pole. Each morning, we stick an arm out of our warm sleeping bags and brush a thick layer of frost off the tent walls. Iâ??m not going to lie, itâ??s not that much fun. But like so many other things out here itâ??s temporary and soon we will be out and skiing and perfectly comfortable.<br /> <br /> The group: Gus, Dave, Dave, Nathan, Bruno and Felipe are all doing incredibly well. Yesterday, we skiied Northwest into the wind all day. The skies grew overcast as well. By the end of the day, the wind increased and we struggled to get the tents up safely. Luckily, each of my polar students has mastered the myriad skills need to be safe and comfortable out here and they managed to quickly make camp and crawl inside the tents.&nbsp;(<a href='http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262292'>View Post...</a>) Eric Larsen Thu, 07 Feb 2019 09:05:02 -0600 http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262292 50.728 -96.4819 <![CDATA[Level 1 Polar Training - Day 4]]> http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262291 We woke up to a blood orange sunrise and temperatures that had dropped to -14 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 C) throughout the night. And even though it was the coldest it had been the entire training, the weather felt quite comfortable.<br /> <br /> On most of my polar expeditions, I donâ??t bring a thermometer. Instead, I just adjust my layers as the wind changes. Each morning, I listen to the tent flapping (or not flapping in the calm) before getting fully dressed in all my expedition gear. More wind. More layers. Less wind. Less layers.<br /> <br /> Later in the day, as we were out skiing, we all remarked how comfortable it was. We lounged in relative comfort at breaks even though the temperature was -4 F and frost formed around our fur rufs.<br /> <br /> Today, we officially embarked on our five day expedition on Lake Winnipeg. It was a good feeling to leave the cabin ski across the lake. Now, we are a self contained team caring ball our food, fuel and equipment in small expedition sleds. From this point on, our schedule will be fairly simple: ski, eat and sleep.<br /> <br /> The surface is windswept and hard and weâ??ve been able to make steady progress. What I would have given to experience conditions like this during my recent Antarctica expedition.<br /> <br /> I feel bad that I havenâ??t been able to write a full debrief of my Last South expedition, but between spending quality time with Maria and the kids, preparing for this polar training course and my upcoming Last Defree North Pole Expedition and a short film project, I havenâ??t had much quiet time for reflection. If anything it was simply â??status quoâ??. Another trip to another cold place. Then home. Now gone again.<br /> <br /> Last year (2018) I was gone for nearly five months between adventures to Winnipeg, the North Pole, Greenland, Yellowknife, Antarctica and my 10 day WisconsATHON. Thatâ??s definitely too much time away from my family. And Crested Butte. Iâ??ve spent the past few weeks sledding, skiing, ice skating and building snow caves with my kids. Itâ??s been so much fun that I didnâ??t really want to leave to come to Winnipeg.<br /> <br /> But I also like it here. Even after nearly five months of sleeping in a tent. Five months of freeze dried dinners. Five months of snow, ice and cold (even in Wisconsin). I still enjoy this life.<br /> <br /> What I also really enjoy, I realized, is this polar training course. Itâ??s a lot of work to put it on. And stressful at times trying to keep everyone safe when windchills drop to 30 or 40 below... but its an opportunity to share my knowledge of expedition-style travel. Of course, relaxing in my warm polar ranger sleeping bag is pretty nice as well.&nbsp;(<a href='http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262291'>View Post...</a>) Eric Larsen Tue, 05 Feb 2019 21:27:02 -0600 http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262291 50.663 -96.4782 <![CDATA[Level 1 Polar Training - Day 3]]> http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262290 <img src='http://www.x-journal.com/member/ericlars/images/b158_4353_scale.jpg'><br />Another busy day on Winnipeg - or as the case may be... on the shores of Lake Winnipeg. However, the team has taken their first official 'expedition' training steps as everyone now camped on the ice. We actually spent the day in preparation mode, prepping and packing the food and meals we will be eating for the next five days on the ice. The temperatures have been steadily dropping throughout the day as the sky cleared and it is now around -15 F. Snow, ice and cold. What more could you ask for? It's been long non stop days and tomorrow night I will be able to write more from the tent.<br /> <br /> Image: Gus taking his first polar stride's during yesterday's ski.&nbsp;(<a href='http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262290'>View Post...</a>) Eric Larsen Mon, 04 Feb 2019 22:45:02 -0600 http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262290 50.663 -96.4782 <![CDATA[Level 1 Polar Training - Day 2]]> http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262289 <img src='http://www.x-journal.com/member/ericlars/images/b158_651229_scale.jpg'><br />Just a quick note from the BALMY shores of Lake Winnipeg where the ambient temperature is - 4 F / -20 C. The group Dean, Dave, Gus, Bruno, Nathan and Felipe have spent the past two days in a cold weather boot camp of sorts. Learning how to set up set up tents, use stoves, ski and pull sleds and generally be comfortable in windchills that dropped to roughly -20 F. Tomorrow, we focus on expedition nutrition while packing for a 5 day mini expedition on Lake Winnipeg. It's been non stop from morning until late at night gearing up and I look forward to hitting the ice when I can at least get 8 hours of sleep!<br /> <br /> Image: A few of the polar crew practicing polar sled pulling techniques&nbsp;(<a href='http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262289'>View Post...</a>) Eric Larsen Sun, 03 Feb 2019 23:50:03 -0600 http://www.ericlarsenexplore.com/updates/journal/[xjMsgID]?xjMsgID=262289 50.7238 -96.5281