frosty-ruth.JPGPhew! A gruelling 48 hours but we are back online. My blisters are covered with duct tape, as nothing else seems to stick, my chilblains are still giving me trouble on my fingers, I’ve had my leg down a crevasse and I’ve never felt quite so exhausted. Still we have made it. We now have 6 sledges and our poo sledge at the top of the mountain pass. The view from our tents has to be one of the most spectacular in the world. It’s certainly the most amazing place I have ever camped. 1562m high with views across a mountain range on to the polar plateau. It is almost worth the effort it took to get us up here! We must have 4-500 kilos of kit that we have hauled to a point higher than Ben Nevis. Over the last two days we have dragged heavy sledges uphill for about 9 hours. Most sledges have involved at least 3 people pulling one sledge and some have involved all 6 of us. I can’t think how many times we have been up and down this mountain! Our bodies have taken an absolute battering. At some points our strides were just 10cm as we inched our way up, clinging on to each centimetre with our crampons.

Last night we got to the top at about 11pm. I could hardly walk and as soon as we stopped our sweat froze so it was freezing cold. We then had to pitch tents at a bitterly cold -20 degrees. Believe me at that stage it was the last thing I wanted to do! We were all covered with frost with frozen hair and barely functioning hands. Ruth and I could hardly think and we kept putting the poles into the wrong places. Part of pitching our tents is to cover the side valances with snow to ‘dig them in’ in order to keep the tents secure in the wind. Digging snow up here on this pass was like digging concrete. It was brutal. After a 6 hour uphill haul with no dinner it was a real test to get our tent safely dug in. At one stage I was practically on my knees! I’m feeling really proud of what we’ve achieved as a team over the last few days. It has been a huge feat to haul everything out of the canyon. To start with we didn’t think it was going to be possible, it really shows what can happen when you have 6 people who aren’t going to give up! Our guides were great motivational sources and Carolyn was on a personal mission with our poo sledge, dragging it up the mountain single handed. It was an inspiration to all of us!

It was after midnight when we finally had dinner and didn’t get to bed until 2.30am as we were scraping ice from our boots and defrosting our clothes. Then it was a 6.15am wake up call for satellite phone conversations with radio stations and some of our schools. I got the chance to speak to my Year 10 pupils at Higham Lane School in Nuneaton. It was absolutely fantastic hearing their voices and some of their questions. It really brought home why we are here and it made me really look forward to getting back and seeing them. Thank you Year 10 for your messages of support and fantastic questions. After 48 hours of hell it was a real breath of fresh air. It means a lot to know that people back home are keeping updated with our progress. Particularly on days like the ones we have just had. It is hard to express how much those questions, best wishes and messages of support mean. Thank you and keep them coming!