Not leads lead to Ellesmere Island

On a day like today, the last thing you want to do is cross many leads. We have blistery, miserable conditions because we are still in the heart of the blizzard now lasting 3 days thrushes us around and beat us up, as if the Arctic wants to say: GO HOME you don’t belong here. True, humans have nothing to gain from being on the frozen Arctic ocean. Whatever the Arctic is already giving us, we need to proof over and over again we are worthy for being here. That is the case with crossing leads, the most dangerous thing w do on this expedition. If the wind blows freezing air in your face and there is no sunshine you think of all options before you put on a survival suit and swim across. We heard yesterday of a team doing the last degree to the north pole that they followed a lead of open water all day hoping to cross it somewhere and finally camped near it praying for it to freeze overnight. The next day they had to get picked up by helicopter because it was the last day of Barneo being open and they had to get of the ice. We can’t do leads by hope or detours – you need to have a clear action plan. Sometimes you cross more then 20 leads a day and if have to walk an additional 10 km for each one, you never get your target of km in.
Leads form when the ice is under pressure from either wind or current. They can old Then refreeze and open again, like a wound that you continue to bump open against something. Leads are never straight but follow the contour of pressure ridges. Wind will keep the leads from freezing like a current does. Most leads are obvious: open dark canals of water but today we crossed a couple that were mean and extremely dangerous. Ice under pressure had flooded an area that is not visible to the eye because it has a layer of snow on it. Light blue soggy snow is a sign of wet and unstable ice, very tempting to just ski over it if you unaware and deceived by snow as a safe passage.
Pretty soon out of camp we swam one lead and ferried our sleds on another. We are getting more efficient with our lead crossings which is a good plan because the further south we go and the warmer the temperatures, we may have to cross many more leads on our way to Elkesmere