“Hands are very vulnerable”
In April, Vera Simonsson was sleeping with gloves on. Not just because it was too cold in her tent, but also to be able to use the rifle. “We took turns keeping watch for polar bears,” says Vera. “If the dogs started barking we had to run out of the tent and get to the rifle in a matter of seconds. Fortunately we never had to.” Vera comes from Härnösand, Sweden, but spends a lot of her time in much colder environments.
Together with her sister Emma and Norwegians Kristin Folsland Olsen and Ingebjoerg Tollefsen, they completed an 80-day long ski expedition along the north coast of Baffin Island. They went over glaciers and frozen seas pulling 120-kilogram sleds behind them.
Layer-on-layer withstands -60°C
“When it was blowing hard, the effective temperature could be almost minus 60 degrees centigrade,” says Vera. Getting frostbite on the hands could easily be fatal. “The key is to be incredibly attentive to the hands. By far the coldest was when we had to take off the thicker outer gloves and only use liners, for example, when pulling a zipper or if a tent stake pulls out.”
When it was coldest, Vera had a thin Merino wool liner, then a wind-stopper glove and ultimately a Kebnekaise Mountain Mitt with a removable wool liner.