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23 December 2011

Polar Lyon - Part 3

I keep out of trouble with eyes in the back of my head. I can do this because throughout perpetual winter polar dark and Arctic cold Energizer (Canada) Ultimate Lithium batteries power, without weakness, devices like my Petzl (Lyon) Myo 3 headlamp, the light of which enables me to go about my daily life in winter. Pull a Petzl headlamp powered by Energizer Ultimate Lithiums out of my sled bag at forty below zero and it will work without that keep-the-batteries-warm palaver.

I don't use alkaline batteries because they are hopelessly inadequate in the cold. They contain water that obviously freezes rendering them useless and even warm they still do not last long. They are the kiss of death to headlamps in the cold. On top of that they are twice as heavy as Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries.

With Girly

In summer I leave Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries as part of journey depots. Turning my back on the depots I leave them for over seven months in nothing more than a crate throughout an entire Arctic winter using them as re-supply depots the following year.

This summer I set out new depots for another journey and more Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries were part of crucial supplies left to survive this winter and await the arrival of my dogs and me next year. Despite being left out for so long in the cold and because they are the world’s longest lasting AA battery, I have never had Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries fail to deliver.

On journeys my main headtorch is the Myo 3 but I also pack a Petzl Tikka 2 CORE. This is powered by AAA batteries. Energizer also produce a AAA Ultimate Lithium battery. At home I insert the lithium CORE battery and recharge using the USB cable plugged directly into my Panasonic Toughbook. The Petzl Ultra Accu 2 and the Accu 4 (belt version) batteries are easily recharged off the wall.

Recharging a Petzl Tikka 2 CORE via the USB port on my Panasonic Toughbook
In the following video I slip a nine-dog team and speed out in gentle snowfall by the peripheral light of Ittoqqortoormiit but soon the only light I am able to go by is that of my Petzl Ultra headlamp as we climb into the hills for an easy one-hour run. The barking is from other dog teams as we pass them by.


Behind my house the hills roll and mountains tower. Here is a summer perspective.

Walking Pirate behind my house in August
In winter this is an area used by hibernating pregnant sow polar bears. Male polar bears do not hibernate. The lights of Ittoqqortoormiit enable us to walk about, work and go about our daily business in safety. Children walk to school and play. Mums pull toddlers in sleds to nursery school. Polar bear sightings between buildings are not unusual or welcome. This year three dangerous bears were shot less than one hundred metres from my house.

The electricity lighting for Ittoqqortoormiit is powered by a large generator that also keeps our water from freezing in a huge reservoir that holds two million litres of water. The water lasts us (400 people) three to four months. You can see the silver water reservoir to the left of me in the Snappy Dresser video.

Greenland is the only place where I have been physically lifted off the ground by the wind. This happened on a day when I was feeding my dogs on my hands and knees and, just to try, I stood up. It was a stupid move because anything airborne would have taken my head off. As it was I was lifted and landed in a heap on the ground. This happened in the winter of 2007- 2008. It was the worst Ittoqqortoormiit winter in living memory.

A program for conditioning and training my dogs is of no value unless feeding is also of the highest quality. In this second video (below) I am giving my dogs drinking water and feeding them dried food (protein 34%, fat 30%) and whale blubber on the frozen river below my house. Twice daily I also clear away what comes out the other end, all by the light of my Petzl Ultra headtorch.

As a breed the Greenland Dog is nonchalant to pain. They give nothing away and if left unchecked will run themselves to destruction in their desire to pull as part of a team. Knowing this I check for injuries, teeth and dogs' paws because as the saying goes: no feet, no dog.


There is something primeval in seeing the sun rise above the mountains for the first time having not seen it for so long. We are patient. My dogs will continue to run by the light of my headlamp until the sun returns next year.

In a moment I'll be out of the door to run my dogs. Today amounts to our Christmas Eve because in Ittoqqortoormiit Christmas is celebrated on the 24th (tomorrow).

I dream, plan and work towards many things. Merry Christmas to you all and all the very best for 2012 in whatever it is you dream of most.

For more about Gary, his dogs and his Energizer powered Petzl headlamps go to www.garyrolfe.com

1 comment:

  1. Love the bouncing bottoms but especially the feeding video. Ahhhh.

    ReplyDelete