Over Half Way.....
Miles skied - 300 Miles remaining to South Pole - 194
Elevation Gained from coast - 6,450 feet Elevation at South Pole - 9,500 feet
The big news this week is that we passed the halfway point from the coast to the pole! We can now count the miles down instead of up. After picking up our cache last week, we also turned to a bearing of 180 degrees - due south, so every step takes us closer to the pole. The temperature is dropping dramatically as we gain altitude - it is -30° outside as I write this. Every action outside has to be measured and planned and rest stops are no picnic.
The lack of “scenery” on this expedition is breathtaking. We passed the Thiel mountains, which are spectacular, especially when all you have been looking at is the frozen ploughed field for 300 miles. We have had a couple of particularly hard days this week, with overcast sky, no horizon and zero ground visibility. We did still manage 12nm on both of those days...............
All my love to Liz and Sally and a Merry Christmas to family, friends and everyone following the expedition. We have a “tree” and decorations in the tent and are gearing up for our next day of leisure on Christmas Day (See photo)!
Observations of the week:
- As I mentioned in an earlier blog - worst dried food is Himalayan Lentil. The good news is that Andy in the other tent loves the stuff - go figure! So the dried food bartering system is well underway.
- Food fantasies are in an advanced state - Andy insisted he had corned beef sandwiches and beer last night. If he thinks that is what Himalayan Lentil tastes like, I am all in favour.
- Repairing a damaged tent in -20° celsius is not the best way to start the day.
- Best “tool” for an expedition like this? You guessed it..................Duct Tape! It is on a lot of our gear, clothing and at a push can hold your feet together too.
- You have a lot of time to think out here, especially when you have listened to every tune on your MP3 player for the 10th time.
- A daily occurrence - ice-shrouded headphones. But of course, you just have more time for creative thoughts...............
- I have been wondering. What would this expedition look like from space? 4 small dots dressed in red and black moving very slowly across this vast wilderness for 10 hours each day. Then setting up 2 red rectangular boxes and staying in them for 14 hours. Repeat 43 times. I guess I have too much time on my hands.
Don't forget to check out the Polar Explorers blog, including voice updates at: Polar Blog
Until next week,
Ian is the narrative for the next blog.