Miles skied - 494 Miles remaining to South Pole - 0
Elevation Gained from coast - 9,400 feet Elevation at South Pole - 9,400 feet
We reached the Geographic South Pole at 5:45 p.m. (Chile time) on Tuesday, January 6, 2015. There was no outpouring of emotion as I had expected, but more of a numb feeling as what little energy was left drained away. It is very odd approaching the South Pole as due to the huge facility, runway and experimental gear, a lot of the area is restricted. You therefore have to face the heartbreaking experience of not only skiing up one last long hill, but also traversing a good 2-3 miles out of your way. Seeing the white communication dome appear out of the mist and cloud 10nm away was a highly charged emotional moment.
I am writing this while sitting on a Twin Otter aircraft flying back from the Pole to the Union Glacier base camp, where we are scheduled to spend a couple of nights before flying back to Punta Arenas, Chile. It is going to take us 5 hours to fly the distance we took 44 days to ski.
This has been an incredible experience and one that has tested me like nothing else - physically, emotionally and ultimately spiritually, made especially tough as I carried debilitating injuries on both feet from day 7, which was a little inconvenient. We are all capable of so much more and it always amazes me to see just how much farther you can push yourself once your body has shut down. Go out and live your own adventure, do something crazy, and remember – “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”.
My sincere thanks to Keith Heger, Bradley Cross and Andy Styles for being great expedition companions and hopefully lifelong friends. We shared gut-busting humour, tears, despair, hope and ultimately team success. Thank you, I could not have done this without you.
We have lots of footage for the planned documentary film, likely available for release in early 2016. For updates on the film, upcoming shows, photo gallery, press coverage and more on this and other expeditions, check out my website at: www.ianevans.ca
Thanks for following my adventure!
Observations of the week:
– I am now the oldest Canadian to have skied from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, and the oldest ever from the Ronne Ice Shelf. All I can say is “good luck” to anyone older who tries this trek.
– We had a tour of the Scott – Amundsen base at the South Pole, which is impressive and highly sophisticated. In one room we found a weigh scale, so I was volunteered to be weighed. Result – 145 LBS, my normal weight at home ...............170 LBS.
– Following on from the point above. It is less than 24 hours since we arrived at the Pole and I have already had 5 square meals and am snacking on the flight.
– Alcohol does not mix well with total exhaustion, extreme cold and equivalent 11,000 feet of altitude. This morning we were all a little “dusty” (thanks Dave Lock for this great expression).
– Hardest part of the South Pole base tour? Walking up a flight of steps. There is nothing left in the legs I felt like I had climbed Everest when I reached the first floor.
– New level of exhaustion exerienced. With 24 miles to go, we were all packed up and ready to start skiing, but I could not move my legs, so just stood there. They felt artificial. No problem, by grabbing one and swinging it forward, it seemed to start an inner impulse and the other one followed..........for the next 12 miles. Unnerving.
– The South Pole gift shop is a “bust”.
Don't forget to check out the Polar Explorers blog, including voice updates at: Polar Blog
Until the next expedition,