Team members: Ian Evans, Andy Styles, Bradley Cross and PolarExplorers guide Keith Heger.
This blog will follow our 2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition, skiing from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole using the "Messner Route." Check back regularly for updates from the team!
The team reported in yesterday that they took a break for Christmas and had a much deserved layover day. They slept, read, reorganized and celebrated the holiday. Family and friends had packed them out with an assortment of small gifts to open on Christmas and their tents donned tinsel and small tokens of the the holiday.
The Full South Pole team called in yesterday during their Sunday night dinner and it sounded like a party in the background. Laughter and banter could be heard inside the tent. The dinner was a fitting end to a good day of more than 12 nautical miles in overcast weather (also a fitting way to celebrate the summer solstice). The temperature was -20 C.
The team is now over halfway to the pole in both distance and elevation gain! Yesterday was another beautiful day of skiing (-13 and sunny). They covered over 12.5 nautical miles in just over 8 hours. They have been able to easily navigate the sastrugi on the flats and power through the long inclines as well. All members are having a ball and motivation in still high. If you're curious what a typical day looks like in their ski boots, read below.
Listen as Ian gives the audio update.
Our Full South Pole ski team reported in yesterday that they had a good day, making 11.7 nautical miles in 8 hours and 45 minutes. They had clear weather with a 10 kt wind from the south that pushed at them all day. The temperature was -15C. The sleds felt a little lighter than yesterday, but still very heavy. They had a slow climb of 300 feet, steady all day, which made it feel like much more. Everyone is doing great and enjoying their company and surroundings. Check back again soon for another update!
Yesterday our South Pole team enjoyed the first ever Full South Pole Expedition Poetry Slam! Each of the guys had been been composing a poem for many days in preparation for this event and while all poems were excellent Bradley Cross was the unanimous winner with his poem entitled Four Men on a Journey South. Keith reads the winning poem in the audio update below. Other than that the team is in high spirits, continuing on their journey today. We will post their progress as we receive it.
The Full South Pole team met their first cache yesterday and loaded up the sleds with 22 days worth of food, fuel, and other supplies. They quickly found that they'd gotten too used to how light the sleds had become! Today the guys are enjoying their first rest day of the expedition. 18 days of travel in a row! Good work gentlemen! You've earned a break.
Listen below as Andy and Bradley give us a detailed update.
And Andy, we'll work on getting you a Ski-doo with a full tank of petrol for Christmas, but no promises.
Update from Ian Evans
Keith, Andy, Bradley, and Ian are still making good time across the ice. They have had particularly still days for the last few days with very mild temperatures (around-15°C). They can finally see the Thiel Mountains off to the Southwest along with some very large crevasses which were snow covered, but still visible roughly 12 miles away. Keith estimated that these crevasses were big enough to fit an entire city block inside!
They are 17.4 miles away from their resupply point where the team plans to take their first rest day after beginning the expedition. Stay tuned!
For the last two days the team has had their noses to the grindstone. Varying conditions including ground blizzards and 15-20kt winds have made for some of the toughest travel yet. Yesterday they spent the day "skiing in the cotton ball" (low visibility and no horizon). Despite these conditions, the team made good progress both days for a total of 24.5 nautical miles. Last night they had a great Sunday dinner with some special nachos made by Chef Cross.
The boys are at it again. They awoke yesterday to see the first landscape feature so far, a ridge off to their East. It gave the first sense of scale to the vastness of the area they are traveling. The team traveled 12.77nm yesterday in over 8.5 hours. Temperatures are holding around -16 with 8-10kt winds.
We've got Andy Styles and Bradley Cross doing the audio update today. Listen below.
Photo: Ian preparing for whiteout.
The team had a particularly hot day today. With temps around -12°C and absolutely no wind, they had to strip down to their base layers while skiing to keep from overheating. The team covered 10.1 nautical miles over their usual 8.5 hour travel day with no contrast or horizon for the first 5 hours, then the sky opened up to a totally clear sky with beautiful light. Back at it again tomorrow. "Slowly slowly we go on."-Heger
Our full South Pole team reports in today that they had a good day. They have completed approximately 1/5 of the distance to the South Pole, and they have ascended 1/3 of the elevation. And they are happy to keep plugging away.
The team had yet another great day out on the ice yesterday. They covered 11.8 nautical miles in 8.5 hours. The weather was sunny and calm with cloud cover coming in late and the forecast has the cloud cover staying around for the next couple days. Our guys encountered the biggest sastrugi they've seen yet, some as high as two feet, but they are easy to navigate around and are not causing any trouble for the team.
The team has climbed over a third of the total elevation of the route. Temps at the time of Keith's report are a balmy -12°C with a light breeze of 3kt coming in from the South.
Our team had a challenging day today out on the ice. Visibility was unlimited but 15-20kt winds buffeted them from the South all day as they skied. Temperatures were average at -16°C throughout the day and the team covered nearly 12 nautical miles in 8 hours and 45 minutes.
They'll be back at it with renewed vigor first thing tomorrow.
The team reported in tonight from S 83.24'2" where they were ready to hit the sack after a good day. They skied 12.5 nautical miles in 8 hours and 45 minutes. The first hour was a 200 ft ascent, with an additional 220 feet spread out over the rest of the day. They now are at 2403 ft. The temperature was a comfortable -17C with a 7 kt wind out of the SE.
The team has planned small ways to celebrate their time on the ice, including special Sunday night dinners. The treat for tonight was some delicious banana bread homemade by Keith's wife Stacey. Thanks Stacey! They also enjoyed hearty dinners. "Evans" had sweet and sour pork, "Cross" had a Mexican delight, "Styles" had beef broccoli and "Heger" had pepper steak.
Here is a photo of dinner time. Everyone is doing great, laughing at night, and enjoying their time on the ice. Stay tuned for another update from the team tomorrow!