Our Last Degree ski team is on Antarctica! The team took off late yesterday and flew through the night, landing at Union Glacier at 2:30am this morning (UTC-3). Upon arrival they had a short briefing, followed by a tour of the camp and a hot meal before setting up tents and getting a few more hours of sleep.
The team was up at 11:00AM for brunch, and plan to spend the day making all final preparations and practicing some polar travel skills so they are ready to fly to the 89°S tomorrow (If the weather allows). It is currently -5°C at Union Glacier Camp with a light breeze, the perfect transition temperature before heading to the Antarctic plateau. Stay tuned for another update this evening!
The team has successfully gathered in Punta Arenas without incident. Everyone's luggage arrived on time and they are taking care of any last minute gear requirements. To celebrate the turning of the New Year, our team walked to the waterfront to watch the fireworks over the Straits of Magellan. Today, the team enjoyed a private tour of the area surrounding Punta Arenas by bus, before finishing off the evening with a welcome reception.
Polar travel and mountain travel have a lot of crossovers. Though the clothes and skills may be different there is the commonality that it is all about putting one foot in front of the next and understanding that the adventure lies in the journey, not at the destination. To celebrate our 25 years of helping mountaineers achieve their polar dreams we are heading to the "the Third Pole." Join us we climb the highest mountain on the planet.
Join PolarExplorers on an unforgettable adventure steeped in austere and remote beauty on the great white continent. The Union Glacier is located in the Heritage Range, below the Ellsworth Mountains, and is home to the Blue Ice Runway and Union Glacier Basecamp (a logistics hub, supporting private expeditions and National Antarctic Programs.) READ MORE...
Expedition food isn’t always known for being the most delicate or delicious. The ultimate goal is to provide your body with the fuel it needs to keep performing optimally (stay warm and energized) throughout the day. This means eating a mixture of fast burning and slow-burning calories at regular intervals throughout the day. Here are the basics. READ MORE...
Arguably the most important piece of kit you have regardless of activity, is your Footwear. This is no different when traveling in the polar regions. Blisters and frostbite can happen quickly and turn an otherwise thrilling expedition into an ordeal. Here’s what you need to know…
In addition to all of the other challenges involved with traveling in the Polar Regions, the conditions can take a serious toll on your electronics. This can be dangerous; if your camera is frozen up or your batteries are dead, how will you get the shot of your buddy being dragged helplessly along by the dogsled to send to all his friends? After all, If there isn’t a picture of it, it didn’t happen.
Here are some tips, tricks, and recommendations for caring for your electronics in the cold.
The team arrived back in Reykjavik this afternoon, looking forward to their final celebration dinner. More showers ("hand sanitizer only goes so far" was overheard from one of the group), drying out clothing and gear, sleeping on a mattress, eating real food... all most appreciated and very well deserved. Huge congratulations to all team members!! We'll let them speak for themselves on their accomplishments and wish everyone safe travels home, till their next adventure! Thanks to all for following along and we look forward to seeing you on another expedition! If you think you might enjoy this expedition for yourself why not join our 2018 team? Read more here.
The team awoke to hard driving rain which started around 4 AM and did not let up all day. They broke camp around 8 AM and had an extremely challenging day descending the glacier in the driving rain. They were only able to ski for the first 200 metres, then had to switch to walking. The first 2 hours they had snow, then it changed to bare ice for the remainder of the descent. The conditions were such that their sleds were either sliding ahead of them or hitting them in the ankles. If they put the brake on the sled, it would get stuck in the ice or cause so much friction that it was nearly impossible to maneuver.
The team called in from N 64° 08.243, W 016° 27.158. They are hanging out in their tents, having just finished dinner and a poetry reading session (Robert Service always a favorite on all PolarExplorers expeditions!). They are around 10 km from the edge of the glacier. They had a fairly leisurely morning, starting on trail around 10 AM. Overnight the winds were quite strong as had been forecast but they were comfortable in the protected campsite they had chosen with their wind walls.
In the morning, the weather was beautiful with bright sun but they could see the weather moving in over the mountains. They passed some beautiful ice falls and saw some lenticular cloud patterns that were stunning (see photo below) Around mid-day the clouds moved in to fully envelope them, they had 20' visibility at times and the snow became soft and wet as they were going down some steep inclines. They alternated between skis and boots. They stayed roped together all day as they were in crevasse territory.
The team just called in from N 64° 07.548, W 016° 40.767. They woke up to a nice cool morning and had a fairly relaxed start, waking at 7 AM, then snoozing till 7:30. They had a nice ski and traveled about 19 km. At the last stop, they put on their harnesses and roped up as they were heading into crevasse territory. They will remain roped up for the remainder of the expedition.
They found a beautiful spot to camp, looking out across a glacial valley with mountains all around. They had an outdoor kitchen and dinner again tonight.