Start point Hercules Inlet, Ronne Ice Shelf 79.59.98 S 79.38.05 W (with thanks to Vesa, Finnish solo expeditioner for co-ordinates of start point)
Hours skied: 7
Distance travelled: 15km (9.8 miles)
Temp: -10 C
Wind: Light Breeze
Terrain: some steep climbs, deep sticky snow
Lewis and Carl, along with a Finn who is attempting a solo expedition and a cyclist attempting to become the first person to cycle all the way to the South Pole, were flown to Hercules Inlet yesterday December the 1st. The Finn and cyclist took off immediately and as the Twin Otter plane flew away Lewis and Carl made their first expedition camp in the utter middle of nowhere. Silence.
Today December 2nd they have begun their epic trek – just them, their skis, pulks, GPS and thousands of square miles of Antarctic whiteness. The first week of trekking is particularly tough, up hill, crevasses to navigate around. The good news is that it is currently sunny and, because they are close to the coast, relatively warm – just -10 to -13. As they move inland, toward the pole 730 miles away, it will become increasingly cold, high (South Pole altitude is 9,200ft, 2,800m) and windy (it’s a bit like starting in Brighton and heading for Inverness!).
Lewis rang us on the Sat phone! – he is in good spirits after a hard first day. The first week will be about finding his rhythm and routines. He is a bit concerned about a red area on his left heel, not yet a blister but threatening. Planning to tape it up for tomorrow and get his ski and boot set up settled in. Tomorrow the Antarctic routine will begin again – ski for 8 hours, eat, deal with feet and face, sleep, repeat. The sun never sets at this time of year, permanent daylight means they must wear eye pads to simulate night time and ear plugs when the wind is howling.