Distance travelled: 17 miles
Hours on skis: 9 hrs
Cumulative distance: 542 miles
Still to go: 160 miles
Temp: -28C (feels like -40C) (at South Pole, now the nearest weather station)
Wind: Moderate breeze (South Pole)
Of note: Report to camp “Uphill and bumpy”. We spoke to Lewis last night (Jan 7th). He was the brightest he has been the whole journey, entirely himself and seemingly after 37 days now feeling at home in one of the most inhospitable environments on earth, perhaps even enjoying it a little! This may be down to the fact that the ‘polar thigh’, blisters and chaffing all seem to be under control at the same time and also perhaps that there is a glint of light at the end of the tunnel.
He says it has got significantly colder and windier as they are nearing the polar plateau. He is struggling to eat his dehydrated food and losing weight, but because he put on so much before he went it is not currently a problem. His polar cough has returned as the air becomes thinner. For reasons I do not understand the nearly 10,000ft Antarctic plateau has the effect of somewhere else on earth of about 12,000ft in terms of altitude sickness and dry air. For those who fly in to ski just the last degree altitude sickness can be a problem, but having climbed over 8,000ft Lewis is feeling fine so far, apart from the return of the cough.
The key now is for Lewis to keep focussed as the risk of frost bite is at its highest up on the freezing windy plateau.
They hope to be out of the sastrugi fields within a few days and then it will be a big push on flatter ground for the Pole itself. We read him your messages which he loved as ever, thank you.
Picture shows Antarctica in context from unusual southern view. You can see why expeditions launch mostly from Chile or, as with Walking with the Wounded, from South Africa. Lewis’s expedition and website are attracting interest and hits from all over the globe.