The South Pole expedition in the media

The South Pole expedition has been getting some attention in the Icelandic media recently. Einar was called up by  couple of radio stations around Christmas. People were interested to know how they were doing and how they were going to celebrate Christmas.

The news papers have been covering the expedition too. Here below are links to four articles published by Morgunblaðið and Fréttablaðið in November and December:

Celebrataing Christmas at the South Pole
In English – Published by Morgunblaðið (internet version) on the 12th of November, 2014.

Heldur jólin á suðurpólnum
In Icelandic – Published by Morgunblaðið (internet version) on the 12th of November, 2014.

Á leið á Suðurpólinn um hátíðirnar
In Icelandic – Published in Fréttablaðið on the 23rd of December, 2014. (click photo below).

FBL_23.12.2014

Ferðin á suðurpólinn hálfnuð
In Icelandic – Published by Morgunblaðið (internet version) on the 24th of December, 2014.

Valtýr og Jói: Eyðir jólunum á Suðurskautslandinu
In Icelandic – Radio interview at Bylgjan, 24th of December, 2014.

– bh

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Good progress after two days of rest during Christmas

During the two days at Thiels Corner the team had a good rest and ate well. Exactly what you are suposed to do in Christmas time.

“Hi. We celebrated Christmas with a second day of rest. We had good food, Bill’s famous English Christmas pudding, after eight, blue cheese and more. The rest of the day was spent reading and sleeping. This morning [26th of December] we woke up full of energy to continue the journey. The weather was good, almost no wind and cloudy. The sastrugis have disappeared and the terrain is easier and that helps the speed. We did 25,8km today and are happy about this good beginning of our second half. Our total distance is now 603 km. We learned this evening from Union Glacier that the french couple and their guide left from the Pole this morning and also a solo kiter, both parties coming our way. It would be fun to meet someone on the way:) From our camp we se the Thyls mountains very well.“

So the resting time did them good and they are cruising at a very good speed. Seems like the news about better conditions ahead were right. And the weather is also treating them well.

171bb00b-7579-403c-8fad-9124d5f183c81657579172Self portrait by Einar 

“Yesterday [27th of December] was yet another excellent weather day. For the first time during this expedition I wore only my Bergans woollen T shirt under the Rab vapour rise jacket. There was a moment where we decented a good bit and then we had the steepest hill we have had since we were starting our trip. It was about 200m high and it took about an hour to climb it dragging the pulka. The day was one of our best, 26,6 km. Today [28th of December] the weather was cooler but sunny and beautiful. The snow had a sandy feeling, we were constantly going uphill and it was hard dragging the sleds. West to us the Thyl mountains were bathed in the sunshine and we could se how wast this mountain range actually is. Today’s distance was 23,9 km and we are now in 1565 m altitude. We still have 180 km to go to our next cache and 480 all the way to the Pole. It feels nice to see that we have now done 654 km which is considerably more than what is left.“

Best regards
Einar”

453614c0-5d54-4081-b452-d96560355898-161719992Hugh and the Thiel mountains in the distance

Seems like all going well and the team is optimistic and happy about the progress they have made so far.

Camp 30 at 85°19’023 S 80°56’303 W (end of 26th of December)
Camp 31 at 85°33’295 S 81°03’508 W  (end of 27th of December)
Camp 32 at 85°46’138 S 81°07’268 W (end of 28th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

-bh

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Half way, now at Thiels Corner

Einar´s team is now half way on their journey to the South Pole. They had a good last day to the second cache and did very well, manage to go all the way instead of arriving in the morning of the 24th. Here we have Einar’s message on this important point of the expedition:

“Hi and merry Christmas. Yesterday we pushed along and did the 27 km we had left to Thyls Corner. We arrived at 7pm after 7 hours and 40 minutes of skiing. We were all very happy to have reached our second cache, the 85th degree and our half way point to the Pole. Today we have spent most of our time going through the food and our equipment because here we can send back things we don’t need anymore. We plan to stay here tomorrow also so we get a perfect rest before continuing. The plan is to be considerably faster on our second half of the expedition and arrive to the Pole on the 18th of January. We wish everyone merry Christmas and hope everyone is having a great time.

Best regards
Einar”

20141224_172412Happy chaps, spending Christmas at Thiels Corner 

 We of course send Einar, Tim, Hugh and William our greetings and hope they have a pleasant and relaxing time at Thiels Corner. We know Einar managed to bring in some food related treats for Christmas. Enjoy 🙂

Camp 29 (Thiels Corner) at 85°05’174 S 80°46’750 W (end of 23th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Nearly half way now

“Hi. We have advanced well the last two days despite some “sand snow” conditions.  Yesterday we had breeze from the south and good visibility and made  24 km.  Today the wind picked up and blowed at around 10 knots from south.  We all felt the pulling of the pulkas was hard today and that our process was slow so we were happy to discover at the end of the day that we had done 24,1 km. But we feel quite beaten up after the hard work and look forward to our Christmas break.  We now have 27 km to go for our next cache at Thyls Corner so we should be there latest around noon of the 24th.

8c23fe17-bf2d-459b-8b5a-78022a5329911254427832The NF Bastion tent

a4707b0c-6d8a-41ff-86b3-140e5be848a3533485484And the toilet

Another thing that cheered us up today was that we saw mountains again after 300 km of nothing but the white snowy desert. These mountains are towards our northwest and are probably part of the Thyl mountains.  In the evening the wind accelerated and is now blowing at 15 knots.  This includes a lot of spin drift so I took pictures of our Bastion tent and the toilet with the snow blowing.  The pooper is a very important thing in these circumstances so you don’t get snow in pants when doing your thing.

Best regards

Einar”

Camp 27 at 84°37’367 S 80°38′ 437 W (end of 21st of December)

Camp 28 at 84°50’312 S 80°41’812 W. (end of 22nd of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map
– bh

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Antarctica calling

Einar just phoned us up with some news about how things are going.

Now, Einar thinks they will arrive at Thiels Corner around noon on the 24th of December. There they will stay for two nights and rest.

At Thiels Corner there is an airstrip, fuel storage and one toilet. No one is stationed there so they will be alone there.

So far the snow conditions have been worse that Einar expected. Bigger sastrugis, covering larger areas than he hoped for. But he has got news from another expedition saying that this is getting better from now.

At Thiels Corner they will get new supplies and plan to reach the third cache in 12 days. After reaching the third cache they plan on maximum two weeks to get to the South Pole.

So let´s hope the news about better snow conditions are correct and that everything goes well. We are in no doubt.

– bh

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Total white out

Here we have the latest message from Einar:

“Hi. Last two days the weather has been overcast and we have been fumbling our way through the sastrugis in a total white out. This slows down our speed considerably and makes our progress a much harder work. It is even complicated to choose a camp site in the evening since it is hard to see it the snow is flat or not. Yesterday we did only 18 km in 7 hours and 10 min and today we did 19,1 km in 7 hours and 20 min.

df817935-1ddd-4514-9d8c-e94e29920ebc984766666This is how the white out looks like

The weather forecast says that it should clear up tomorrow afternoon and we all look forward to that. My plan to get to Thyls Corner on the 23rd is getting tight and we might not get there until the 24th. Everyone is in good mood despite the hard work and looking forward to arriving to the next cache at Thyls where we will have clean clothes and the possibility to get rid of some stuff we do not need anymore. We are also happy that we have now gone over 500 km or 502 to be exact 🙂

Best regards

Einar”

Camp 25 at 84°14’224 S 80°39’357 W (end of 19th of December)

Camp 26 at 84°24’496 S 80°40’832 W. (end of 20th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Past the 84th degree south

Einar’s team are now past the 84th degree south. We congratulate them of course. Here is Einar’s latest message:

“Hi. Yesterday was a great day, sunny and bright weather with about 10 knots wind from south and the temperature at -13°C. We still had the monster sastrugis but it was not so hard to find your way through until early afternoon when we had a very hard section. We did 23,9 km in 7 hours and 15 minutes.

ff366574-6191-484d-ab16-01d1be4853cb-1738955142_cropExample of a sastrugi snow wave

Today the weather was sunny but in the late afternoon the sky got covered with clouds. We just managed to camp before we had a total white out. The sastrugis became smaller but at the same time harder to negotiate a good route through the so the day was quite rough. Today we did all four sections with one hour and 50 minutes each, so the day ended with 23,3 km. We have now 113 to go to Thyls corner and the plan is to do that in 5 days.

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 23 at 83°52’026 S 80°43’585 W (end of 17th of December)

Camp 24 at 84°04’526 S 80°38’214 W (end of 18th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

 

– bh

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415 km and counting

In the morning of the 15th of December, the wind was blowing hard and howling at over 20 knots around 10 am. This of course slowed the team down as the visibility was considerably reduced and the snow conditions got a lot worse.

“Our Rab shelter came very handy in these conditions as it is very difficult to eat outside. The wind born snow drift is more like sand than any normal snow. Pulling the pulkas through this terrible snow, against the wind and through the sastrugis demanded a lot of effort so we stopped early and put up camp. 4,5 hours and 12,7 km.”

Well, not too bad on a very demanding day with rough conditions.

Conditions each day can be very different and a bad day were it´s only possible to cover short distance can be followed by a great day with good weather and a good distance covered.

“This morning [16th of December] the weather was excellent and became one of the three best days we have had during the expedition. No shelter for lunch and good condition. The sastrugis are still very big and in the attached picture you can see the other expedition members sitting in them. We do a lot of zigzag between them and over them when needed and this affects our travel speed but it was still a good day with 23 km in 7 hours.”

20141216_105422No need for the Rab shelter on this beautiful day

That´s much better. They are quite content now, having done 415 km in total. Their plan is still to be at the next cache on the 23rd of December and that means 160 km to go in 7 days.

Camp 21 83°26’879 S 80°36’041 W (end of 15th of December)

Camp 22 83°39’228 S 80°36’796 W (end of 16th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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One third of the way behind

On Saturday the team started out in easy terrain but later on got to an area with big sastrugis and at the same time the visibility got worse. “During some time we did not see a thing, heaven and earth became one inseparable white mass we fumbled our way through.” Still, they managed to do 20,7 km like mentioned in last post.

Yesterday, Sunday the 14th of December, the weather was better than expected. Cloudy forecast but the weather turned out to be excellent. But the sastrugis only became bigger. “Terrain was a bit easier [than on Saturday] in the morning but in the afternoon we got “monster” sastrugis up to two meter high. We did 21,4 km today”

20141214_162419Bill passing one of the sastrugi waves

Total distance they have done now is 380 km and that means they have gone one third of the way. They now have 195 km to the next cache at Thyls corner. Forecast for tomorrow [Monday 15th of December] is very windy so they are going to see in the morning if that will be a rest day or not.

20141213_175253Sastrugis make the surface uneven and harder to ski over

Camp 20 at 83°20’020 S 80°35’620 W (end of 14th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Heavy loads but good progress in nice weather

Einar and his team got to their first cache recently. The sleds had been getting much lighter as they used up the food and fuel. But after picking up more of both, the sleds became heavy again. Let´s see what Einar him self has to say about this.

“Last two days have been hard work with heavier sleds and rough climbing terrain. It helped that weather has been excellent and yesterday we had lunch for the first time outside in stead of sitting in the Rab emergency shelter we usually use for lunch break. We had no wind during the whole day. Yesterday [10th of December] we did 19,8 km and today [11th of December] 20,4 km. This morning we repaired Tim’s ski, it was delaminating in back and we used super glue to fix it. It seems to have worked.”

In the morning of the 11th of December they passed 300 km and in the end of the day they had done 318 km. Now they have 259 km to go until Thyls Corner where next cache is waiting.

20141211_210754Photo of a typical camp with the toilet in front, a very important building.

Einar tells us that their days have become very routined now.

“We wake up at 6 am, pack our things and have breakfast. We of course need to melt a lot of snow for the breakfast and to drink during the day. That can take up to one and a half hour. We normally start skiing at 8:45 and we ski 4 sections of one hour and forty five minutes each. We have two short breaks and one long where we put up the Rab emergency shelter so we can sit longer and eat. We normally stop between 5:30 and 6:00 pm and put up the camp. That takes up to one and a half hour and then of course we have dinner. Dinner is finished around 9:00 and we are normally snoring (according to Tim) soon after 10. Yesterday [12th of December] the terrain was better than Wednesday and we did 21,4km and today [13th of December] we did 20,7 km in sastrugis that became quite big by the late afternoon.”

SP_teamThis is how they look like during the day

Camp 16 at 82°34’960 S 80°48’588 W (end of 10th of December)
Camp 17 at 82°45’895 S 80°42’719 W (end of 11th of December)
Camp 18 at 82°57’424 S 80°41’577 W (end of 12th of December)
Camp 19 at 83°08’547 S 80°40’925 W (end of 13th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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