More crevasses and cooler weather

Einar and the team staid two nights at camp 39. Got a good rest and then continued after stocking up. As we heard about recently, they manage to cover long distances in the last few days before Camp 39. The first two days after they left the camp have been a bit tougher due to weather and conditions.

“Yesterday [6th of January] morning we started our last part of the expedition with pulkas heavy with provisions and fuel. We followed the advice of the Norwegian guide and headed slightly easterly in his footsteps (ski tracks). It came out to be a bad advice.  Contrary to what he said there were indeed two big crevasses on this way. I chose to rope up and cross them rather than making a 7 to 8 km detour,  but this did cost us valuable time. Thus the days covered distance was only 17,8 km.

20150107_204833A typical camp site in the middle of a sastruki field

Today [7th of January] the wind has been blowing at 15 to 20 knots and the temperature is -24 °C. It was definitely the coldest day so far.  I was wearing my Bergans polar skirt for the first time and it works well. With the wind and the cold the snow becomes sticky and it was really hard to pull.  We only skied mere 18,6 km in more than 7 hours which is one of the lowest speed we have had for a long time. Tomorrow the wind is supposed to drop to 10 knots so hopefully the skiing conditions will improve. It will still be cold but that is what can be expected here at our latitude and altitude.  We are now at 2480 m.

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 40 at 87°32’466 S 81°53’885 W (end of 6th of January)
Camp 41 at 87°42’478 S 81°44’894 W (end of 7th of January)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Crevasse in the kitchen

Few days ago, a solo kiter was coming towards our team. They were hoping to meet him but they went past each other without meeting. But there was another team of three that was also coming their way and now they just met them.

The progress has been really good lately and it looks like Einar’s plans will hold.

“Yesterday [4th of January] was a big day. We skied 29 km to get all the way to our cache in one day. The weather was great, sunny and breeze from southeast. We hat quite a bit of big sastrukis on the way and some hills up and down. We are now at 2330 m and have gained almost 1000 m last 10 days. We camped close to the cache and when I was digging a hole in the vestibule which also serves as kitchen, I came down to a 15 cm wide crevasse. I could not see the bottom but it did not seem to get any wider further down. I first thought that I would have to move the tent but then decided to shovel some snow in to the fissure and stuff it in with my foot. It works and the snow is frozen in. When I sit in the tent door, cooking and managing the stoves, it feels funny to know that there is a bottomless crevasse under my feet:)

Another important event occurred yesterday when we met the first people we have seen since we started our expedition 42 days ago. It was a french couple with their Norwegian guide, coming from the Pole and on their way to Hercules inlet where we started. We had a good chat and me and the guide shared information about the routes ahead.

20150104_222118Our team met another team, a French couple and their Norwegian guide.

Today [5th of January] we had a rest day. We attack the last part tomorrow and my plan is to get to the Pole in 13 days.

Best regards,

Einar”

Camp 39 at 87°22’999 S 82°15’138 W (end of 4th of January. They staid there two nights.)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Two important milestones

The South Pole team is still going strong and travelling far each day even though they have been experiencing uneven snow for the last two days.

„The two last days have been a bit hard.  We now have sastrugis again and this time they are from southeast to northwest, so we have to go across each and every one instead of skiing along them as we some times could before. Yesterday [2nd of January] we had the glacier landscape rising fast and before each uphill there was a considerable descent.  When we where supposed to stop and put up camp we found our self’s on a big slope with icy snow and nowhere to put up a tent.  So we skied on and it took an extra hour to get to the flat with better snow to camp on. And as a result we had a big day,  28 km and 200 m altitude gain despite the descent we also did. So we are now above 2000m and it is getting a little colder  which among other means that my face mask is constantly freezing to my beard 🙁

20150103_180112Tim, Hugh and Bill after the a skiing session just before putting up tents.

Today [3rd of January] we woke up half an hour later than usual. We were a bit slow to start after the big day yesterday but after we got going we did 22 km of Sastrugi crossings and added some altitude so we are now at 2150 m with more to come since we camped just before a big hill. Two important milestones where passed today,  the 87°S and the 800 km point.  We have now done 805 km.

Best regards
Einar“

Camp 37 at 86°55’308 S 81°32’543 W (end of 2nd of January)
Camp 38 at 87°07’413 S 81°43’668 W (end of 3rd of January)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Happy New year from Antarctica

We continue to get positive news from our South Pole team. Conditions have improved, the team is happy, working well together and all is going as hoped for. In his latest message, Einar tells us about the good progress they´ve made:

“Dear friends. Happy New year.

We celebrated the new year with a taste of whiskey before going early to bed as usually 🙂

Last couple of days we have been going strong as the days before.  Weather has been very good, sunny and slightly windy from south. Yesterday [31st of December] the snow was sticky in the morning but the gliding was better in the afternoon and today [1st of January] the gliding was very good. We are gaining altitude much faster these days than before Thyls mountains and on the “steepest” part (nothing is really steep here) we now have sastrugis from south east right across our route in stead of the normal ones that come from the south south west.  We have climbed over 500 m in a week and are now at 1900 m. Yesterday’s distance was 24,1 km and today we skied 26,2 km. This has taken us to a couple of new milestones.  We have now done 755 km total which is over two thirds of the way to the Pole and we have now less than 400 km to go.

20150101_192741A selfie from Einar. Antarctica is obviously not treating him too bad. 

We had hoped to meet the solo kiter that was heading our way but yesterday we saw his fresh track and saw that he had passed slightly East of us.  We still hope to meet the french couple and their guide which should be at the cache on a similar time as we. We will see.

Best regards, Einar”

Camp 35 at 86°26’221 S 81°10’210 W, Temperatures -17°C. (end of 31st of December, 2014)
Camp 36 at 86°40’281 S 81°14’755 W.  Temperatures -16°C. (end of 1st of January, 2015)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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Past the 86th degree and over 700 km done so far

Einar and his team are going fast and all is well. They´ve one over 700 km and are now past the 86th degree. Here is Einar’s latest message:

“Yesterday [29th of December] we had another very good weather day. The surface
was the best we have had during the whole expedition, at times like skiing on a snow covered frozen lake back home. The Thyl mountains can still be seen in the distance but are now quite far. We skied for 7 hours and 30 minutes and covered 25,7 km.

dbdfb2a9-32d8-42d0-991c-98259b2f6d832127161318_editBill and Hugh at the end of the days skiing

Today’s [30th of December] weather was also very good but a little more wind than yesterday so we were happy having lunch in the Rab shelter. The wind and the cold also makes the snow a bit sticky so pulling is harder but we still made good progress and we covered 24,7 km. We made two important milestones today, we have passed 86°S and made more than 700 km.

Best regards
Einar”

Camp 33 at 85°59’970 S 81°07’720 W (end of 29th of December)
Camp 34 at 86°13’255 S 81°11’735 W (end of 30th of December)

Click here to view the progress on a map

– bh

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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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