The South Pole Expedition
Recently, Polar ExplorersWeb published an interview with our Guide Einar Torfi Finnsson who guided three clients to the South Pole, an expedition that lasted for almost two months and ended on the 19th of January 2015.
In the interview Einar tells about the expedition, about the gear he used, the food, the routine and much more. Very interesting to get first hand information about practical things that matter in an real Polar expedition.
South Pole guide, Einar Torfi Finnsson, top gear: a skirt, a mask and boot liners
In English – Published on the 6th of March, 2015.
A local news paper here in Iceland published an article and an interview with Einar Torfi mid February. There you have both photos and videos.
57 dagar og 1130 kílómetrar
In Icelandic – Published in Morgunblaðið (internet version) on the 15th of February, 2015.
Here are some links to media coverage after Einar Torfi and his team arrived to the South Pole on the 19th of January, 2015.
Radio Interview with Einar after he arrived to the South Pole, aired on the 20th of January, 2015.
In Icelandic – RÚV (national radio). Interview starts at 41:10. It´s online for two weeks after first release (that is 20th of January, 2015).
Komst á Suðurpólinn í kvöld
In Icelandic – Published in Morgunblaðið (internet version) on the 19th of January, 2015.
Einar Torfi á suðurpólnum: „Þetta er svolítið súrrealískt“
In Icelandic – Published on Visir.is (web media) on the 20th of January, 2015
For older media reports about the expedition see here (around Chrismas and new year).
Last night (19th of January) we reported about Einar and his team arriving to the South Pole. Later on he wrote to us about the last two days of the journey. So here it goes:
“I found yesterday [18th of January] quite hard, snow was sticky as it has been last days and I was not feeling particularly good. The cold is now intense enough to freeze the evaporation from our bodies before it gets to the outer layers so the breathing capacity of our clothes is largely reduced and they are damp or half wet in the evening. We managed to make 21,9 km in 8 active hours. I was glad at the end of this day that our trip is coming to an end.
The weather this morning [19th of January] looked really bad. Strong wind at about 20 knots, spin drift and bad visibility. Luckily it cleared up about when we started skiing and the weather became very good. When we had about 15km to go we saw the first buildings of the American research station in the distance and that motivated us. We finally skied into camp at about 6:30 pm [10:30 pm GMT] and got a warm welcome from the ALE staff at the Pole. After 1130 km, 57 days of travel and 53 days of skiing, we have finally made it. Yuppie!
Camp 52 at 89°47’392 66°23’672
Camp 53 at the South Pole
Brilliant! Again we congratulate the guys for the achievement and wish them a pleasant journey back to their family and homes. After Einar gets back we will for sure post some more photos and stories about the expedition. Thank you for following up on us.
Another phone call was coming in from Einar Torfi. He just arrived to the South Pole (around 22 GMT) and already had a cold beer to celebrate. He´s still trying to realise what he has just done, will probably take a while. The last day of skiing was fine, the weather was nice and the visibility good. But it´s been a long journey and hard work. Now Einar and the team will finally get a good rest. But first Einar needs to take few phone calls from home, the media is hungry for some news about the expedition. The first phone call actually came in when he still had 2km left 🙂
They will most likely fly back to Union Glacier already tomorrow.
Congratulations from us at IMG to Einar, Hugh, Bill and Tim.
Einar just phoned us (14:25 GMT) and is now only about 14km away from the South Pole. He can already see some buildings around. They have some 5-6 active hours of skiing left to do and will be at the pole between nine and ten GMT tonight. We are looking forward to hear from him again when he´s finished, nothing can stop him and his hard working team now from getting all the way. More soon…
The latest message from Einar just came in:
“Yesterday [16th of January] we had another day with very little visibility, very cloudy and some few snow grains falling. Temperatures from -19 to -21°C which is quite mild seen where we are. Pulling the sled was very hard but with the 8 active hours we covered the necessary distance to keep plan, 23,5 km.
This morning [17th of January] the temperature was -23 but when we started skiing it started clearing up and the temperature dropped significantly. All our ski masks froze more than usual and we felt on our hands during breaks, how cold it was. When we camped it was -30°C and about 10 knots wind. Today’s skiing conditions where terrible and it was like pulling a sled in sugar. No gliding at all. We still managed to cover 22,3.km but this was one of the hardest day of the expedition.
With only two days and 47 km to go we are all looking very much forward to the arrival to the South Pole and of course fantasising about food and drinks.
Camp 50 at 89°23’855 S 74°29’561 W (end of 16th of January)
Camp 51 at 89°35’805 S 73°13’513 W (end of 17th of January)
Our heroes in Antarctica are still faced by challenging snow conditions but don´t complain too much. Their plan is to be on the South Pole next Monday, 19th of January. Here we have Einar´s latest message:
“The last two days our progress is steady but rather slow. We did 19,2 km yesterday and 21,2 today. The snow continues to be sticky and yesterday afternoon it started to snow. In this Antarctic desert the annual precipitation is very low but during the night we got between 2 and 3 cm of new sticky snow. It was still very cold yesterday, -27°C in the morning and -28° in the evening. This morning the temperature had risen to -20 along with the snowfall. It does not help our progress that we had a total white out for a good part of the day. I got so tired of the floating feeling that I asked Tim to break the trail at the end of the day. And what a relief it is to be behind someone and actually see the ground 🙂
We arrived to the 89th parallel south yesterday and decided to camp on the edge so we didn’t have to carry our poo with us. On the last degree we cannot leave anything and I mean anything, behind. Our poo is carried along in special plastic bags we have to put in the pulkas. This started today and our sleds are now decorated with gray plastic bags with frozen content that I will not describe further.
Yesterday we had another important milestone, when we passed 1000 km. Today we have 1037 km on the counter and 93 to go. We continue to aim for an arrival to the Pole on the 19th.
Camp 48 at 88°59’999 S 77°27’890 W (end of 14th of January)
Camp 49 at 89°11’316 S 76°18’206 W (end of 15th of January)
Einar and the team can definitely feel that the temperature is falling and the snow conditions are challenging. But still they manage to do pretty well and hopefully have only few days left before standing on the South Pole.
“The last two days it has been “very” cloudy and snowing, the Antarctic way. That is we have had some tiny ice or snow crystals in the air which make thin patches of clouds that the sun shines through most of the time. It has continued to be cold (-27°C) and the snow is extremely sticky. Despite the fact that the sleds are getting lighter and that the terrain is getting flatter, we work hard to ski 21 to 22 km per day. Yesterday [12th of January] we did 21,7 km and today [13th of January] 21,4 km in 7 hours and 20 min active moving time. We have had some snow drifting on the surface and that does not help. So it looks like we will continue with this speed the next days. This will bring us to the Pole in 6 more days. We have now skied 997 km and there are only 133 km to go.
Camp 46 at 88°38’543 S 80°31’229 W (end of 12th of January)
Camp 47 at 88°49’943 S 79°31’223 W (end of 13th of January)
As Einar and his team get closer to the South Pole it´s getting colder as they are gaining altitude. Pretty good progress though, despite tough conditions.
“The last two days have been the coldest ones so far. Yesterday [10th of January] was a tough one. We had a 20 knot wind and -27°C. This equals -40° according to Tim’s wind chill table. We could not make a break with out using the Rab shelter and in the end we cut the day short after 6 and a half hour. We still made 18 km despite the wind , sticky snow and bad conditions. One of the things that we are fighting in these low temperatures is that goggles and sun glasses constantly fog and then the humidity freezes on the inside of the lenses. This is annoying but we are getting pretty innovative in dealing with this.
Today [11th of January] the temperature was still -27 but the wind was much lower than yesterday so it was a good travel day. We made 23 km today so we have only 176 to go. This will probably take us 8 more days so arrival to the Pole hopefully on the 19th.
Camp 44 at 88°14’582 S 81°16’206 W (end of 10th of January)
Camp 45 at 88°26’915 S 80°58’978 W (end of 11th of January)
The latest message from Einar was just coming in:
“Last couple of days the weather has been good, sunny, light wind at 5 knots and -24°C. The snow is very sticky and the sleds slide badly so our speed is slower than before the last cache. However we did 20,3 km yesterday [8th of January] and 21,7 today [9th of January]. Our days are still at 7 hours and 20 minutes active skiing time. We are still gaining altitude but not as fast as before the cache point. We are now at 2610 m and frankly I think that I feel the altitude. At least I feel like my breath is a little bit short. The cold has made me add layers. I am now wearing three layers of Bergans merino wool on top, then a pullover and the Rab vapour rise jacket. I am wearing 3 layers of socks in my shoes, the fleece trousers under my Mountain Equipment Fitz Roy pants and the polar skirt. Taking windchill in account the temperatures we are experiencing are equal to -30 to -38°C. My 3 companions all have minor frost bites, one on nose, another on thighs and third on fingertips. I have got away so far but we all have to be very careful with the cold.
Today we passed important landmarks. We passed 88°S and we have now skied more than 900 km. We have 217 km to go to the Pole.
Camp 42 at 87°53’379 S 81°59’562 W (end of 8th of January)
Camp 43 at 88°04’983 S 81°23’728 W (end of 9th of January)