the Journey

  • Distance to go: 0 Mi

    Ben and Tarka will cover 1800 miles starting from Scott's Terra Nova Hut at the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back to the coast again. That's equivalent to 69 back-to-back marathons hauling up to 200kg each (the weight of roughly two adult men) of kit and supplies necessary to survive.

    Distances here are shown in statute miles.

Adios Beardmore (Day 87)

Day 87: S83° 42' 59.65", E170° 44' 11.76"

Duration: 9 Hr

Daily distance: 24.5 Mi

Distance to go: 442.1 Mi

Temperature: -4 °C

Wind chill: -12 °C

Altitude: 1168 Ft

Today's tale was rather different to yesterday's. The wind was still blowing this morning though its ferocity had waned, and it calmed even further to give us a gentle tailwind all day as we travelled under the clearest of blue skies. We started the day on crampons but the depth of the surface snow cover increased as we descended and we were able to switch to skis after an hour or so, staying on them for the remainder of the day.

The surface was patchy and crusty until mid-way through the afternoon, hiding a great deal of crevasses, though our skis were "against the grain" and the widest were only a few feet across, and almost all closed-up by snow bridges, so we sped along with our skis safely spanning the gaps. Since about 3pm, we've had much deeper snow and much easier terrain as Mount Hope came into clear view and we neared the vast mouth of this giant glacier.

We covered just shy of 25 miles (40km) today and we're parked just over 4 miles (7km) away from our depot, which we'll pick up tomorrow morning before climbing up and through the Gateway, the small col that Shackleton identified as a safe route from the Ross Ice Shelf on to the Beardmore.

After swearing yesterday that we hated this place and that we were never coming back, I felt surprisingly emotional as we approached the final stretch of the glacier this evening, especially as I looked back along our tracks towards the Cloudmaker. The Beardmore - both the ascent and the descent - was the part of this journey that held the most fear and apprehension for me, and also the only part where I felt my experience lagged substantially behind Tarka's (who lives in the Alps and has spent hundreds of days on glaciers, both there, in Patagonia and in the Himalayas) so it's been an extraordinary learning curve, and an experience that has at times pushed me a long way beyond my comfort zone.

I suspect, like a microcosm of this entire expedition, that it will be an experience that was pretty hellish for most of the time I was going through it, but one that I'll look back on fondly (from a comfortable armchair, by a fire) as one of the most special times of my entire life.


# Mal Owen, January 20th 2014

This is the day when you will pass the point where you lay in your tent and said, if I may quote you,
“Getting to the top, and seeing what lay on the other side, is a moment I’ll remember and treasure for the rest of my life”...“It is a magical, magical place”.....“I am a lucky, lucky boy”..... too right on all counts…. how well you have both done….through the Gateway you go !

# Austin Duryea, January 21st 2014

Heroes all the way. Awesome job on everything. Now comes the part where you come back and everyone celebrates. Especially you and your group. I’ve been following you from the beggining and you have been my hero all the way. When I was younger I wanted to cross the South Pole and I thought it was impossible. Know I know that it doesn’t matter who you are, you could set out to do anything. Good job guys and stay warm!

# Richard Pierce, January 20th 2014

Dear, dear boys,

What a wonderful effort after the hardest of days the day before. I am so pleased that you achieved such an immense distance, on the Ice and in your minds. A relief, too, that your depot is so close.

Take great care through the Gateway. It is the final serrated part of the quest, and it is not beyond old Beardmore to have a sting in his tail.

That you are creating such wonderful memories for yourselves is gratifying, what takes your journey another step towards greatness is that you are creating lifelong memories for us, too.

God Speed.


# Jored, January 20th 2014

Outstanding. You are doing great. Now comes the “easy” part.
You’ll make it and go straight into history.
Fortitudine Vincimus from Spain.

# dj, January 20th 2014

Yes… it’s easy to be philosophical when you’re not up to your… er… waist in alligators. But it’s the last thing you want to hear when you are!  We all could tell, by watching your mileages, that we’d get a much different blog post today than yesterday.  Congratulations!


# Jörg, January 20th 2014

Heroes. Absolute heroes.

# Uncle Pete, January 20th 2014

Just what we hoped we would see! Well done. Heed Richard’s (as usual) wise words - don’t get complacent but nevertheless bask in the glow of the amazing achievement thus far, brfilliant, as they say.As they also say ‘there’s many a slip twixt cup and lip’. Eat well on your recovered supplies and keep your guard up - you are still in an unforgiving environment.
Once through the pass you will have time to reflect on the extraordinary ups and downs of your quest, and know that you have both experienced something very unique. Thanks for sharing it with us and we look forward to much more detail once we know you are back on Terra Firma! Best wishes for the last leg.

# Hilary, January 20th 2014

Wow, that was an early start this morning! I checked first thing at 7.35am and you’d already done a whole degree North. As you haven’t moved for the last hour and a half, I presume you are at your depot now. Take care on the final stretch, back on the Ice Shelf tonight hopefully. You are both inspirational and I’m loving following this blog. I’ve finished Heart of the Antarctic now and I’ve just started The Worst Journey in the World. The Antarctic is my new passion due to your blog bringing it all to real life. So thank you for keeping us all up to date each day. It’s like we’re living it with you but from a much warmer place. 1C in Herefordshire this morning.

# mark w, January 20th 2014

Well done on getting to the bottom of the Beardmore, and one really has to feel that the worst is behind and the barrier slog is “all” that is left!
Can I ask people to remember Edgar Evans at this point in your journey. He was the first man of the polar party to die, and this was a Very heavy blow to the other four.
For those interested, Swansea is raising money for a statue to this great man - (he is the only one of the polar party without a statue) more details at this link!

# Lydia , January 20th 2014

I have had my heart in my mouth and a knot in my stomach most of this weekend thinking of you two with everything crossed hoping your decent would be a safe one. Watching yesterday’s mileage rack up was such a sweet relief.
Ben and Tarka you are the most incredible individuals and as a team your are unbeatable, a force not to be reckoned with.
Keep safe, keep strong for tomorrow you may have double rations.
Lydia x

# Susan from Michigan, January 20th 2014

I am so glad to hear you both are doing much better. As I had said in an earlier post I refer to you as “my boys” and it was very difficult to sit in my warm house and read that “my boys” were going through much rougher conditions than they had been. I can’t imagine anyone having to endure what you guys have so courageously battled through everyday. You are right about one day looking back and this will be just a great memory. As always, stay safe and enjoy your day. I look forward to hearing about what your day has been like in the next blog.

# Jen, January 20th 2014

Amazing guys. Most incredible story to tell, and hold with you. I wish you well for the next step.

# Mal Owen, January 20th 2014

Kevin suggested Kyffin and the Crampons for pop/rock group name… maybe the Battling Beardmores or the Beardmore Battlers ?

# Lydia, January 20th 2014

Or Beardsmore and Backagain Boys (BBB’s).......

# Andrea, January 20th 2014

Ben Guin and the Hungries
Blue Ice and the Breezers
Sister SledgeS Brothers

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