Distance to go:
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.
Another Day Closer to Home (Day 76)
Day 76: S86° 49' 6", E159° 37' 12"
Duration: 8 Hr 30 Min
Daily distance: 20.7 Mi
Distance to go: 678.3 Mi
Temperature: -27 °C
Wind chill: -41 °C
Altitude: 9485 Ft
It was cold and windy again on the featureless plateau today. The hours slid by more quickly for me than they did yesterday, which was a relief, though Tarka was feeling chilled most of the time (and wearing everything he has except his down jacket) and said that anything colder might prove problematic.
We have no accurate way out here of determining how much weight or body fat we've each lost, but we did a lot of testing before we left the UK and I was definitely the chubbier of this duo (and proudly so: I'd worked hard and defied heartburn and disapproving looks in the gym to get to 20% body fat and a sizeable belly) so it's likely that Tarka simply has less insulation than I do now. Being lanky doesn't help either; he has a greater surface area radiating heat away, especially in this sort of windchill.
Tarka and I have been moaning and grumbling about the plateau an awful lot, and it's certainly an extraordinarily harsh and desolate place, but I secretly get the occasional bit of pleasure from passing glances at the wind-formed, wave-like patterns in the snow that we ski over for hours every day. Sliced into eighteen-inch squares, framed, hung and tastefully-lit in an art gallery, I reckon they'd draw glowing reviews and queuing crowds, but out here, at a zillion acres a time, it's a little overwhelming and it's rare that I really appreciate any beauty in our current surroundings.
It was time for a spot of sled repair in the tent this evening. I managed to break a few of the rivets that connect the runners (mounted on metal strips) to the base of the sled as we came up the Beardmore, and while the damage has been bugging me for a while, it hasn't got any worse or caused any hindrance up here on the flat-ish plateau. Fixing it has been on the to-do list for a while, so we finally stuck it back on with some epoxy this evening, the runners are taped down to let it set overnight and we'll see how it holds tomorrow.
That's about all there is to report from this little tent this evening. It's good to be inside 86 degrees south now, and our next depot - at the top of the Beardmore - should be five days' travel away...