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.

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...


# Dave, January 9th 2014

Ben & Tarka,
Thanks for taking us on this adventure with you. I appreciate the details like fixing the sled and descriptions of the snow.
We had some chilly weather here in Michigan this week that was similsr to what you are experiencing up on the plateau.  On Monday morning it was -27 C with a wind chill of -40 C.  In the short time it took to brush off the car my fingers were going numb. The thought of camping in this kind of cold seems impossible!  On a typical night how warm does it get inside your tent?
Stay safe.

# Intrepid, January 9th 2014

Went flying again, this time all the way up to 39,000 ft. where it’s -63C so just a tad bit colder than your camping trip. 

Good to hear that glue doesn’t freeze ... or does it need heating up first? Hoping the new fix lasts.  Seems you are preparing in all ways for heading back down the blue ice.

Be well. Keep on truckin!!

# mark w, January 9th 2014

Sledge repairs…... Reminds me of the “modifications” Mawson made to his sledge with a small penknife!
A bit of a way to go yet, but best wishes to you both.

# Kyle, January 9th 2014

Hey good luck guys, so fun to watch the whole journey. Isn’t technology great. I see the wind chills were -41C. I live in the southern tip of mainland Canada and our wind chills for the past 2 days were -38 to -40 C. Coldest its been here in 43 years.
Take care out there!

# Kat, January 9th 2014

Mmmm .... I’d like to get me a tube of that epoxy…two-part?  Epoxy does kick of a bit of heat when it goes off, but I’m amazed you can get it to work in those temperatures. I can see sponsorship coming on….

Tarka….can’t you wear your down coat when you’re chilled?

Some of us are quiet, but we’re still here following!  I wonder if the web master can see how many hits this blog has gotten?  How many followers or commenters?

All the bestest best.  As Ali G would say, “Respet”!

# Raven, January 9th 2014

Hello from Vermont USA! I just started following your amazing trek along with my daughter (age 5) who is very curious about your daily food routines! We would love to see pictures of your daily rations and snacks if you have a chance. Wishing you good cheer and full bellies.

# Leigh Phillips , January 9th 2014

Check out some of the videos on the website. There’s a lot of detail on the food there and plenty of other cool stuff too. My girls enjoyed watching them. :-)

# Marty Hazen, January 9th 2014

I’ve been following your incredible journey with great interest and respect gentlemen, and I now find myself waking early to check on progress.  Each morning hoping for more milage than the last.  Which brings me to a question.  Clearly you are looking forward to decending the Beardmore, and I understand the advantages of better conditions and more of that precious O2, but do you expect to take advantage of the slope?  In other words, will that downhill make a significant contribution to daily milage?  Will you be able to ski any of it, or is it a carefull, crampon only struggle?
Best of luck for the remainder gentlemen!  I am delighted and amazed at your daily progress.  And Ben, your posts have been outstanding throughout, I’m sure it’s a challenge to write after such long days.  Well done!

# *M.M*, January 9th 2014

Dear Ben and Tarka,
I have been learning about you in class 4.
We have been Inspired by braveness and how
you put up with all the bad weather Conditions
Thank you
By M.M


# sp, January 9th 2014

you inspire me and my class in PSHE we were learning about being anxious and what it meant and i am guessing you would have felt anxious before you started your expedition.  we all think you are very brave and we hope you have had an amazing trip and have a safe journey back.
from sp and class 4

# Anthea Henton , January 9th 2014

Heeee the adventures of lanky. And lolloper in the Antarctic… Good children’s book name.

Great going guys. Blogs that make me laugh and cry, whilst you are trekking through those conditions. You stunners. Xxxx

# Jarda C., January 9th 2014

Hold on guys and I wish you safe “downhill” on Beardmore!

# Austin Duryea, January 10th 2014

I have to agree with Jennifer. Is there anything we could do to help you and Tarka going. I’ve been following from the begging and it has never been so intense to me. Y’all are so close to home and I knew you would make it from the beggining.

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