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.

Back in the Saddle (Day 71)

Day 71: S88° 03' 14.04", E159° 10' 0.54"

Duration: 4 Hr

Daily distance: 9 Mi

Distance to go: 763.7 Mi

Temperature: -20 °C

Wind chill: -30 °C

Altitude: 10066 Ft

A modest day for us today (we slept for ten hours and skied for four hours after a pretty lazy start) and a correspondingly short update this evening as I'm on snow-melting and cooking duty.

Only now, after a lot of sleep and a lot of food, are we starting to realise quite how depleted we were a few days ago. It's still pretty fresh outside (-30 degrees C. windchill all day today) but our ability to generate heat and to carry out basic tasks outside in thin gloves (like zipping up salopettes after venturing out for a poo with a view) has increased dramatically, and I woke up warm this morning instead of feeling chilled and miserable.

Interestingly, Tarka and I have both gone from being almost unable to hold a train of thought, other than willing ourselves to carry on (and being haunted by food fantasies and cravings) to being able to daydream away the four hours we travelled today in relative happiness.

We'll do a full day tomorrow and should finish slap bang at the last depot we left, which is 21 miles (34km) away from where we're camped this evening. We were tantalisingly close to reaching it before we called for the resupply, but the more we reflect on things, the more I'm convinced the decision was the right and responsible thing to do, and even if we'd reached it on the verge of collapse, I'm not sure we'd have recovered at all before starting our descent of the Beardmore, a 180km stretch of technical, crevassed glacier where we have almost no chance of being reached by aircraft if we'd got into trouble.

We'll pick up our Pilot at the depot (our satellite antenna that allows to get online at far higher speeds than the phone we're using at the moment*) so we'll be able to read and respond to some of you then, but I know we received an overwhelming number of comments yesterday, and Tarka and I are really grateful for the support you're giving us.

You'll be glad to hear his thumbs are on the mend, and we're indebted to our doctor, Rob Conway, for his advice. A special mention also goes to Tony Haile for the best video message yet (Andy, my expedition manager, asked lots of friends and family to film short messages of support and we have them on the Ultrabook here, password-protected so Andy can drip-feed us motivation as and when we need it).

*To give you an idea of the difference, the heavily-compressed photos we're sending back by phone take about 25 minutes each to upload. In contrast, the Pilot sends a high-resolution photo in about a minute, and a 60-second HD video takes about six or seven minutes. We'll send a video back in the next few days...


# Allison & Mark, January 4th 2014

Yey…fantastic. My heart can’t stand much more of this. Keep safe lads and well done. You have courage beyond measure.

# Rich/Ione, January 4th 2014

By all accounts it sounds like Thumbs Up then. Keep on trucking - as the song goes.

# Richard Pierce, January 4th 2014

All this is good. Sensible tactics at this point. Good luck with reaching the depot, and then picking your way back down the Beardmore. So glad you’re still going, and going and well.

God Speed.


# Helena, January 4th 2014

Guys, we are with you! Friends from Brno, Czech Republic

# Hilary, January 4th 2014

Yay! Glad you’re feeling better. Shackleton’s team on their meagre rations used to dream about food too, spending all day making up recipes. Good luck with getting to the depot today! I’ll be following from the comfort of my armchair as usual (and refreshing the screen numerous times to track your current position)!

# Jennifer, January 4th 2014

So relieved to see you are recovering well!

No sane person would ever say you made the wrong decision by saving your lives,
which is merely what you did.

Stay strong.

# wonderwoman, January 4th 2014

So relieved to see you are getting better. It was a close save. We send you love from Finland and pray for you as we go mushing our huskyteams now.

# Jon Trusler, January 4th 2014

I was lucky enough to read about you guys on Facebook a week before you left.  Following you guys has been a constant reminder that there are people always out there pushing the limits.  One of my favorite authors Terry Goodkind wrote this great quote, “Deserve Victory"and I think you guys definitely are on the road to qualifying for that :)

# Shelly, January 4th 2014

Great to see both of you. I think that you deserved the rest. My best to both of you on the journey to and down the Beardmore.

# Sarah de la Fosse, January 4th 2014


# Debbie Browning, January 4th 2014

I have just read ‘resupply’ and am in tears. I have been following your indescribably brave journey and can’t tell you how inspirational you both are. Your message was beautiful in its honesty and depth and it gives us all a pause for thought on what life is all about . I have read of your wonderful friendship,quiet support,your courage, ambition, determination, survival and drive to embrace all that is human and experience the limits of our minds and bodies. That day when you needed the resupply and rest was a practical step along your journey and has enabled you to carry on. Reaching that low makes us all realise just how extreme the challenge is and how amazing you have been already. I think your fantastic and heads held high you will finish this epic journey exhilarated and no doubt will hold something so special in your hearts that only you and Tarka will ever understand and know that it was all worth it. One foot in front of the other xxxx

# Andrea TP, January 4th 2014

So glad to see your faces again, guys, and to know you’re feeling considerably better. And yes Ben, as so many have agreed the previous day, your decision was the right and responsible thing to do.
I will follow your journey through the Beardmore again and all the way back.
You deserve it.
My best wishes and cheers from Italy. Andrea.

# Johnny, January 4th 2014

Good call you guys!you could well have ended up the creek,having read dr mike stroud’s book(signed btw!☺️)I can only imagine how hellish it can be,take the very best care of yourselves and each other!keep going!you guys are in my thoughts J

# Michal, January 4th 2014

Take care my friend. I wish you all the best at your journey back . Best wishes and cheers from the Czech Republic (The Krkonose Mt.)

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