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 on the Beardmore (Day 82)

Day 82: S84° 56' 52.08", E164° 41' 6.72"

Duration: 9 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 23.5 Mi

Distance to go: 538.7 Mi

Temperature: -9 °C

Wind chill: -21 °C

Altitude: 5558 Ft

Today ranks among our hardest yet on this expedition, but we finished it with a real sense of accomplishment, if a little worse for wear. Tarka said this evening as we wearily pitched our tent on a tiny patch of snow in hundreds of acres of blue ice that he'd never felt this beaten-up in two years of playing professional rugby.

We're on the glacier proper now, north of Buckley Island, which as you can see in the photo, we're parked just in front of.

We've descended about 600 vertical metres since our last camp, and much of that descent was on a heavily-crevassed snowfield to the south of Buckley Island and on a steep blue ice slope to its east. We'd privately decided that these two sections would be perhaps the most challenging we'd face on the glacier (though I never blogged about that for fear of alarming our mothers) so it was good to get them out of the way with relatively little drama, though we've both fallen over a few times today and we're nursing a few bruises.

We were on crampons for about half the day, which was a peculiar feeling after so many weeks sliding along on skis, and on the steep sections we fastened the sledges together in tandem, with one person in front leading (the easy job) and one person at the back, steering and braking the whole shebang (not so easy).

If we carry on at this pace, we should be at the bottom in four days, which is an exciting thought, as it feels like we'll be home and dry once we're back on the flat, low-altitude Ross Ice Shelf and zipping between depots back to our finish line at the shore of Ross Island.

Andy sent us a few questions, which I'll answer tomorrow, but one that made me giggle was whether we boiled our socks to wash them. The answer is a definite no; we only have one pot and that's kept pristine for snow melting. The thought of putting either of our pairs of socks in there (normally worn non-stop for about three weeks until we swap them for a fresh pair) is, even our current squalid state, too much to entertain.

More soon, and thank you for following along.


# Richard Pierce, January 15th 2014

Thanks for letting us follow along!

This is the decisive part of the journey, the day you’ve just completed, and the next four days. I’m glad you feel beaten up from the falling over rather than anything else (that does make sense, honestly).

Be careful on the glacier. I think we’d all prefer you to take a day longer than planned than take any risks on there.

God Speed.


# wonderwoman, January 15th 2014

These are very exiting days! I do hope you have strenght to keep focused and go down safely. Try to have a good rest and sleep as well as possible. I believe you can do this. We send you love from Finland and pray for you.

# Christian P, January 15th 2014

“Ohhhh happy da!” You made it back on the Beardmore..congratulations. Take care of each other while descending, stay strong and keep your eyes open (of course to enjoy the scenery, too).
Good to read about your progress you made..brings me a good start into the day, as well. Regards from Berlin

# Rosie Vidovix Unsworth, January 15th 2014

This expedition was never going to be a picnic and going past the Beardmore twice is just part of the challenge.
You were prepared before and you are even more prepared now. Watch your steps and read you tomorrow.

# Offroading Home, January 15th 2014

Those of us merely following on Google Earth have actually watched your difficulty increase, even though you didn’t mention it. It must be a real tap-dance sometimes knowing what to put in print between parents, friends and sponsors.

Perhaps a few statistics might help ya’ll understand what kind of following you have reading your (almost) daily tomes. The free Google Earth Resource Map that Offroading Home offers to merely supplement the “real-time” map the expedition offers [ ] has been uploaded 3,827 times as of the time of this comment.

It’s solely designed as a supplement to the expeditions Google Earth map and has links back to all the blog articles in addition to the numerous overlays of special items of interest.  It’s being updated to be more useful to followers almost weekly and this week we’ve added tick-marks that disclose the date and time each mark was passed.  The past three days average hourly distances have decreased and (forgive me for bringing up math) standard deviation has decreased as well.  As if YOU needed anything to tell you, the trail has not only gotten MORE difficult but more UNIFORMLY difficult as well.  It WILL be good to get to the ice sheet, where the difficult stretches are at least sporadic.

I’ll say it again. Hope you’re getting some good pictures even if you don’t post ‘em.  Take ‘em while there’s something to see except white - and, remember, there’s a lot more than just the Island.  Will you get a photo of Lizard Point to your left?  There’s got to be a story behind its name!

# Catherine, January 15th 2014

Dear Ben and Tarka,
So very well done , another day closer to your incredible achievement, have been following along your entire journey with awe! Take good care these next few days,
From windy Rottingdean.

# Steffen, January 15th 2014

Hey there,
I’ve been following your expedition here from day one but never left a comment until now. I just want to thank you for sharing this experience with us, amazing to see what you guys are doing there and how technology can make us take part in that so directly. Ben, I’ve seen you at the Intel press conference at IFA in Berlin last year, hope you’ll be there again this year to share some more information on your time in Scott’s footprints.
Keep going dudes, all the best from Germany!

# Marina Kleinwort, January 15th 2014

Morning Ben & Tarka.  I think your “worse for wear” and mine might look and feel somewhat different!  We can compare notes when you get home!  Keen as you and your readers are to get down the mighty Beardmore never have the words “more haste, less speed"sounded more relevant.  The first thing I still do in the morning is reach for my ipad and read your blog.  You just might have to continue blogging once this expedition is done…  you have an ever growing swarm of fans holding on to your every word.  XXXX

# Lee Ha, January 15th 2014

Seeing an irregular horizon makes my heart pound with excitement, what an amazing feat thus far! I was wondering how long it takes to set up and disassemble your tent and gear for the night/ day? After what your bodies go through during the day, it seems an impossibility to imagine getting ready for ‘bed’ at the end of the traveling day.

# CaninesCashews, January 15th 2014

Hi guys,
What a great first day on the behemoth that is Beardmore.
Agree totally with Richard and Marina - take care on the crampons with those tandem sledges.
Beginning to think Steven Wright (US Comedian) was correct when he said, “Everywhere is within walking distance if you have the time.”!!
Onwards (and downwards!)
Stay Safe

# Uncle Pete, January 15th 2014

I thought I recognised the picture above - see also Day 45 ‘the Chiropractors’- Buckley Island where it is the peak on the left if I am not mistaken.
Ben, Tarka - I understand your wanting to worry folks but it is clear from the ascension blogs that you are now on tricky ground that needs your every step in control - which makes your progress, in mileage terms,yesterday all the more impressive. I wonder if you have any brake mechanism on the sledges that can be operated by the brake man, or are you on brute strength (and skill) alone? All these questions can wait until you are back on the Ice Shelf, right now we only wish for your safe return with minimum bruising! Downward Ho!

# Andy Lawrence, January 15th 2014

I can answer the point re brakes, no they don’t. It’s only on these bits that such a thing would have any use otherwise it would be extraneous weight and anyway would depend on brute strength to deploy. So it’s dig in the crampons and the ski poles and lean backwards!

# Alex Hibbert, January 15th 2014


A fairly standard ‘brake’ to use is a climbing sling tied in a lark’s foot around the nose loop and left to run under the runners. It’s quick, reversible and doesn’t damage runners. It makes blue ice and icefalls a lot safer!

# dave, January 15th 2014

Ben and Tarka,
Your hard work is paying off. Thicker air. Warmer temperatures. Beautiful surroundings. Be sure to take photos and videos. This is definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  Be safe.
Dave in Detroit, Michigan

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