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.
N69° 11' 51.4", W030° 16' 05.1"
Temperature: -14 °C
Wind chill: -24 °C
Wind speed: 15 MPH
I suppose it was inevitable that at some point I would have to write a blog post and today is that day! The good news is that you'll only have to put up with my writing very rarely as Ben loves writing posts so the job has fallen mainly to him whilst I build walls around the tent and melt water.
Anyhow as Ben mentioned yesterday, we wondered past a large crack in the ice that was perfect to practice our crevasse rescue techniques. So today we did exactly that! Crevasse rescue is one of those things that you need to know like the back of your hand if you travel on glaciers, but hope that you'll never need to use for real.
Unfortunately (or fortunately) I seem to have had more than my fair share of having to do rescues for real so I thought I would impart some of that knowledge. Just to compound matters our expedition has a couple of added twists... the first being a huge polar sledge and the second being that we need to keep everything as simple, light and universal as possible. It's generally better to take one thing that can do two jobs rather than two things that do one job each.
The first half of the day was spent going through knots and theory over and over and over again. Not only do you need to know the theory and understand the principle of extraction but you also need to do it without thinking, under pressure and with a pair of mitts.
Once that was (almost) mastered, then came the moment of truth and I pushed a sledge off the edge of our test crevasse. We methodically went through every phase of the extraction step by step putting the theory into slow motion practice until all the bits of rope and knots started to make sense to Ben. To finish the day off I lowered down the crevasse and taught him how to self-extract back up a rope using prusiks.
A very successful day and now that the basics are covered tomorrow we will put all the parts together and simulate a load of scenarios and try them for real.