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.
It's been another day of crevasse training today, though some of it was curtailed through the discovery that spending a few hours hours yesterday hanging/falling in my harness (we're testing ultralight and unpadded Cilao race harnesses that could probably double as thongs) has left me with whopping great bruises on my hip bones.
Admitting this to Tarka - who used to play professional rugby and who I've spotted undoing iced-up knots with his teeth when it's too cold to remove mittens - was something my ego didn't enjoy a great deal. We carried on with a few concessions to my bruised hips/pride and abseiled off a selection of improvised anchors (including an ice axe, a pair of skis and a big loop dug in the snow) before Tarka's piece de resistance, in which we set up a pulley system to get two loaded sledges across an open crevasse.Things will have gone very wonky indeed if we have to use this in Antarctica, but it was all good practice.
Thick cloud descended first on the surrounding mountains and then on us this afternoon and we can't see much at all now beyond a flat white fog. I heard snow falling on the tent as I started typing this (which sounds more like light rain - the snow here is usually fine and gritty rather than soft and fluffy) but that's been replaced by the din of our little XGK stove, which sounds a bit like a rocket struggling to escape a launchpad, and a bit like a detuned and very loud radio blaring static. I suspect it's also not dissimilar in effect to having a car exhaust pipe chugging away at one end of the inside of our tent, so for the next hour or so at least we're not quite living in the pristine serenity that you might be imagining...