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.

Fatigue (Day 78)

Day 78: S86° 11' 6.6", E159° 38' 31.8"

Duration: 9 Hr

Daily distance: 21.9 Mi

Distance to go: 634.7 Mi

Temperature: -20 °C

Wind chill: -31 °C

Altitude: 8910 Ft

Another nine-hour day today here and we're both feeling pretty weary with a kind of deep tiredness that I've never experienced before. The photo (the 99th we've sent back from the tent) is of me in the standard pose I adopt if Tarka pauses while he's in the lead, perhaps to remove a layer of clothing or to double-check his bearing. With the ski poles in my armpits, my wrists dangling in the straps, my knees buckled together and my hips braced by the sledge harness, I can relax to the point of almost falling asleep.

As you can see, the blue skies we've been enjoying of late were replaced by a murky, flat grey today. We were both really lethargic getting going in the tent this morning, and both distinctly lacking in mojo for the first session of the day, which is often the hardest mentally as it entails exchanging a warm, comfy sleeping bag for nine hours of hard work and drudgery in a harness and, in today's case, what might as well have been a grey blindfold.

I find it interesting how little Scott talks about his physical and mental condition - and the daily battle with fatigue they must have been waging - in his diary. On their January 10th, still en route to the Pole after leaving their final depot, all he says about it is that "The work was distressingly hard", and while I know more than most what he's talking about, part of me would love to have heard more about what it actually felt like for them, rather than which way the wind was blowing, or how many hours they travelled for before stopping for lunch and to make tea (for of course they didn't have the vacuum flasks that keep our drinks hot all day).

I'm going to sign off now as I'm on cooking duty and we're having a blow-out double dinner this evening with some of the leftovers from our resupply, in a bid to refill our fuel tanks for the last three days on the plateau. It'll be my brother's birthday by the time this gets published, so I'm sending many happy returns from 86 degrees south to you, Steve. I love you bro.


# Jo, January 11th 2014

The fact that you share almost in real-time what it is like to do this endless journey is very interesting. And it´s somehow bizarre, too. You´re so far away and at the same time you can stay connected to family, team and public through a satellite transmission.
Part of me feels ashamed to read about your suffering. I blame myself of being kind of a voyeur. And yet I can´t help to check your blog everyday because I´m so curious about your progress and the troubles you´re confronted with. To be honest, to read about some suffering adds to the interest. I would feel very different about this particular point if I´d know you personally, that´s for sure. But I promise I very much hope that you´ll only be confronted with problems that you´ll eventually get over with. Seriously, I really want to read the final blog post about reaching Scott´s hut! And I believe this is going to happen… :-)

# Dean Swann, January 12th 2014

Keep up the great work. Your adventure is nothing short of amazing. The world needs more adventurers and explorers like Ben and Tarka.

# Intrepid, January 12th 2014

For Tarka—A little theory.

We are not separate from the planet we live on. A system exists in which the energy flows between the continent and you (and vice versa).  It is a fact that human innovation taps the rich resources of the planet creating energy to use for various endeavors. It is also true we can connect with the rich subtle energy sources to consciously use for various endeavors.  Although Antarctica’s surface is a very inhospitable climate, the continent has a solid core.  Use it as a resource. Allow the essence of Antarctica to solidify resolve in you. Explore the specifics of what boundaries are seemingly endless, requiring slogging through. Explore which boundaries are shifting as you do so, and what is being re-established in you. What energy is being provided through layer after layer of exceptional solid support. It may seem apropos. It may require practice. But it’s there if you need it—- the land does offer it’s support (and passage) if you know how to listen. You seemed to know what to look for going up the glacier. You’re good in both directions, right?

Be well. Take care. There’s more fun to be had….

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