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.

First Night on the Beardmore (Day 39)

Day 39: S83° 39' 9.792", E170° 53' 42.720"

Duration: 9 Hr

Daily distance: 18.9 Mi

Distance to go: 1365.7 Mi

Temperature: -6 °C

Wind chill: -12 °C

Altitude: 889 Ft

I won't lie. I climbed out of the tent today in a glum mood, nervous about what the day would hold. We put our climbing harnesses on as well as our sledge harnesses this morning, which the fearful part of my subconscious never takes as a good sign. Ahead of us lay a few big crevasses that we could see from our tent, what looked like a remarkably steep climb up to the saddle of the Gateway, a short descent the other side and then the behemoth Beardmore lying in wait the other side.

One of Shackleton's men said travelling on parts of it felt like walking over the glass roof of a railway station. I knew it would be the most risky and challenging section of our route, and I wasn't feeling all that brave about squaring up to it. The early crevasses were old, obvious and easy to work around, and the climb up to the Gateway's col, while steep, wasn't quite as hard as I'd feared. It took about an hour of short strides and hard pulling, the sleds seemingly doubling in weight with the incline, but the surface was kind to us and we went straight up the slope rather than zigzagging. Getting to the top, and seeing what lay on the other side, is a moment I'll remember and treasure for the rest of my life. I hadn't expected the view that greeted us, across to Mount Kyffin and to the right, the giant, sparkling motorway of the glacier itself, heading past the Cloudmaker (a mountain named by Shackleton that did indeed seem to have a perpetual puff of cloud at its peak) up to the high plateau itself. We descended after taking a few photographs and worked our way through some rough ice to the glacier's surface. To my surprise, it felt just like navigating over sea ice, scouting for a route and stepping over the cracks.

We crossed many crevasses but they were all manageable, thanks in part to staying on our skis nearly all day. Most of the open crevasses were one or two feet wide at most, so easy to span with a ski, and the big ones were all filled-in and safely bridged with snow. We've made really good progress and to my absolute surprise, I feel like I'm smitten with the one section of this expedition that I thought would cause me the most fear and dread. It's a magical, magical place, and skiing past landmarks like the Gateway, Mount Hope, the Granite Pillars, Mount Kyffin and seeing the Cloudmaker in the distance makes it feel like I've stepped into the pages of a familiar childhood story book. I'll sign off now as we did nine hours today and I'm pooped, but thank you all for following and commenting, and I hope the photos give a tiny flavour of the reason I'm so full of beans this evening. I'm a lucky, lucky boy.


# Sukh, December 3rd 2013

Fantastic work guys, making storming progress!

# Myles Gascoyne, December 3rd 2013

I really look forward to reading your blog every day. Keep at it. Totally inspirational.

# Rebecca, December 3rd 2013

Congratulations! What a view! Well-deserved!

# Dave, December 3rd 2013

Moving on up!  You gained more than 700 feet today. Glad to see the good weather during this transition. Thanks for the pics and the great blog. Keep up the good work.

# Zoe, December 3rd 2013

This has quickly become one of my absolute favorite blogs to read everyday. Thank you so much for taking the time out of your evening to write!

# Costa, December 3rd 2013

I suggest you add the category “distance covered” to the one “distance to go”. After all you’ve accomplished quite something so far. Congratulations!
You really are a lucky guy - and we are lucky we may follow your steps and thoughts. Thank you for that!

# Mal Owen, December 3rd 2013

Good idea Costa !

# Minna R from Rovaniemi, Finland, December 3rd 2013

Thanks again for inspiring and fascinating post, but what is really great also is that they´re always honest and real! You told earlier how you feel like aliens in a lifless planet so that made me wonder how does the “soundworld” sound there especially now when you´re at the glaciers?

Still sending my warm thoughts to both of you while I´m drinking coffee here :)

# dj, December 3rd 2013

Ditto all the wishes - the “un-official Scott Expedition Google Earth Resource File” has been updated with all the geo-features that you mentioned as well as clickable views of the topography that you may be seeing which can be used with the High-res NASA MODIS satellite images. Available free at:

Here’s to Buckley by the end of the week.

# Jackson Griffith, December 3rd 2013

Wonderful words Ben.Awesome. We’re all thoroughly enjoying following your journey, although I suspect not as much as you are doing it in person. Stay safe, one day at a time.

# Phil B, December 3rd 2013

I wonder how many people have climbed the Beardmore compared to the number that have walked on the Moon? Does anyone know? Anyway, it’s a rare privilege. Thanks for enabling me to be there by proxy.

# Scott Expedition, December 4th 2013

Hi Phil,
Ben and Tarka will be the 7th expedition in history ever to ascend the Beardmore Glacier and they will hopefully will be the 4th expedition ever to descend it. I’m not sure on exact Moon stats but I believe only 12 people have ever walked on the moon.
Thanks for support!

# ale, December 3rd 2013

Q: Do you know how to eat an elephant?
A: One bite at a time!!!!

Continue to bite!!!!


# varry mccullough, December 3rd 2013

So glad it was a successful day sleep well!

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