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.


# John Brain, December 3rd 2013

What a great moment - and so wonderfully described.

# Matt, December 4th 2013

Guys, you inspire me to be better at everything.  Thank you for raising the standards of human achievement.

# David Paabo, December 3rd 2013

Breathtaking description.  An awesome adventure guys.

# Richard Pierce, December 3rd 2013

Wonderful news and wonderful words. Go safely on the old man. R

# Janet Stanley, December 3rd 2013

Beautifully put as usual, I’m sure a mixture of anticipation & apprehension rolled into one! So glad the day went well. Stay safe!

# Mal Owen, December 3rd 2013

“It’s a magical, magical place,” ...... says it all really.
Rest, sleep and dream well.

# Mia Bentley, December 3rd 2013

I love reading your blogs! Make sure you both keep head strong through this part, it will keep you safe. Thinking of you everyday x

# Rosie Vidovix Unsworth, December 3rd 2013

Thank you for taking us on this journey with you! This is your best blog yet!

# Torsten Richter, December 3rd 2013

I envy you! there, I also want to get and exactly this expedition I want to do already for years. enjoys the travel, even if there will be difficult days and it is very hard.

# Sandra Price, December 3rd 2013

What a brilliant blog - you are have really captured your excitement and shared it with us all.  Thank you - there is definitely a book in this at the end of everything !!

# Harriet Halfhead, December 3rd 2013

I close my eyes and almost feel like I am there.  Your descriptions are magic magic magic. Thank you for sharing this daily with us all…..keep driving forward with all your strength

# Riverbutnocanoe, December 3rd 2013

Congratulations! Keep up the fight

# Perran, December 3rd 2013

A wonderful description that doesn’t pull any punches.

# Lucas, December 3rd 2013

Thank you for taking the precious time to write these notes. By doing so you’re allowing us to take part in the adventure. Thank you for following your passion.

# Andrew @ Influence, December 3rd 2013

Hi Ben, Keeping a close eye on progress back here in London, keep up the amazing progress. This was a great blog, very evocative. Stay safe a look forward to hearing more.

# rod pattinson, December 3rd 2013

well done lookswonderful making good progress will follow

# Stefan, December 3rd 2013

Good progress - when do we expect update on sledge weights etc . It is incredible how you have managed to double your mileage so it is of great interest to understand how that has occurred. My calculation is that the sledge weight has halved ? but that would mean more depots - or bigger depots have been left.? Please let us know the detail . Can we also have some photos of the whole camp with tent sledges etc so we can visualise the whole scene of what you have and how much you are still dragging ?  A blog from Tarka would be good… ? The blogs are very long - are they being transmitted every night - as they must take a lot of time.

# rob swan , December 3rd 2013

GREAT work Lads .. Buckley soon .. Rob Swan .

# Kevin Wright, December 3rd 2013

Hi Rob. Good to hear you on the blog. Thanks to you and Ann for my 2041 hat and the signed photo for my 3 grandsons. Glad you are there for these guys and I bet you just wished you could be there with them now witness these magical and in your case memorable moments. All the best to you Ben and Tarka Kev

# Alison P, December 3rd 2013

Well done, guys!  I have been nervous about what your first day on the Beardmore would be like, and it makes my heart sing and brings a smile to my face when I read your blog today.  Thank you Ben for being so vulnerable and for sharing your feelings about this trip, for letting us in on the range of emotions you experience.  And what a stupendous picture today!  Great start for the Beardmore!

# Amy Crawford-Small, December 3rd 2013

Feel stupidly emotional reading your post today… You capture the excitement and awe of your journey so beautifully. Thank you for sharing it.

# Ann Pagel, December 3rd 2013

Thank you so much for sharing your journey with us. Reading your posts and looking at your photos is the first thing I do every morning. I especially love hearing how magical this day was for you.

# Kevin Wright, December 3rd 2013

Hi Rob. Good to hear you on the blog. Thanks to you and Ann for my 2041 hat and the signed photo for my 3 grandsons. Glad you are there for these guys and I bet you just wished you could be there with them now witness these magical and in your case memorable moments. All the best to you Ben and Tarka Kev

# Jon Gisby, December 3rd 2013

Read this while stuck in armpit-to-armpit strap hanging on a Thameslink train. Great to live vicariously for the rest of the journey. Hope the next few days go as well.
Your descriptions are very evocative, and interestingly boy-ish. If you woke up tomorrow and didn’t know how old you were, what would be your best guess?
Also, you’re presumably in 24 hour sunlight. Is there a cumulative impact of that, mentally or physically?

# tom, December 3rd 2013

absolutely amazing

# Gill, December 3rd 2013

Well done to both of you - The photo of the Beardmore’s Glacier is truly breath taking and brings a tear to ones eye. Good luck and take care on the next part of your incredible journey.

# Marina Kleinwort, December 3rd 2013

Morning Ben.  You guys are inspirational. It’s now an obsession -  every morning before I get out of bed I read your blog.  Gutted it wasn’t there this morning first thing! If I have any niggles in Marina’s World I push them aside as soon as I dwell on what you are coping with on a daily basis.  More than a bit jealous of what you are seeing and experiencing and in total awe at your daily achievements.  You have a hoard of fans following your every step.  Safe pullings.  XXXX

# anna, December 3rd 2013

finally some mountains in vieew, makes it less inhumane…

# Sharyle, December 3rd 2013

What a great blog post!  It is so wonderful to follow you on this expedition as you walk in the steps of Shackleton and Scott.  I just returned from a visit to the Antarctica peninsula where I had a tiny taste of the white continent.  It’s magnificent.  It’s a privilege to follow your daily progress.

# Neilson Spencer, December 3rd 2013

Love the story of Shackleton and his men. So excited to be following this adventure! Looking at this makes photo makes me wish I could be there in person to experience the view. Sounds every bit as magical as you describe it to be.

# 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!

# CaninesCashews, December 3rd 2013

Great stuff guys,

A beautiful description of what must be stunning views. Heres to ‘manageable crevasses’!

Stay safe.

# Tim L, December 3rd 2013

Wow - what an extraordinary place to be!  Keep up the good work.

# Jon Plowman , December 4th 2013

Just thank you for doing it and thanks for telling us about it so we when you must have been really nackered

# Austin Duryea, December 4th 2013

Awesome details. No need to be afraid because you got this. Since Beardmore is a glacier than that means it’s always moving. Does that mean that sometimes you would get Lost?

# Intrepid, December 4th 2013

Wow! Could really feel the anticipation, the tensile fear and nervousness, as well as the big relief, joy, and excitement with your climb up the Saddle. Woot Woot!!!

Whereas you feel like you are stepping out of a familiar childhood story, I feel part of a big to-do story in the making.

Here’s to each breathtaking moment, and for your dreams impacting every one of us.

# Bill Hucks, December 4th 2013

Are you traveling roped up? You describe crevasses, snow bridges and climbing harnesses, yet no detail about your glacier strategies. Bear in mind that many of your followers are are experienced alpinists and glacier travelers who have legitimate interest in your technical choices.  Please advise.

# Scott Expedition, December 4th 2013

Hi Bill,
Ben and Tarka travel roped up when there are any technical crevassed sections or where they feel unsafe just on crampons. I’ll ask Ben and Tarka to do a dedicated blog with some more technical details of their equipment and current strategies on the Beardmore. In the meantime Ben wrote a about crevasse rescue drills in Greenland earlier this year here and there is a short video here
Thanks for the support

# Allison, December 4th 2013

Tremendous. I hang on your every word. It all sounds truly breathtaking.

# Patrick Waite, December 4th 2013

No matter how you look at it, you are on top of the world. Enjoy, stay cautious. Don’t be afraid to be afraid.

# Bob Henderson, December 4th 2013

Great News! and Good Luck. Keep up that amazing pace.

# Kate Smith, December 4th 2013

Thank you for your brilliant blog and the great descriptions.I think I have a fairly good imagination and with your descriptive piece I manage to get to places of great wonderment. Thank you and take care. Cheers Kate (UK )

# Christina Boyle Cush, December 9th 2013

Hi Ben and Tarka. I am deeply moved by what you fellas are doing. I was fortunate enough to Skype with Ben a couple weeks before you guys took off. That conversation was the basis for an article that’s running soon in SUCCESS Magazine, here in the U.S. Just wondering, Ben and Tarka, if you have anything you’d like to say to the SUCCESS readers, as I am preparing a quick follow up that’s going to appear exclusively on line. They know all about why you are taking this journey, and how you prepared. So I guess they’d like to know if all the preparation has paid off? What you haven’t been prepared for yet? What’s been the best surprise? How are you staying motivated to keep going? I feel honored even to be able to type this message to you guys. Truly incredible human beings.

# Amir, December 10th 2013

Wow. What a stunning view!
I wish I was with you guys.
wish you the best.

# Kate Smith, December 10th 2013

The photos are wonderful guys.It may be a tough challenge but what a great experience. You won’t forget this in a hurry. Well done guys you must feel very proud of yourselves Cheers Kate

# George Chapman, December 11th 2013

British explorer and expedition leader Robert Falcon Scott reached the Pole on January 17, 1912. A hundred years later, Ponting’s photographs—including many rarely seen copies housed in the National Geographic archives—offer an “incredibly rich visual record” of the expedition, according to historian Max Jones.
See photos of the Scott expedition from National Geographic here:

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