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.
Lomito’s (Day 50)
Day 50: S86° 13' 30.3", E159° 37' 42.3"
Duration: 8 Hr 30 Min
Daily distance: 17.7 Mi
Distance to go: 1165.2 Mi
Temperature: -22 °C
Wind chill: -38 °C
Altitude: 9006 Ft
Another tough day in the office down here at the bottom of the world, wrestling with the Antarctic trifecta of misery: a headwind, a lot of slogging uphill and a sticky, crusty surface. I obviously spoke too soon about things flattening out as we came up another 106 metres today (we're camped at 2,758m).
It was hard work and deeply frustrating as even on the flat-ish bits the headwind meant we were unable to get any real speed up, and at times it felt like our sleds were as heavy as they were a month ago. We both finish each day feeling truly drained, but we're pleased with the ground we're continuing to cover and optimistic about the battle to the Pole that lies ahead. It's part encouraging and part demoralising to read that Shackleton, Scott, Robert Swan and Henry Worsley all struggled with the endless inclines and false summits at this stage of the route, and with the thinner air, colder temperatures and near-constant bitter headwinds that we too are experiencing. We haven't had an easy mile up here yet.
As much as I'd like to say, dear reader, that a day spent gazing through the claustrophobic letterbox slit of my goggles at the spindrift snaking past my ski tips enabled me to enter some transcendent state of consciousness, I'm sad to say that my daydreams kept returning to Lomito's. Lomito's is an American-style diner in Punta Arenas, the city we flew from to reach Antarctica, and they do a fine line in generously-sized burgers and steak sandwiches.
I'm hugely proud of how well our rations are working, and neither Tarka or I would have described ourselves as ravenous at any stage of the expedition so far, but we both have definite cravings: fresh, warm bread with butter, fish pie, ribeye steak, sushi, stew with dumplings, blackberry and apple crumble with custard, giant salads and, of course, the largest burger that Lomito's can rustle up when we're next in Punta.
I'm going to sign off by dedicating today (not a record distance, alas, but one of the toughest we've had yet) to Jerry Colonna, as it's his birthday today. Jerry's one of the wisest, kindest men I've had the pleasure of meeting; a close friend, a trusted coach and mentor, and someone without whose help and sage advice I sincerely doubt I'd be here typing this lying in my tent high on the Antarctic plateau this evening. Thanks Jerry.