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.

Making Hay While the Wind Blows (Day 67)

Day 67: S88° 38' 49.92", E158° 35' 1.32"

Duration: 10 Hr 30 Min

Daily distance: 23 Mi

Distance to go: 804.9 Mi

Temperature: -24 °C

Wind chill: -35 °C

Altitude: 10138 Ft

Today didn't have an auspicious start: it was cold in the night and we woke up to a dull light in the tent, which turned out to be an almost complete whiteout outside. It was my turn to have a bit of a sense of humour failure today, as my hands got painfully and worryingly cold as we took the tent down and didn't really warm up properly all morning. The clouds parted after a few hours and the wind died, lulling me into stripping down to just a thermal baselayer and my windproof Mountain Equipment jacket, which was fine until the temperature plummeted an hour later and the wind suddenly revved up.

My only choice was to remove the windproof jacket to add more layers, but this involved a) taking off my big warm mitts and freezing my hands again, and b) stripping down to my underwear -on my top half at least- in windchill well into the minus forties. I gritted my teeth and got changed, but my hands were near-useless as I tried to zip everything up and put my mitts back on again, and Tarka had to come to the rescue. I windmilled my arms furiously, forcing blood painfully back into my fingers but my core temperature wasn't really warm enough to sort everything out so I had to ski flat-out for a few minutes before repeating the arm windmill process again.

I'm happy to report this evening that all digits are still intact, and that the day improved once I'd finally warmed up; the wind was behind us and gave us a welcome shove north, and the surface got better all day, presumably due to the low temperatures. My mood did a complete one-eighty in the afternoon as well, going from hating this place and the self-inflicted pain I was going through to feeling so good that we skied long into the night, stopping to pitch the tent at 9.20pm. It is, therefore, another late night here in the tent, so I'll sign off by wishing you all a very happy new year. At this rate I suspect we'll sleep through it here.

P.S. GPS back up and running but we're still having issues with the tracker, but a solution seems to be in sight. Watch this space... 


# Meg Hourihan, December 31st 2013

Ben and Tarka,

I’ve been following since Day One, so excited that you’re finally underway. I’ve been thinking about you a lot out there, and today’s post seems especially timely. Yesterday I was out ski touring with a friend here in Vermont. It was pretty cold, about -18°F, and windy. We started up over icy blown ridges and chunks, and as we climbed I was telling my friend about you guys and what you were undertaking. We chatted about how easy we had it, being out for just a few hours. Up higher we went, colder, windier, but we were moving. The insulated hose to my water pack froze, so we stopped quickly to see if I could adjust. I stupidly took off my gloves for just a minute before hose and now fingers were frozen. I too had to then work full-out, climbing fast and a good fifteen minutes before my fingers stopped stinging.

After 2000 ft of elevation gain, we met -24°F windchill and gorgeous views. We pulled our skins, flowed through powder and then cruft, and were back inside a warm lodge 30 minutes later. Nothing compared to what you guys are undertaking, but I got a kick this morning reading of our “shared” experience.

Keep up the good work and the great posts. I love following along and have to admit, I’m quite jealous. To misquote E.B. White: Some Trip.

Best wishes for a safe and joyful remainder,

# George Chapman, December 31st 2013

Ok guys I will give it to you 23 miles is doing fairly good and we won’t be asking for more. Keep up this pace for another week and maybe we will give you a day off if we don’t have any bad weather. The trouble in life is that today may look bright but who knows what tomorrow may bring. Tomorrow may bring an avalanche and you could be buried in the snow for a week. Well we hope that will not happen. Have missed seeing your movements on Google Earth during the day hope you work out your technical problems soon. Take care stay warm and have a Happy New Year. Who knows what happens tomorrow? We’ll find it tomorrow

# Jack Coleman, December 31st 2013

There are few things worse than a case of “screaming pukies” as the warm blood re-enters the frozen cappillaries. Glad to hear that Tarka was able to assist and doing so preventing severe frostbite.
After years of planning and training you both wrapped up 2013 with a successful unsupported trek to the South Pole. I have full faith that 2014 will begin with the goal of competing Scott’s expedition.
All in all it has been a good year and I wish you both a happy and prosperous new year!

# AlisonP, December 31st 2013

Ben, OMG, I gasped when I read about your fingers.  As one who has a condition that makes my fingers freeze and go numb and painful when exposed to much lass cold than you are in, I could totally empathize with what it must have felt like.  I hope you don’t have to go through the again.  Thank you once again for sharing with us your full range and depth of emotions.

I continue to be blown away by the extremes to which you both are pushing your bodies.  A long day, after some other very long days.  I hope you get a chance to rest up a bit more before the beardmore, so you are in good shape and awareness going down.  We are all cheering you on.  Stay safe.

# Melissa, December 31st 2013

Wishing you warmth (as much as can be expected in freezing cold conditions), good health (as good as can be expected when pushing yourselves to the limit), and happiness (fewer spirals into the depths of despair) in 2014 and for your last 800 miles. I’ve never commented, but follow along on your journey daily. Thank you for sharing your adventure with us. Stay safe and healthy!

# Johnny, December 31st 2013

Happy new year guys!been following your blog with great interest,keep pushing forward!!!

# Nick, December 31st 2013

I’m not sure how I’d be after 800 miles through ice and cold?

But a few good dvd films of recent times and future cinema soon to come out on dvd…

End of Watch / The Railway Man (trailer looks good) /  Noah (trailer) / The Conjuring / Olympus Has Fallen.

Just a few films in the comfort of ‘a house’ !

# rod pattinson, December 31st 2013

both enjoy your white new year raining in london

# AndreaTP, December 31st 2013

My kids talked to Barnaby Bear and Ben Guin when you were at the Pole, and both agree you and Tarka are doing very well. Barnaby is more self-confident, he’s been through hard times before, and knows you will drive him home very soon. Ben Guin is a little bit shaking and thrilling for the adventure, but hey, it’s Antarctica, he can find the way by himself if you lose your GPS signal.
Keep on guys, we’re following your steps one by one. Happy new year!

# CaninesCashews, December 31st 2013

Hi guys,
Even with frozen fingers and a clothes change you still managing to knock off 23 miles, so well done both of you.
As the year draws to a close I remember your blog from 56 when you were feeling particularly low, and talked about kindness, this blog more than any other seemed to ignite the expedition online.  Together as one voice followers on here added their words of support, people from all over the world feeling they could contribute.
It is one of the elements of this adventure I hadn’t anticipated, I have enjoyed each day – reading the vast array of opinions, encouragement and commentary.
Neil Gaiman one of my favourite authors (love Neverwhere) sums up my hopes for next year
“I hope you will have a wonderful year, that you’ll dream dangerously and outrageously, that you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and that you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind.”
More than anything, I hope you conquer the remaining hundreds of miles and create your own footprints in history, all the way to the door of Scott’s Hut.
Wishing you a Happy and Blessed New Year,
Stay Safe.

# Uncle Pete, December 31st 2013

7pm UK time New Years Eve - wishing you a Happy New Year at whatever time you choose down there! Looking at your plot you seem to have had good day’s run and hopefully should meet up with your Pilot again by the end of New Years Day? (Day 57 blog). Look forward to further news but meanwhile keep warm and safe! Especially now you may be descending towards the Beardmore! Andrew is so right, the miles are there for you to conquer!

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