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... 


# Stéphanie, December 31st 2013

Glad all fingers are still intact so that you can still write your blog ;)

# Allison & Mark, December 31st 2013

Happy New Year to you both (when you wake up that is) we wish you well with health and safety at the top of our wish list. Our weather here is unusually mild with breezes that fluctuate on a daily basis.
We shall raise a glass of bubbly and toast to your success.
Best Wishes
Allison & Mark

# Will, December 31st 2013

Great effort guys. This is the part that counts and you are off to a cracking start. Happy new year and Godspeed.

# Richard Pierce, December 31st 2013

You’re 23 miles closer to your goal. Look after those digits and the core temps. Hopefully, once your altitude starts dropping again, the temperature will change to being a little higher.

Take care, please.

God Speed.


# Janet Stanley, December 31st 2013

Sounds like an mixed day, hope all fingers are okay & thank you for taking the trouble to write your blog, couldn’t have been easy. All mileage counts. Stay safe as always :)

# kiwawa, December 31st 2013

Oh boys, if in seriously cold situations,  one ought to cuddle.  Tarka all my friends from the Uk, France and Oman send so many words of encouragement;  you are both proving to be unbelievable sources of inspiration to us. Keep troddling on, with the warm thought that upon your successful completion I will pay a Bedouin to bring yoi a steaming hot mutton Shawarma. I spent the evening with Katie the other day and went home missing you more than I think I ever have. If you think of any ludicrous middle eastern things you may want me to gather for you tell me. I am off to Dubai for the new year, and will think of you,  hoping you might see the fireworks from where you are.  You will both enter this new year as heroes. Keep going, so proud, miss you xxx

# Mike Gould, December 31st 2013

Great stuff guys!! Truly inspirational - I wish in many ways I could be with you remembering our chat at the RGS last year. Have a very happy and successful New Year and I hope we can tie up when you return.

# Jen, December 31st 2013

I whinge when my fingers go “dead” in our cold Northern winters, so reading about your hands makes me cringe. I hope that doesn’t happen too often.
Happy New year to you both from us in The North of The North (England). I shall toast you at midnight.

# Nick, December 31st 2013

Plan 1.  Keep safe….circulation.  I think a few boxing jabs in front of you will soon heat you up and create a bit circulation and heat in your arms and hands…worth a try.  This is what the TV fitness people do sometimes.  Also good for a little adrenaline to rush through your body and keep the icey cold weather off I think.

# andrew, December 31st 2013

At the start of this expedition it was difficult to determine the feasibility of the venture. The events of the last month have shown the reality: you boys, with your fitness, stamina and planning can pull this off, and it is going to be a remarkable achievement. Keep realistic and be
positive. Don’t hate the miles, they are your asset, essential for a journey! Just use them up, convert them into experience. Use your heads at that altitude, keep your team together. You have business to attend to at the Beardmore so go to it with the skills you have acquired.All the best

# Thea, December 31st 2013

Tarka, your uncles and mother are always right! it will get better, please be careful. You can do this and I am so very proud of you. Both of you are being so strong, look after each other, tomorrow is the start of a new year and you will be home soon.
A very Happy new year to you and to everybody who has been sending so many messages of encouragement and support, it certainly helps me. xxxxx

# Sue (and Noodle ), December 31st 2013

An old friend of mine ( a St Ives artist) had written on the wall of his house…. ATMOSPHERE DOMINATES ATTITUDE… ATTITUDE DOMINATES ATMOSPHERE.  If it applies. Use it. Thinking of you both. With much affection and respect.Happy New Year x

# Andrea, December 31st 2013

Let me say that we are very sorry for this kind of events. The neutrionos do not harm you, even that they pass through you after they leave traces on the Pole Station Experiment, as they do not interact with your mass, instead the molecular and cellular slowing icy air it does as the ideal temperature for the actual creatures from and on Earth is of 15 C .

# 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!

# Phil Satoor, December 31st 2013

Just enjoyed your Christmas Day video (Two Months in Antartica) so I thought I’d sign on and wish you both a very happy new year and safe and sound return northwards.

ps Borrowed today from the library a book of photos by Frank Hurley of Shackleton’s 1914-17 expedition where the Endurance was crushed in the ice but after great hardship, everyone returned safely.

# Intrepid, December 31st 2013

Is today the depot pickup of tech gear?

Dear Brave Ones,

The music flowing
Snow tracks paving way
Foot prints, soul prints
Night kept at bay

Miles acquired -
Fortitude at altitude
Safety required -
Aptitude with Attitude

Through nothingness
Full of bounties
Crossing years
Making history

Following your accomplishments,
The daily toil of accrued mileage,
The togetherness of each in his stride
Encouragement and companionship,
Wishing you all the fine details
Such a trek can be,

In standing ovation,




# ale, December 31st 2013


# rocco, December 31st 2013

Happy New Year to you both keep warm and safe your on the homeward bound slog

# Dom, January 1st 2014

Happy New Year from Ohio!  Glad you warmed up (finally), keep up the good work!

# George Chapman, January 1st 2014

Happy New Year Guys.

# Gary Fogel, January 1st 2014

Happy New Year Ben and Tarka!

# Nick, January 1st 2014

Aim for that 500 mile marker !

New Year new start of the first day of this new year.

I think nearer to the end i’d keep the sleigh and tent etc.  If for the sake of 30 miles you give them up.  Caution.  I think it’s more worthy to pull them to the finish line.  It’ll make a good photo finish possibly.  They’ve kept you alive all these miles.

# Marion A-C, January 1st 2014

I can only try to imagine the challenges you face, but please know that what you are doing is remarkable, and a true inspiration to many. It is this example of human spirit and endeavour that sheds light in the darkest corners . I wish you both Godspeed, sure footing and happy digits! :)

# Christy, January 1st 2014

Happy New Year from the land of corn & soybeans!  (Indiana, U.S ) 

Scary how things can happen just that quickly.  Scott froze his feet near the end of his journey, just before he crawled into the tent for the last time, and that after he had always been so careful.  Glad it turned out o.k. for you this time with your hands.  Stay mindful!  I imagine that’s way easier said than done in the land of endless white horizon.


Commenting is not available for this entry.