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.
Toiling Upward in the Night (Day 58)
Day 58: S88° 23' 52.73", E158° 53' 51.36"
Duration: 9 Hr 15 Min
Daily distance: 22.7 Mi
Distance to go: 1013.8 Mi
Temperature: -25 °C
Wind chill: -44 °C
Altitude: 10236 Ft
Another big (and record distance) day, but alas a hasty update from me as it's late late late and I'm on snow-melting duty at the kitchen end of the tent. It was chilly when we woke up (-44 degrees C. windchill, it turned out) which never makes either of us want to leap out of our sleeping bags with joy, and we set off into horrible conditions, with a biting wind and complete cloud cover.
We could still see where we were going, so it wasn't a complete whiteout, but more like skiing through the kind of mist you might imagine rolling in off the marshes in a Dickens novel, or hanging around Dartmoor prison on a dismal winter's day. The surface was perhaps the worst we've had so far, certainly on the plateau, with acres and acres of sastrugi (hard, wind-blown ridges in the snow, like frozen waves on a choppy sea) all covered in deep, fresh, sticky snow.
We pushed all day as hard as we could, and went for a fraction over nine hours in the end, though the day was longer as we had to swap bits of clothing as the sun came out and the wind died down, and again when the cloud rolled in again and it got cooler later in the day. We're both tired but well enough, considering we're doing nearly a marathon per day.
Interestingly we're both showing the early signs of snow-blindness, which is a first for me (but perhaps a rite of passage, and a little taste of something Scott's men suffered terribly from). We're wearing goggles all day long up here as it's too windy for sunglasses, though the goggle lenses aren't quite as dark as our full-on glacier glasses, and it appears they're not quite up to dealing with the incredible glare we're getting high up on this giant icecap. Don't panic mum, I won't actually go blind, but my eyes started getting sore in the tent last night, as if I'd been chopping onions, so we treated them with some drops before I went to sleep then partially taped up the lenses of our goggles today, which seems to have worked a treat as I'm pain-free as I type this.
Last up, I remembered a bit of a poem as we skied past 8 o'clock this evening, though I can't remember any more of it, or whose it is. Bonus points to anyone that can find the whole thing and paste it in the comments. My brother may have heard it at Ardmore too... "The heights of great men, reached and kept, were not attained by sudden flight. But they, while their companions slept, were toiling upward in the night."