A Royal Occasion for Polar Vision
documentary maker shares
Don’t Settle For Less
Blind Man The South Pole
- Endurance Sports
- Desire To Make A Positive Difference
- Challenging Mission
We Can Do It All. Who can reach the pole
an Atlantic Ocean rower
an ultra-marathon athlete
blind & visually impaired
toughest endurance challenges
From Our Blog
We woke up yesterday morning and walked into a horrific field of sastrugi. The terrain resembled a birthday cake that was recently dropped, a confused mass of tumultuous snow. Consistent 3 and 4 foot climbs, 20 feet apart. The ropes we use to attach ourselves to the sleds are 8 feet long, so one has enough room to climb over the 3 foot high ridges of snow and get back on flat ground, then one pulls up the sled. We wear telemarking skis with skins on the bottom so they pull easier. Still, it’s very difficult to pull up 100 pound sleds. I’d liken it to standing on a hardwood floor in socks, and trying to move forward while someone holds your belt loop from behind. To try and gain traction, one leans more and more forward. Eventually, it looks like you’re trying to crawl on hands and knees, but are prevented by some diabolical force with a harness. Still crawling, we broke loose of the foothills that constituted the 87th degree and stood on the polar plateau, top of the bottom of the world. Relatively little elevation stands between us and our goal, and only 100 miles remain.
The end resembles the beginning. If I flew you over the coast in an airplane, the coast where we started the trip and the plateau, you wouldn’t notice a difference. Still, to us, with over 450 miles of Antarctica travelled beneath our well-beaten feet, some differences emerge. First, the snow is a little different here. The elevation, cooler temperatures, and wind have combined to put a thin layer of soft snow over everything, which makes for slow going.
Second, for the majority of the trip, the wind has come from our 11 o’clock. Now it hits us full in the face. Breath, which previously blew to ones side now clings to ones face, resulting in very funny looking 4 to 6 inch icicles hanging off ones goggles at the end of each day.
Finally, the elevation is affecting everyone. I’ve been told that because we’re at the bottom of the world the rotation of the earth throws the air up into the sky, the way a helicopter’s spinning blades carry it into the air. The barometer on my GPS isn’t deviating from measurements made by satellite, so I’m not sure if this is true. I will say, we all have dry hacking coughs, and are now find things much more difficult.
The next milestone for us is in about 40 miles when we cross the last degree of latitude. Skiing from the last degree is a very popular trip, and all roads lead to the Pole, so things should start getting quite crowded. We’ll be required to carry out our own bio waste during the last 75 miles of the last degree and we aren’t looking forward to it. So we’re quite close. Each team member may, if they let their thoughts wander, gaze into the horizon, and imagine the South Pole ahead of us. Within our minds, the dusty realization that despite having imagined the Pole thousands of times, the actuality of reaching it will be nothing like we imagined. Something about that realization is wonderful.
Richard spent Saturday at BBC Suffolk Radio for an interview on the “life’s a pitch” show which can be listened to here (if you are in the UK)
Big thanks to Radio Suffolk and everyone at Ipswich Town Football Club for their support of Polar Vision.
Well here we are, just some 48 hours since our final steps to the South Pole.
On reaching the pole the experience of being at the bottom of the world is surreal, exhilarating and humbling.
We were blessed with some perfect weather for our pole day, with clear blue skies and low winds although obviously still in the -25c region!
At the South Pole the dramatic circle of flags surrounding a raised silver ball marking the place of the ceremonial South Pole as well as the nearby simple sign showing the Geographical North Pole (which is moved every year by 10ft due to glacial shifts). It was very emotional stood contemplating these flags, due to what they represented to us as much as they did a geographical marker; this was the conclusion of so many days of effort.
That evening we devoured fresh bread, salmon, cheese and a couple of beers. After completing various photographs and phone calls I fell into a dreamless sleep with the knowledge that for the first time in 39 days our morning would not commence with the agonising chore of melting snow and preparing for another day pulling our pulks.
The following day we were fortunate enough to visit the centre at the pole and although we had to experience some of the team members belief that there was an ‘area 51′ equivalent there, it was a fascinating experience and of course the novelty of being in a warm environment was still fresh.
After a brief lunch we flew back in a small twin otter plane to Union Glacier on the coast of Antarctica. During the flight we all thought the same thing, in 10 minutes of flight time we had covered the equivalent of a day hauling sleds, it was quite depressing!
In the footsteps of Scott and Amundsen…The team will be taking on one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world – to trek, unsupported, from the coast of Antarctica all the way to the South Pole.
They will cover a distance of approx 600 miles, expending over 7000 calories per day and taking on one of the harshest environments on the planet.
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