Thursday, 31 December 2015

perfect trail ... so different - December 31, 2015 at 05:52PM

- December 29, 2015 at 06:49PM

29/12/15 11.7nm, flat, could see the horizon for markers (sadly not the ground - so a partial whitout), good surface (ie runners were in use rather than having to pull a snow plough) - great! ..... Except.... A bit of the blues set in today. Absolutely mental block- negative, horrid and counteracted the best conditions that we have had to date. Fustrating. 

On trail not a lot is said so you are just lost in thoughts and as there is not too much to look at in Antarctic (especially like today or in a whiteout). Usually its a great thing to ponder life and the world ... I like it especially with tunes playing in the background.... But today, for the first time, all i could think about was the negative. Ugg. I can only put it down to 'letting the hair down' after the extreme hard work and pushing through for many weeks blues. Similar to a teacher who gets ill on the first week of the school holidays or the time after the trail run or hike stops. I have posted this today 30/12/15 .... After a great, positive day.... Such is life ... But the reality of life out here i guess.

30/12/15 - December 30, 2015 at 06:44PM

Woooohoooo ..... 13.1nm in 8 hours. Great surface and something that we should have had since the beginning. There werent any trenches being made we could see the ground and even the horizon!! Woohoo!!

So, I have been given a deadline of getting to the south pole by the 3rd feb. Gulp! Loadsa time you would think but taking that the first 3 degrees were the 'worse ever' ....( And I have to completely agree now that I have had a day on a surface that should be the norm... ) Who knows what can happen in the next 7 degrees. Gulp again. Baseline is that I will need to ski (no matter what the conditions, stagugi?!, hill, wind, snow, cold or level of tiredness... is 11.5nm per day, everyday until the end (aka no breaks). Tomorrow we will start hour stints, take a break away and maybe do 9 hour skiing....all at speed.... Gulp again! So, today, we are replanning .... aiming to do a degree every 5 days, get to the next resupply (half way in 6 days) and talking of changing the days to 20 hours rather than 24hours. Furthermore I am also up for 'night skiing' and round the clock skiing in the last week, cause darn it.... I need to get to the south pole! On this trip... every barrier that could be put in place has been ... weather, delay, delays, delays, polar thigh, coughs, colds, whiteouts, deep snow, more snow than ever before, extra weight..... the list goes on!! But darn it again.... I will try my darndest right to the bitter end.... just before I am dragged, kicking and screaming onto the plane (if its before the 3rd). Crazy days!!! .... Unless of course there is a super kind person out there that would agree to pay the £140,000?!? needed to put on a special chartered flight to pick me up post the 3rd Feb? Just in case there is ... Please make contact with A.L.E directly (no harm in asking i guess). Or indeed, if anyone would like to pay/sponsor my solo attempt in November 2016 (same amount) ... Then I would be truely grateful in uber amounts!

Sunday, 27 December 2015

27/12/15 - December 27, 2015 at 06:13PM

All I can say about today is that we continue to carve 9nm trenches through the fresh deep snow! Should keep the scientists in space contented with the new phanonamon in Antarctica. And it appears that it will continue until next resupply in 130nm at Thiels, perhaps BT could use our trenches to put in cable!!

Saturday, 26 December 2015

- December 26, 2015 at 03:22PM

Its official as it could ever be ..... Today it was declared the worst trip/ 3 degrees ever...(greenland and antarctica) With the most brutal of conditions. So, i guess today .... Brutal was elevated to new heights! We have passed our third degree - so just 7 more degrees left. Oh and this morning we had (antarctica term) lots of snow hoars on the skis, tent guidelines and covering the surface. To you and me, they are little snow ball crystals scattered delicately along the edge of skis or seen hanging from the lines. On the snow surface they look like little pyramids .... The reality, however, is its uber cold and on the ground they are like glue and ensure that max effort is put into each step!!

Friday, 25 December 2015

24/12/15 xmas eve - December 25, 2015 at 04:07PM

I put out my stocking ...... And left a probar out..... Sadly santa didnt want the probar!! ;o))

25/12/15 - December 25, 2015 at 04:05PM

A very merry and sunny xmas to you all from Antarctica. What started out as a difficult pull for first two hours ... Suddenly weight just melted away and it was like santa arrived at the South Pole (Yes Chris, he did ) So, with a total of 4 hours skiing with blue sky all the way.... Its back to happy days!

- December 25, 2015 at 04:05PM

Resupply 24/12/15 10.5nm was all that was planned for today, early finish, a bit of a nero so that we can stuff our faces on the additional food, sort out sleds and rest. Now, if we had yesterdays snow .... Perfect! We would have zipped across in 5 hours... Yep, thats right, we would have.... IF we had yesterdays pm snow.... Sadly last night brought more snow with a wee bit of wind to shake it up... Just enough to make it deep enough to pull the snow ploughs again and rough enough to act like sandpaper on the skis and sled. Wooohoooo jezzzt our luck! so, it was 7 hours ..... And meant that the 'nero' has turned into a nerfull. Nontheless, it was great to see the resupply flag from 1/2 a click and reach our first real milestone of the trip.

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

- December 22, 2015 at 04:55PM

22/12/15 whiteout 12.7nm again in white out conditions for 6 out of the 8 travelling hours. Surface is getting harder (woohoo) but with the continued snowfall we are ankle deep.... But today that was ok.

Sunday, 20 December 2015

- December 19 2015 at 05:42PM

19/12/15 After probably the best nights sleep since being here, just as we finished brekkie we heard the sound of a plane. Circling overhead. Thoughts that perhaps they were just 'buzzing' overhead on route to the southpole ... But it appeared that they were going to land. Immediately i went through the check. Carl had spoken with his wife the night before, i had my sister so both famillies were ok. Next, i thought that it was due to my polar thigh!!! And they had sent a doc and plane to check and take me away (although very cottonwool lovely ... I was very definate that it would have been overkill and NOT my time to leave). After a couple of circles, just as it looked as though it was going to land ... Out pops a black bag with orange tasells and lands a few 100m from the tent. It was the spare norweign bindings and 40 days worth of cream and dressings for my polar thigh. Now how wonderful was that! Completely unexpected and lovely to also read the jokes and messages on the tassels. So, not picked up today but now have enough supplies and Nor binding for my skis should they give up on route. The guys at Union Glacier are amazing, uber lots of thanks go to Tim - logistics, Jen the Doc, Adam who found the Nor bindings, and the pilots on the twin otter (including the thrower outer) and everyone else that contributed to getting the med supplies etc to us. The rest of the day was spent skiing on the soft stuff that isnt anyones friend out here.... 11.6 nm .... Of energy zapping climb pulling a snow plough behind! But the world is all good, and a more positive one with enough medical supply and binding to safely see me through the next phase!

- December 20, 2015 at 02:20PM

20/12/15 And stop. Its been 8 days since our last break/rest and boy am I feeling it. This soft snow is really taking its toil. Its like heavy cross country skiing off piste pulling a snow plough behind, for 7 hours a day plus 70 min break (10min break every 50 min) a day. As a pair, slowing up or stopping mid flow is difficult/ frustrating and in short timings are not flexible. So today was the day that i started to ski 1.2nm per hour, every lift of the ski to get over the next bump, snow pile or whatever it maybe (cause today there wasnt any definition again) required masses of effort. So I called it a day.... After 2 hours of skiing, today. Although my stubborn head screams in frustration and throws personal insults at myself for stopping... my sensible and realistic side repeatedly reminds myself that I am in brutal conditions, gone through brutal weather conditions from the start, carried extra weight from the first full day and havent yet experienced even one hour of 'good' crispy floor surface that a sled and skis would glide over that would be the norm in past years and would provide a welcome break from trudging through soft snow that just keeps on falling!!! Darn it!!! . Deepends and challenge is the name of the game but yes, i still love this challenge and tomorrow i will have new legs.... Cant wait. Time for more sleep... Night xx

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

- December 16, 2015 at 05:14PM

Complete whiteout today. 6 hours of looking at the strapon compass and back to the white wall. Brutal I think we can call it. 6 hours/9.34nm and we called it a day. Its funny that skiing in such conditions (blind) the balance goes and sense of direction. There were several times when I really did think that I was leading the guide in circles! I didnt if course. Same again tomorrow me thinks but tomorrow i will talk about shunting and polar-thigh!

Monday, 14 December 2015

- December 14, 2015 at 05:42PM

Pacing it out... 14/12/15 Today we skied 11.43 nm and have nearly reached the first degree. Woohoo! Today was about actively slowing down, pacing it out and increasing the ski rounds to 50min with 5 min break rather than 45min and 10-15min breaks. So, in short, slow down emma, reign in and enjoy the short days! So today, i acted like a moody teenager without the mood.... And did the slow mopey shuffle across the lands whilst thinking of life as a teenager!! It did keep me entertained for a bit... 

Sunday, 13 December 2015

- December 13, 2015 at 05:08PM

Blue ski 13/12/16 Has it really been a month since I left Heathrow? What a month it has been though. Today, was the first day of blue skies and nil wind and time for pulling out the sunglasses! A First!!! Today, we went 13.6 nm (nautical miles) or 14.65 miles in 7.5 hours which was good. Conditions were great.

Friday, 11 December 2015

- December 11, 2015 at 04:54PM

Ok, quick summary so far: Passport and near miss deportation, delays in Punta for 2ish weeks Fly out to Antarctica -Union Glacier - another week or so delays due to weather. Never before... Fly to Hercules Inlet (start point) and have to do an about turn back to union glacier (due to weather)..... Maybe likely before but definitely not too often!! Get to Hercules Inlet (Hooray!) ... And have two days of white out, deep powder snow not seen for many years and guess what we now have two days of 45kt gusts /winds upon us .... Making skiing with the sled impossible!! There are of course matters of peewees to add to the mix. But that llliiiiiiiiiitttttttlllleeeeee snowball that started to roll on friday 13th has just got bigger and bigger! Although I have to say, i kinda like it .... Never liked the standard challenge ... But i wonder what is next ...... However more importantly, in return I have met some uber wonderful peeps, had too many giggles to count, flown out to antarctica on the 757, met more amazing peeps at Union Glacier, eaten dream food ... had uber lovely support from family and friends, experienced the weather of Antarctica and totally feel like an explorer and adventurer

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

- December 08, 2015 at 05:02PM

Trend setting even in Antarctica!! Early finish today.

- December 08, 2015 at 04:58PM

Thats just white, white and white

- December 08, 2015 at 04:58PM

White out, 25kts blowing from the south east. All would be fine but for this trip we are wading through 30cm of snow that doesnt hold any weight and means that as you lunge (and pulling 55kg+ from the hip) you also have to lift the leg (and ski) in order to be able to get a proper edge on the ski (plough styleeee for skiers out there) so that you can push out so that you can pull the sled along. Energy zapping i think you can call that... And more. Fabulous is another name ... Well unless the guide states that he has never seen this before ..... Deep snow? Usually its blown away by the winds and hardened by the sun! Hoho!! Aparently 5 days total for the whole trip would be usual thats great that we have already got 2 days out the way so early!! But I dont know .... something tells me that this is just the beginning ... for the very 'unusual' 'freak weather' 'never seen before' kinda year that I have had. Oh and btw we are expecting my tent to be buried by morning - just like our sleds this am.

Monday, 7 December 2015

- December 07, 2015 at 04:08PM

Well white out takes on a new meaning in antarctica. 25kt wind with no way of seeing the end of the skis let alone the horizon it really is a very unique place! Today we needed to use a 'strapon compass' - simple eh?

 Ohh nooo!!! Ok, so its only -14 degrees (but that doesnt include the added bonus of wind chill!) Today, trying to go for a toilet stop gave me fashbacks of the desert on the PCT..... I will save that story for later! So, many would probably use many expletives to describe today... And that would be true .... But today i really felt like an explorer, adventurer and nuts for doing this..... But i wouldnt want to be doing anything else right now.

Sunday, 6 December 2015

- December 06, 2015 at 04:33PM

And up, up and more up.... so thank goodness we dont have full sleds nor deep snow!! I was warned that getting out of Hercules Inlet was kinda steep... As the diagram shows below: 

Funny yesterday and today we have only done about 5.9 miles /9.5 km ... 420 elevation .... But as an ultra *cough* runner or someone who was averaging around 33-36 miles a day over the PCT hills ...6 miles seems ridiculas. But its darn hard work - a 70kg+ sled being pulled up hill (see diagram above) on loose deep snow with 'wind snow hills' just to add to the challenge is kinda tough. Oh, and how could i forget.... The brrr cold wind blowing constantly into the face!! Its definately tougher than anything that i have done to date. But..... I love it. Yes, its hard work, yes it is cold (frost bite is always near), yes you sweat (although you try not to), yes the pulk/ sled is heavy, yes the snow collects in front of the sled is a tad frustrating, yes the wind is constant ... .... But i simply love being out here, in the middle of nowhere, its so different, so peaceful ... So perfect. Happily back on trail... Happy days

- December 06, 2015 at 04:27PM

View of the white ocean... Shame that you can appreciate the wind, temp or elevation with a sled.

Two tents ...

Saturday, 5 December 2015

- December 05, 2015 at 05:49PM

Finally after weeks of waiting we got the all clear and were back on the plane praying that we wouldn't be turned around again. We had a lovely exit in the canteen from the Union Glacier staff ... Truely lovely people who will be missed. This picture is at Hercules inlet and we waved goodbye to the plane. 2 hours of skiing, pulling full sleds through soft snow was a good intro. Luckily i led and 'broke track' so had a great time skiing to point and paving the track way. Love it! Camp up, fed and watered its so wonderful to be back on trail .... A white one without shops this time. Blinkin fantastic! Oh and did i say, soft snow skiing up hill all the way! L.o.v.e i.t!!!

Leaving UG to fly to the start line at Hercules Inlet.

Friday, 4 December 2015

- December 04, 2015 at 06:15PM

Returning back to Union Glacier

- December 04, 2015 at 06:14PM

Under that cloud was our start point ...... We went 7miles further then turned around.

- December 04, 2015 at 06:11PM

4am this am .... Sun is out 24 hours a day but this am it was blue sky!!

close part 4 - December 04, 2015 at 04:15PM

The view of the cloud where we were meant to land! 12.20 we were flying back to the clear skies of Union Glacier. A perfectly smooth landing (the best ever) .... With the message that the next update will be after 5pm. And now 8pm with a delayed flight expected .....

close part 3 - December 04, 2015 at 04:09PM

10.15 am order to get ready - we were flying at 10.45. By 10.30am my pulk/sled was on the plane following the last photos. 11.15am everyone was on the plane after saying the last goodbyes (yep my weakness again -god darn it!) .... And we were off. Wooohooooooo! Hercules Inlet here we come. I have to say, as we took off feelings were overwhelming .... Fily.... Its at moments like this that I know that my last message and correspondence would be to my father ...moreso as we had spoken many times of this dream.... But onward ... Looking forward as always.... 12.00 there were some shaking of heads and hand slicing the neck. Sadly the 'hole' was no longer and the pilots weren't able to fly/land as there isnt a runway there (nor guides, station, flares etc) so pilot vision is important!

close part 1 - December 04, 2015 at 04:08PM

Close but not close enough.... So, last night we were told of the 'hole that was developing' at 4am that needed to be monitored. We were told that peeps will be up at 4am to make a decision and we will need to be ready to move from 5am. So, at 3.30am i woke with the sun beaming down on my tent. Exciting i thought.... But i needed to wait in my tent until the guide (Carl) came at 5am. Hmmm, ok, so like a kid at Christmas ... I did try to go back to sleep.. Honest I did.... But by 4am i found myself getting into my expedition gear and packing up my sleeping bag. The weather outside looked too good for us not to fly.

close part 2 - December 04, 2015 at 04:08PM

However, after pacing the tent a couple of times ... I couldnt wait. So, i started towards the communication (comms hut). On route, another expeditionor (Luke) popped his head out of his tent wanting to know if we were flying. He too was too excited to sleep. Onward then to the coms hut although sadly the crunch, crunch, crunch of the snow under foot meant that this was not going to be a quiet sneak over to the hut. So, the news of the weather man Marc, and operations manager Tim was that there was cloud cover that meant that flight was not possible but it was to be monitored ... So back to sleep for me via an update for luke (and Khai who popped his head out of his tent too). 9am- update was that we would get another update at 10.15am.