Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Miles and miles of this stuff. All hidden by amount of snow last year. This year the wind has blown all the snow away......

A day pulling and slipping over this. Slow and hard work!

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Great day skiing. Weather is changeable but blue sky all the way. This am I panicked over my second stove not working .... only to find that I could fix it. Such a relief for sure!!

Its very bumpy (although not sure it is vey clear in this picture). It means finding a rhythm and pattern is difficult/ impossible. Great weather though.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

I am very sorry for the delayed and lacking of blog this time. In short, I have been just trying to eat, sleep and ski and there hasnt been any time to do anything else.

I have now changed my routine again. In short it was just too cold to ski at night. I am afraid i am very happy to sacrifice the blue sky for less ice, wind and temp. By the time i got in (set up my tent) i was breaking open my coats and boots which is not a good look.

I have to say, my ninja skirt is the business and although I have now have the first signs of polar thigh - it was (I believe) because I made the fatal mistake of going outside without my ninja skirt!

The last two days have been appearing to be skiing up hill and into wind - this means that horisons are short and never ending.... the worst part of the ski.

However, the last couple of days have been uneventful and just been great to ski solo. I do love Antarctica - it s so beautiful and forever changing. Although the mountains in the distance don't change - thats about all. This is a very different experience to 9 months ago.

So, its slow, plodding onwards and upwards....

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Farewell to the plane . A magical moment.


Well its been five days in (although i am working through nights) and I have to say.....I was right! It IS the year of the wind. Wooohooo and with the early season low temps it makes for a very interesting night ski. Currently I am seeing the same level (ish) of ice, at 4am, as I did at the pole. Braising takes on a new meaning.
My continued luck still runs strong - so far I have a story about the cooker, sastrugi, hills, neck, gps, glove and more recently fuel canisters. Darn it, its only day 5 - what happened to things coming in 3's?
No matter, my focus is on the end point and sadly after the scenario with the fuel canisters today racing unsupported to the pole is out. Yes, a few expletives followed closely by tears and then a fit of the giggles counting myself lucky that I didn't smoke .... (cause with my luck I would have then had to have contend with a massive fire in the middle of antarctica!!).
Like life, I probably should have given up on it years ago, opting for a quiet unadventurous life but darn it ... i have said that I am going to the pole and back .... and that I will. Never has doing it for Cystic Fibrosis and Teach Africa has become more of a need than ever before.

Clearly there is a focus here on perseverance, against all odds and heck it is only 5 days in!! My luck wont change, barriers will continue to rise...... but my eye firmly stays on the final point.

Monday, 14 November 2016

Thor and no name keith ... wearing the poppy with pride.
We are still waiting for a weather window. Hoping to fly Tuesday. Weather is looking good for then for a couple of days. Thinking blue skies!

the Gnomes are here!!!

The 'Knomes' arrived in Union Glacier ...... twas the finniest thing that I have seen ... waiting for a weather window.

Definately arrived at Union Glacier. Waiting now for the next weather window. There is tonnes of snow so it looks like a re run of last year! Oh dear!

Friday, 11 November 2016

So, if you are reading this, it means that I have just been given the 30min call to leave by plane to Antarctica and then to the start point - Hercules Inlet. From there I will be skiing solo, unsupported and unassisted to the South Pole (yep that's right I have to pull 45 days worth of kit, fuel and food in my sled). The first half of the journey 730 miles are all up hill but at the end I will pick up a resupply at the pole and ski back to the start. If/ when I make it to the pole I will be the 5thish woman in the world and If/ when I complete the return journey, I will be the first.

If its anything like last year, there will be a great rush to the airport before we wait an eternity to board. However, unlike last year, I am unlikely to be heading back from a pub at 3.30amish.
What I know as I write this post in advance that this is super exciting,  but this year, there is also a healthy set of nerves too.

This is it... Time to fly over to the base camp/ Union Glacier and as quickly as I can turn my pulk around and book my plane/flight to the start line. I have to say, booking my own plane is another dream and is something that I am unlikely to experience again. If I can turn my pulk around on the same day and fly to the start line, then that would be fantastic.  With these delays, time is short and every day counts out there.

Probably by now you will appreciated why getting my bags quickly and making sure that I got on the first flight was so important. These expected delays, if added to the second or third flight out there would have had significant / even more impact, enough to shorten the journey to just one way.
From this point communication will not be so detailed. Although I will be able to update my blog which will automatically post onto Facebook and Twitter, this will include a picture or two. Although I won't be able to personally reply to posts, the UK based support team who  will monitor and oversee my blog and Facebook etc will be able to pass messages back at key points.

I have to say, I am honoured and thankful to have you with me, there have been many people just as excited about this journey as I am. It will be tough, I will have bad days and good days and I will share this with you as I go along. Please don't worry if I have a tough day or maybe two.... The next day will always be better.
But for now my focus is #tothepoleandback in aid of Cystic fibrosis https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/em-tam-kelty1 and Teach Africa https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/em-tam-kelty2

Everything is in order.... it's time to go......xx

Sunday, 6 November 2016

It all starts to just fall into place.....

After a good nights sleep, I awoke with the news that ALE had my bags, they all had arrived and yes, indeed they were on the same plane as I was (in part). I was taken to the warehouse and finally reunited with my kit. Such a great moment.

I spent a few hours making the last final checks and completed the last of the little jobs that were outstanding (such as putting the runners on my sled, making sure everything could fit on my sled (as if it had shrunk on its flight over!!) and importantly making sure that all was there, in one piece and I hadn't forgotten anything (including Thor and no name).

I put up the tent making sure it was all in order, this will be my home for the next  just under 3 months.

By six o'clock it was done, repacked ready for the next flight to Antarctica. News is that storms are in but everyone is hoping that by Sunday the engineers will be able to start to clear the blue ice runway.... Something that takes an age.  Last year, whilst we were enjoying a beer or two in the evening and just heading to bed, in would walk the engineers having a quick break before heading out again for another stint at clearing it. These guys are amazing and work round the clock because they want us to come just as much as we want to be there.


This morning, I had my weigh in.... Such a big moment ( I have to say I was a wee bit nervous that my kit would go over the 170kg allowance.... But it was not to be.... My newly named 'Thor' got involved in the weigh in too.  Thor will be joining me on this trip as he will be auctioned off at a dinner in November in aid of the Michelle Judd memorial fund     that supports outdoor pursuits for youngsters. I can't wait to hear how much was raised cause every pound counts on this trip...
michelle judd memorial fund


Now that the weigh in is over,  all I can do is wait for my ride over to the ice. It's close....I can feel it.... Soon my journey of a life time will be here and I can't wait 😀😀😀😀

Friday, 4 November 2016

Round one!!

round one done!

I decided to fly through the night upto Santiago with the aim of retrieving my bags that had been reported to have been on a truck, in Punta, then back in Santiago, then on a plane ..... Flying up and actually eyeballing my kit was, what I thought was to be my only option and priority. Santiago was the last real location that we knew it had been.

I was prepared to even get my kit at Santiago (last known location) and drive it 2000miles back to Punta myself (that would have taken 36 hours, that is if it was there),  if it was on a truck driving down to Punta .... I would have got in a car and chased it. After all, this is two years training, a lifetime dream since the age of 5 and I have two charities that need me to get to the pole and back. There was no way that I was prepared to sit back and wait to see what happens and with the support of  Cystic fibrosis Trust, Teach Africa, old and new friends on Facebook supporting in every way possible I was not prepared to give up.

I was on the 2am flight, arrived after 5am and after a few bumping around to find the right office and person .... The wonderful and extremely helpful guy in LATAM international was a complete star. Using google translate, his great English and contacts within LATAM.... He was able to guide me up to the boss of all bosses. Like a rollercoaster ride the positives and negatives were plenty but finally I got the thumbs up as they, due to the urgent nature (this is a life dream and huge investment) just wanted me and my kit to be on a plane so that I can start my world record and life dream. Even now, as I write this, thinking of when the boss of all bosses looked me in the eyes and signalled the thumb up sign (he had to do it twice) .... I just broke down into tears... What a moment. I really can't thank all of those involved in this process who have supported through phone calls, tweets, emails, sharing... The support has been overwhelming... But together we did it.

So the kit has now arrived in Punta, and ALE are in the process of picking it up. All I can say, this is wayyyyyy too much drama for me and I hope things now settle and become straight forward. Of course the next hurdle/ game is the Antarctica weather Windows ... Already (luckily for me) the plane has already been delayed 2 days.... Weather permitting. this is because there is only an ice runway in Antarctica and beyond that no runways at all. Therefore a good eye, amazing pilot, blue sky, nil winds and good contrast are needed to land.  Below is a picture of the plane on the blue ice runway. It literally is ice ... And when you walk around on it it is like an ice rink..... A bumpy one...

Looking out:

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

News flash - the fight starts here!!

Probably the worst case senario.... my kit was meant to arrive today but at 5.15 I was told that my expedition kit is still in Santiago!
I have not given up, too much has been invested in this and so I am off to the airport and will be flying up to Sandiago with a view that I will hire a van and drive it back.
Still the issue about customs and getting it from them, so any support that folks reading this can give would be really appreciated.
If this is the first time you have read this, I was meant to fly to Antarctica tomorrow to complete a solo expedition of 1400 miles to the South Pole and back. I would have been the 5 th woman in the world to ski solo to the South Pole and the 1st woman to ski back. This is a life dream since the age of 5 and it's going down the pan due to miscommunication and strikes.
History in the making but currently held back by a strike in Santiago.

Time to go.... I need to get on that plane......wish me luck.
Emma Tamsin Kelty

Keep up to date on Facebook : username emmatamsinkelty1
Find the links on www.emmakelty.com

And ...... Staggering to the start line/ plane.....

I have to say, after a very smooth and straight forward flight over (apart from the checking of my 'very busy' tech bag), the morning after I was met with the blowing news. My kit, that was meant to arrive two weeks before, was still stuck in Santiago due to custom strikes that had already been over a week long.

This was probably the least expected but possibly the most frustrating news to be delivered. I am sure that my face was a picture as the news sunk in and the potential impact/ knock on effect hit me. Was this to be the start of a repeat of last year? Keep calm, don't stress over what you can't change, it will work out, keep positive are all things that I would say but when you are in it, have spent months, years and expense to get to this point - all the above is hard to maintain - measured that I am.

The reason is first hand and goes hand in hand with the realities of an expedition at the bottom of the world, a place that doesn't have runways as we know it and completely weather dependant. Last year, I had a three week delay in Punta due to no flying to Antarctica due to weather and then a further one week delay to get to the start line that doesn't even have a blue ice runway.

Taking that information, if I miss the first flight on Thursday (weather permitting) then I will have to wait until the next flight on the 8th November (weather permitting). If therefore I get on the 8th flight and it takes off on that day, I would have lost 6 days. But that's 80 days less 6 days, then there is the wait to get weather clearance to fly to the start line not to mention the needed shake out that was expected in the 5 days in Punta ....So, Thats 80 less 10, 12, 15? Who knows, but for each day that passes/ delayed it just ups my mileage per day.... And there are only so many miles that can be skied in a day especially when 80mph winds howl, whiteouts and with the harsh changing weather. As this was always going to be a push ... I need everyday on the ice..... In short this is not good news. Although in reality, I know my stubbornness will rise to the challenge and if I need to do 12,13,14 hour days, then so be it, but it's an added risk that I would prefer not to take.

Although my kit is in Punta, it is stuck in customs who are still on strike..... The flight is tomorrow.... Although there maybe some delay due to weather... So the cat and mouse game starts. But as much as I tell myself to do all of the above... It's consuming my life at the moment, and I have to say, with my life so straight forward, simple and stress free at home.... This is not appreciated at all.... Measured that I am...

In short this causes delays, less time skiing, frantic sorting out my kit on the ice and loss of weight before I get on the ice. Not good at all.