Firstly, apologies for the delay in this update; I’ve had radio silence for a few days, but all will become clear!
The team reached the resupply on the 7th, when it became clear that something was wrong. Dennis, the other British member of the team, had been suffering from chest problems, preventing him from sleeping, or carrying the entire pulks weight (which until this point had been decanted around to the others to help). The plan was to meet a doctor due to fly from the South Pole to help Dennis and see if there was treatment beyond the course of antibiotics he was already taking.
After reaching the resupply, the team contacted ALE and were told that due to bad weather, the plane was unable to take off. This meant the team had to wait for a doctor at the resupply before continuing.
Unfortunately, Dennis was evacuated the next afternoon, and is currently awaiting diagnosis. With respect to Dennis and his family, this was not made public until the situation was fully known. Skiing over 700km even in the face of illness is a fantastic feat, and the humour and banter won’t be the same without him. A big thank you to Dennis from Bryony and the team for being a great team member, and we wish him all the best and a speedy recovery.
The team, now down to 4 members, no longer required both Lisa and Oskar as guides. Oskar was flown out by ALE to lead a shorter expedition for Polar Explorers, leaving the team down to a streamlined three! Bryony talked of a interesting meeting with the crew of the plane heading to the pole with Oskar.
“It was surreal, a few of German tourists! They took out cameras and had pictures with us. Rather strange after seeing so few faces out in the Antarctic!”
Everything was back on track by the 9th though; with the team’s eyes set on the pole. No more resupplies; just a straight run for the pole. This gave the team a few surprises.
During they’re route; the team has taken a southerly curve from the direct route to the pole from the Hercules Inlet. Now the team were back on the ‘straight and narrow’, they found that they were not alone out in the blue and white…
If you’ve never heard of the Antarctic Super Highway, you have now (not to be confused with the Penguin Super Highway)! The team found tracks for the first time! They’re southerly detour had landed them on the exact bearing to the pole as a number of other expeditions. As well as sled tracks however, there was also the tracks of a car! Bryony and the other speculate that this could be the World record attempt for the fastest overland journey to the pole (which they smashed managing the journey in under 2 days)!
The team now just had to follow the tracks to make it to the pole (though the tracks were faded in places and would soon be covered with snow). This was no comfort however, with yesterday being one of the longest, most difficult days yet; with heavy pulks, and Bryony carrying some of the extra weight of the 4 man tent. The difficultly came from the large ridges. After climbing to the top, it is demoralizing to ski down the other side. “Going downhill feels like a step in the wrong direction”. Sharp Sastrugi didn’t help either!
Despite this, the weather was reasonable (though colder with the altitude), and the team managed a fantastic 25km. Bryony has now skied a whopping 945km!
Don’t forget to check out the new maps on the website!
Keep up the support!