Day 64

We are 53kms away from the South Pole! Two more days to go.

-32degC and clear skies today. We skied uphill almost all day in soft snow chasing an unreachable horizon. We’re camped on the side of a steep hill this evening surrounded by sastrugi which popped up to hamper the last 5kms of the day. We’re not expecting conditions to get much better now, we’re just excited to get on with it and reach the pole in 2 days time.

Suunto Stats

Skiing Time 12hrs 15mins

Distance 26.62km

Gareth

Average HR 120

Max HR 171

Calories burned 8520

Richard

Average HR 118

Max HR 168

Calories burned 8480

Day 63

Well, the mythical good conditions in the last degree are still eluding us. No sign of the flat hard terrain and easy skiing that other expeditions approaching from different directions describe unfortunately. Most of today was uphill in soft sticky snow with scattered small sastrugi; backbreaking work.

There is a strange phenomenon that occurs when it’s very cold, the crystal surface structure of the snow becomes rougher and there is much more friction when dragging sleds. It’s -32degC here today and we’re certainly feeling the increased drag of the sleds. Despite them being very light now as we near the end of the expedition they don’t slide over the surface at all and are still a dead weight.

Just have to keep going for 3 more days!

Suunto Stats

Skiing Time 12hrs 10mins

Distance 26.64km

Gareth

Average HR 118

Max HR 176

Calories burned 8327

Richard

Average HR 120

Max HR 171

Calories burned 8298

Day 62

We’ve made it to the last degree! Earlier today we passed 89S and now have only 106kms to go. It’s a huge milestone for us and we’re excited to have passed our final degree of latitude. It has been a mixed day of long slow climbs and intermittent sastrugi. We’re happy with our progress though and travelled 26.73kms today.

Suunto Stats

Skiing Time 11hrs 55min

Distance 26.73km

Gareth

Average HR 120

Max HR 172

Calories burned 8280

Rich

Average HR 121

Max HR 169

Calories burned 8351

We really appreciate everyone that is following our journey so far, that has shared our story and encouraging us along with all your positive messages of support.

Our generous sponsors have contributed to making this journey possible but a large part of this expedition is self funded so any donations help

Day 61

Unfortunately I do not have a blog post from the explorers today as there was no phone reception at the remote beach we visited but they are well and we look forward to an update tomorrow.

Here is the transcript of the voice recording from our website www.Antarctica2023.com.au @zerosixzero map with an update from Richard on todays events.

Hi everybody, it’s Richard here. Sorry it’s been a while since we’ve done a voice message. We’ve been doing a lot of skiing recently. We’re just in the last phase of the expedition. We have got five days to go to get to the pole, so average about 26 kilometers a day. So we’re working pretty hard. We’re out of the tents and skiing at about quarter to eight every morning. So we get up at six, by the time we’ve melted all our water for the day, had some breakfast, packed the tent away, we’re usually skiing at about quarter to eight, and then we’re skiing for about 12 hours. Time to get the tent up about eight o’clock in the evening and then back in the tent at about eight thirty, quarter to nine. So we’re putting in some really long days, but we’re making the distance and getting closer to the Pole. So yeah, we’re getting there. We’re both getting a bit tired now. We’re just gonna keep going for a few more days and we’ll get there. So lots of love to everybody at home, thank you everybody for all your kind support that I know we’re getting. And special shout out to my two wonderful kids, Will and Rose, and we’ll see you guys all again very, very soon.

Gareth had a lovely birthday celebration, he received a Birthday card and a lovely friendship bracelet from Lucia in his Birthday parcel. We hope they enjoyed the Whisky.

Sorry no Suunto stats for today

Day 60

Wow we have been on the ice for 60 days, what an absolute privilege but also a long time to be away from home. Who knows how our favourite historic polar explorers managed.

After a day of flat and reasonable terrain we had been lulled into a false sense of security. We fitted our half skins to our skis to give us more glide and efficiency of movement. It turned out to be a big mistake. After an hour we found ourselves again slogging up a steep slope in dense sastrugi. We spent most of the day in these conditions until the sastrugi started to ease towards the last few kilometres. It seems like we will have sastrugi all the way to the South Pole and have stopped hoping otherwise. It’s -28 at the moment so starting to get properly cold.

We are looking forward to a little celebration this evening as it is Gareth’s birthday and we have found a little Birthday parcel in our food bag with a wee dram of whiskey and some chocolates to share!

Suunto Stats

Skiing Time 11hrs 45mins

Distance 25.65kms

Gareth

Average HR 118

Max HR 171

Calories burned 8103

Richard

Average HR 115

Max HR 169

Calories burned 8023