15 Jan Almost To The Pole – Day 55 Of SPEC
Today was a great day to lead.
The weather was cold but sunny with lots of shadows and bright spots to help keep us moving straight. We did four pulls, six nautical miles. I had the good fortune of being the lead for the third pole. One of today’s pictures is the compass which is strapped to the person leading the group. I am happy to report we went straight.
Our break times during the pulls are some of the best times to be able to laugh and joke about all of the remarkable experiences here this week. It’s also the critical time for calorie consumption. We figure we are burning 8,000 cal on a big day. And probably running about a 2000 cal deficit. There’s another picture with me eating my last bag of precious M&Ms. A staple food for me this week. Upon finishing for the day we noticed our facemasks were especially icy. But given it was early, Daniel and I had some fun with perspective pictures.
Another phenomena that occurred today – that lent an air of initial fear – was the ice crystals settling under her feet. As we were passing over certain areas the ice would settle and air pockets would come out of it with a loud “Woosh” sound. The first couple of times it happened a loud noise came seemingly out of nowhere and caught a few of us by surprise. After we realized what it was – it added an interesting and fun part to what can be monotonous at times.
The South Pole Base has gone out of sight, because of poor visibility compared to yesterday. We also think that perhaps we were camping on high-ground last night which allowed us to see the station. So tomorrow is the big day, six more nautical miles to go until the remarkable SPEC team completes their 600 mile journey – over 55 days on the ice.
Love to everyone back home.
Let’s look back 106 years ago as Scott nears the South Pole…..
Sunday, 14 January 1912 (From Sir Robert Falcons Scott’s expedition in 1912)
Robert Falcon Scott
“Again we noticed the cold,” Scott wrote, “at lunch to-day (Obs.: Lat. 89° 20′ 53” S.) all our feet were cold, but this was mainly due to the bald state of our finnesko…. Oates seems to be feeling the cold and fatigue more than the rest of us, but we are all very fit. It is a critical time, but we ought to pull through. The barometer has fallen very considerably and we cannot tell whether due to ascent of plateau or change of weather. Oh! for a few fine days! So close it seems and only the weather to baulk us.”
Lt. Evans, Crean, and Lashly arrived at the Upper Glacier depot at the top of the Beardmore. “We had just enough now for our meal; this is cutting it a bit fine,” wrote Lashly. “We have now taken our 3 1/2 days’ allowance, which has got to take us another 57 miles to the Cloudmaker [Middle Glacier] Depôt. This we shall do if we all keep as fit as we seem just now. We left a note at the depôt to inform the Captain of our safe arrival, wishing them the best of a journey home. We are quite cheerful here to-night, after having put things right at the depôt, where we found the sugar exposed to the sun; it had commenced to melt, but we put everything alright before we left, and picked up our crampons and got away as soon as we could. We know there is not much time to spare.”
Amundsen (who had reached the South Pole on 14 December 1911, was now heading back north)
“82° [45′] -10 -11 SW wind,” noted Bjaaland tersely. “Thick weather, bloody horrible light. Are on the line of cairns. Saw dog tracks at 46′ mile cairn, they were heading north. Skiing good.”