05 Jan SPEC Last Degree Team Day 3
We are comprised of folks from across the globe – eager to join Barney, Kyle, and Martin – for the last 60 nautical miles (starting at the 89th parallel) as they end their historic journey at the Geographic South Pole.
We have been at Union Glacier base camp, about 600 miles from the South Pole, for two days finalizing the last elements before we get started. Today has been full of many activities as you can see from the photos. First we had our medical briefing from Dr. Hans Christian. That was very well received, with everyone understanding the seriousness and need to maintain a careful eye on ourselves and each other.
Then a little bit later in the day we did some of the food prep work. We all had to go into an area to select our breakfasts and dinners. As well as finding the snacks we will rely on during the day. You may be wondering why no lunches, that’s because we will be only stopping for quick breaks each hour – where we will be relying upon nuts, chocolate, dried fruit, and for many of us – we will also bring what we have come to call “Barney Bars” – a unique combination of high calorie ingredients packed into a 1,000+ calorie bar.
After this we took a short trek (about 1.5 miles) to try and familiarize ourselves with the equipment we will be using. In particular the sleds, the harnesses and the skis. All very different than anything we have used in the past while skiing either downhill or cross country. We must also try and coordinate skiing together. While we will move at the pace of our slowest member, we want to work and travel as a team. I think we did just fine, and even decided to practice setting up tents at the end. It was a windy, but a successful endeavor.
At the beginning of each day we meet in the dome tent that we’ve been calling our little community center to have some sewing classes. It seems we all needed to do a little bit of work on our facemasks to make sure that we’re all safe in the high winds that we’re going to be heading into in a couple of days. We had everything from a skilled surgeon (shout out to Ghazala!) to some of us who were not so skilled with the needles. But we all managed to get our facemasks modified…. needless to say, some look better than others.
Tomorrow we will take the training to a higher level and attempt a 10km trek starting at 8:45am sharp after breakfast. Full sleds… wandering rather far from base camp for the first time. Rob says he will leave without us if we are late – and I believe him. So end of this incredible day and ready for the next one… Goodnight people.