Onwards and downwards

They’re getting close to their first resupply! Jill was airlifted safely back to base camp at about 8.30pm on Monday 1st and the rest of the team resumed travel the following morning. The apparent temperature at that time was hovering around -44 centigrade and the wind still gusting. The team will likely experience temperatures falling still further as they move south: the higher elevation counters the slight rise in temperature as the Antarctic summer progresses. The first cache is at an elevation of about 1,250m.

 During the week the wind has died down and also the surface of the snow has become softer, easing travel conditions a little. However this will change, with the snow becoming ‘stickier’ as they progress and the air temperature falls. The surface conditions on the last leg to the Pole have been described as ‘like sandpaper’.

 For anyone who has been inspired to rush out and buy a detailed map(?), on Friday 5th the team were located at approx 84 degrees south, 75 degrees west. Or if you would rather squint at the tiny map on this site’s ‘The Trip’ page – and use my rather rough reckoning – they’re moving somewhere towards the bottom right tip of the letter N in ‘Antarctica’.

 On that day the team had covered over 27kms in 8 hours, so were in good spirits and celebrating with a ‘degree party’. The first cache is about 320kms from their start at base camp, and my shaky calculations suggest they could reach it on Monday 8th or Tuesday 9th December (maybe). I also believe they could currently be a couple of days ahead of schedule (again maybe, I’ll let you know if that’s confirmed).

 Daragh is also in very good spirits, his only reported problems are ‘a touch of sunburn, sore feet and blisters’. No report on the state of the Polar beard though.