Monthly Archives: December 2011

Xmas, resupply and best mileage yet!

Merry Christmas to all (including our followers in the UK who will read this
posting on Boxing Day). Today the team had a remarkable day. Long, yes, but
beautiful and very satisfying. They skied amongst the peaks of the Thiel
Mountains where sunlight sparkled against the terrain like tiny Christmas tree
lights. Dennis’ audio report is so descriptive it is worth finding some speakers
to listen to it.

The team covered a remarkable 27.8 kilometers before
reaching the resupply and at the time that they contacted us they were settled
in their tents enjoying some of the “treats” in the resupply, in this case,
vodka! Tomorrow they plan to take it easy, do some reorganization with the new
ration, and possibly put in a few miles. Dennis also plans to make a Christmas
pudding provided by his mother. The phone cut out before the end of his message,
but it sounded as though he might have been preparing to sing a song ?!*!

The team is camped tonight at the Thiel iMountain weather station &
airstrip located at 85.11.971, W 87.52.326. They have crossed the half way mark!
All of your messages of support and greetings are getting through and they mean
a tremendous amount to the team, especially on the hard days when they need to
dig deep just to put one foot in front of the next.

A couple days ago, when the wind
was up.
On tough days messages from the “outside world” mean a

Make sure to listen to Dennis’ most excellent
audio report and check back in tomorrow for another update from the team! Merry

Twas the night before Christmas….

Twas the night before
Christmas and all through the tent,
Not a creature was stirring, they were
wiped out from the ascent.
Their socks and gloves hung from the tent line
with care,
In the hopes that they’d soon be dry from the cold Antarctic
Each team member was nestled all snug in their bag,
Dreaming of the
day they stand beneath the South Pole flag.
And though they had no tree and
from their families they were apart,
They still felt the warmth of Christmas
in their hearts.

Today the team had a windy morning that settled into a
mild afternoon. They made 24.5 kilometers in 10 hours of travel. Everyone is
feeling good and they are happy to be nearing their second resupply. Tomorrow
they will pass 85 degrees – the half way point! Tonight their position is S
84.57.516, W 87.13.241.

BB gives us a nice description of their day as
well as a reminder that they will soon leave their last visible landmark, the
Thiel Mountains. After the Thiel Mountains the landscape is white all the way to
the Pole! BB mentions that the view from their tent tonight was spectacular,
with the tips of mountains dominating the scene. After BB’s update Lisa jumps on
to say hello to all at home. In Sweden, Lisa’s and Oskar’s home country,
Christmas Eve is very special, and on this night she and Oskar are thinking
about their family and wishing everyone well.

We just received a picture
from BB’s birthday! It’s hard to think of a more memorable party than this

BB’s 21st Birthday

A very Merry Christmas Eve to all! Make sure to
listen to BB’s and Lisa’s audio reports and check back again tomorrow for
another update from the team!

if this expedition were a movie….

Today when we spoke with the team I asked Lisa, “Tell me something interesting
about your day,” and she said, “well…we skied, we looked at mountains in the
distance, it was sunny and a very gentle wind…” Sound familiar? It seems that
this description is a reoccurring theme in the expedition! The team feels very
lucky to have such great weather.

The team made good progress today,
covering 25 kilometers in 10 hours. They ended the day at S 84.44.029, W
86.47.557. (For those of you who are nautical sticklers I realize that this is
not the accurate way to write latitude and longitude, but I can’t seem to find
an easy way to include the degree symbol, so I am going with ease over

Bob, in his wonderful audio report below, compares the
expedition to a couple movies and a novel. You’ll have to listen to the audio
report to hear which novel. The first movie is Ground Hog’s Day, and the second
is No Country For Old Men. Bob’s audio reports are always interesting because he
is so creative in finding ways to describe his experiences. It would be fun to
read his journal!

Keeping a journal on an expedition like this takes
tremendous discipline. You may start the journey with the best intentions of
logging your daily thoughts and memories on paper, but by the time you have made
water for the evening, cooked, eaten, made more water for your thermos or water
bottle, dried your boot liners and gloves, mended anything that needs tending,
phoned in your position and taken a deep breath, the thought of writing in a
journal can be very unappealing.

The same goes for taking photos. You
would think that it would be a priority to take many pictures on such an
expedition, but the thought of getting your hands out of your mitts, digging out
your camera, stopping your rhythmic skiing, taking off your goggles, holding
your breath while you aim the camera (so your breath doesn’t fog the lens), and
then having to reverse the whole process… sometimes you don’t end up with so
many photos.

The team approaching 85 degrees

Tomorrow or early the next day the
team should cross 85 degrees which will be a very significant milestone. We’ll
keep you posted to let you know when they make it. For all of you who have sent
holiday wishes to the team we are forwarding your greetings. Thanks!

Make sure to listen to Bob’s audio report and check back again tomorrow
for another update from the team!

Summer Solstice…

Today marks the summer solstice in the southern hemisphere. That’s the longest
day of the year, the day that the sun reaches at its maximum southerly
declination of -23.5 degrees. Of course the team is experiencing 24 hour
sunlight, so this day is probably more significant to those of us in the
northern hemisphere as it signals a return to the longer days of spring and

Longer days is an interesting concept in polar travel. Some
expeditions, in an effort to be more efficient, simply decide to make their days
longer. For instance, instead of working off a 24 hour day they switch to a 30
hour day. They may sleep for 10 hours ski for 14 hours and spend 6 hours
cooking, eating, making water and mending gear every day. Over the course of
many “days” they reduce the number of times they make and break camp, etc. This
strategy works only because of the 24 hour sunlight. It simply does not really
matter what time your watch says, because it always looks the same!

team was happy to have a rest day yesterday, and there were likely a couple 10
hour sleepers in the group. Today they got back to their regular schedule making
24 kilometers. They are skiing towards the Thiel Mountains and they expect to be
there in a couple days. As Dennis mentions in his audio update there are some
treats in their next resupply that they wouldn’t mind having for

The howling wind from yesterday continued throughout the night
and into this morning. Bob recorded winds 12-15 knots with gusts to 25 knots.
The team had to dig themselves out of their camp this morning, as snow drifts
had covered their gear and tents. After a few hours of skiing the sun broke
through the clouds and they were treated to a very nice afternoon and evening.
They are currently located at S 84.30.999, W 86.16.171.

Make sure to
listen to the daily audio report from Dennis and check back again tomorrow for
another update from the team!

Happy Birthday Bryony…

Today the team reports a relaxing layover day with wind buffeting the tent, and
a birthday celebration to commemorate BB”s 21st birthday (on December 21 – her
“golden” birthday!) BB was very happy to receive all the messages from home, and
Lisa and Oskar”s tent was converted into a mini party hall complete with
balloons! We hope to post some pictures soon.

Layover days offer a chance
for the body and mind to rest and recuperate. On days like today, with winds
blasting the tent, it feels especially cozy in a sleeping bag, and the knowledge
that you  have to get out, or break camp, or move at all, is absolutely
wonderful. There”s nothing better than a good sleep in when most mornings are a
race to break camp!

Here”s the birthday girl skiing
a couple days ago.

Dennis and Bob celebrating the
“Diamond Wedding” of Dennis” in laws.

Make sure to
listen to BB”s audio update and check back again tomorrow for another update
from the team!

Happy Birthday Bryony! We hope this is the first of many
very exotic birthday celebrations in the years to come!