Five Stars South Pole
Published on 26.12.2011 - The South Pole Jubilee Expedition
The group of tourists guided by Norwegian explorer Christian Eide have done pretty well so far (see comment below). After three days rest at the SP in a five star tent, they left towards Union Glacier ALE base camp (a 1.100 km trek).
One of the fastest ever trips
Actually, according to Rory (the oldest participant in that group), "the trip to the South Pole ended up being one of the fastest ever trips from the coast to the South Pole. It was the big historic route, which is harder, higher and colder than all other routes in use. Once we got going, there were no problems, no injuries, no equipment breakages and most importantly, no mistakes. This was done, all unsupported and unassisted. This is all down to the determination and the preparation of the team..." (extracts of the 20 December press communiqué).
A further jolly comment from the same Rory O'Connor, written on the same day : " What is quite galling, is we met people who had just driven the route we are going to travel. They did the trip in trucks with huge wheels and took 39 hours. It will take us approximately 3 weeks!". (That was of course the Jason De Carteret team running after a world record, see our coverage)
A five stars tent at SP
That said, the group had of course a nice stay at the South Pole. Because Ousland and Eide, the protagonists of this trek, have organized to set up a airy tent for their clients so that they can relax, sit in chairs near the fire, having been served food (chefs were supplied) and have dinner sit at a proper table. They even could have a glass of red wine ! They could also write postcards (to be sent from there!).
On 23 December, they took advantage of favorable catabatic winds blowing from SP towards west coast as (according to the mathematic models) they normally do.
But the next day, the group had to stay in the tent already, because the wind was in the opposite direction to the one they can use. This is the proof that one does not have to rely too much on the scientific mathematical models when travelling in the Antarctic.
Why did they not move ahead skiing or marching ? Because as they are no more than three weeks away from their final destination (Union Glacier ALE Base camp), as the base only closes at the end of January, they have enough time (at least they think so) to wait a bit for favorable winds in order to progress kiting only on this part of the voyage.