A Motley and Bearded Community at the SP
Published on 13.01.2012 - Antarctica 2011-12 Legacy Crossing
Unlike Mark George (who has decided not to go on with the return trip), pair Copeland/McNair has decided to venture into the return trek SP > HI. In the meantime, both men have met the other expeditioners who had just arrived at the SP -Lou, Henry, Mark, Hannah and the others : quite a motley crew...
What happens when explorers meet ?
What happens when so many adventurers (who just have finished to achieve one of their polar dreams) meet for dinner in a nice and confortable tent at the SP ? Do they start telling each other their personal experiences ? One could easily think so. Well, no. Not exactly.
Here is another beautiful and meaningful and so clever piece of literature by Copeland. Here is how he describes this kind of special gathering. We say 'special' because it does not happen very often that reknown explorers get together, they usually do not like these meetings too much...
Excerpts of 10 January Copeland's blog : "... Conversations are easy and familiar, made all the more so as all but one are British. Some details are shared on customized gear, breakdown challenges, and stories of past expeditions. Somehow, the struggles and personal challenges experienced on each of our trip remain unspoken. They don’t come up; not immediately, nor do they need to. Generally speaking, these follow the same narrative. Nothing is as quite as effective as the ice to strip down your ego to the core and expose your vulnerabilities before building you back up. It is like stripping down the paint off a surface to its base and buffing it, in order to lay down fresh coats for a new layered finish. The weathered faces, limping walks and resolved, peaceful expressions tell a story that words wouldn’t. And if you carry those yourself, not much needs to be said in order to be understood. Mostly what unites us is the inner peace that comes from meeting a difficult objective, and the humility of not knowing exactly how you managed to get there. A long mission on the ice is often a one day at a time affair. And it is hard, even personally, to retrace each step that led you through. Diligent preparation and conditioning are the platforms on which you are broken. The rebuilding process is in itself the admission of vulnerability, while the aches and pains are the symptoms. But the authenticity you read in each of these men’s gaze is the pay off; and it is instantly familiar." (we only hope that Copeland will write a book about his adventure).
Another adventure begins
Besides, the pair left the SP (the other expeditioners were there to see them off) on day 68 of their adventure, 12 January (at 6pm TU). With the intention of course of reaching HI on time. During the first two hours, they met three teams (Japanese, Russians and a disabled man) who were skiing the last degree ; they lost two hours in great fun, putting a close of their "social butterflying".
Helped by the best winds on earth, Copeland and McNair kited for almost eleven hours and have covered that night (12 January) 227 kil ! No more than 903 kil to go. That's about 60 kil per day.