Different ice, zero sastrugis : Fairbank is in seventh heaven

Published on 23.12.2011 - The South Pole : Solo but not Alone

Each day, quinquagenerian Howard Fairbank is of course getting closer and closer to the SP. He is so immensely happy that he almost forgets his toes problems.

"Gee, that's good news...!

"On 23 December, Fairbank had reached 88°54.872 S / 81°31.549 W. "Last day in the 88th", he writes, "I'll cross the emotional  89th parallel tomorrow morning.... Gee, that's good news!...".

That means he has no more than 111 km to go. So, after so many setbacks and horrid days passed with pain on an even more horrid terrain, finally the goods have come and the bads have maybe gone for good.

But still, Howard remains worried about his toes. Of course when everything is OK during the day and when he checks his GPS after the ski session, realizing that he had added 34.3 km under his belt (like it was the case on this 13 December), he forgets his pain.

But when suddenly, on the same day, while starting with the mounting of the tent (it was about 6pm), his foot explodes into excruciating pain (so bad that he could hardly walk), then he knows that he is not over yet with his adventure.

What really kills him most, is that he does not know exactly the source of his pain. The fact that he has been informed that in the tourists group guided by Richard Weber (on the same itinerary), one of the clients (Chris de Lapuente) had to be airlifted on 22 December whereas they had no more than seven days to ski, does not help Howard a lot either.

The most challenging part of his trek

Anyway, Howard Fairbank knows that he is maybe entering now the most challenging part of his all trip. "Trying to keep a lid on emotions and not focusing on the finish but that's really hard", he writes on 23 December.

In addition, he has to start kiting again tomorrow because he only has food for four more days. Of course he can always start rationning but he knows that it could not last long...

And maybe -who knows?- everything will be quite different again tomorrow. Antarctic never shows the same face from one day to another. Last detail : theses last days, Fairbank has regularly postponed the 'philosophy ' section of his updates.

That's not a bad idea at all, Howard !



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