“It only takes a millisecond to get a frosbite !”

Published on 07.12.2011 - The Amundsen Memorial Expedition

Every tourist wants to be at South Pole for the celebration of 14 December

Every tourist wants to be at South Pole for the celebration of 14 December

© Børge Ousland and website

The tourists are progressing extremely well. Despite severe conditions. And especially despite a furious cold (-35°C) which obliged them to turn to 6 stints a day instead of 8 !

Amundsen South Pole 2011

 On 5 December, the tourist team has been for 9 days on the ice. On 2 December, after a five days ascent, they had left the Valley of Science which marks the end of the ascent of the Axel Heiberg glacier.

The bad weather forecast of the beginning of this month has forced the decision to cancel the foreseen trip to Mount Nansen. " ... But the weather for the coming days is not so good, with a waried mix of wind, snow, some sun and white-out", wrote Lars Ebbesen on 2 December, the official contributor for Børge Ousland's website. "This forced them to drop the planned side trip up Mount Nansen. Sad. But probably a very good move. Where they are now they have to think big which is getting to the Geographical South Pole safe, sound and with as much energy left as possible. For there awaits another 1160 km for them to have completed a full Antarctic crossing! This trip is not for he fainthearted. ..."

Despite teh wind and the cold keeps them on their toes, the group is gettinbg into its strides. Routines are nailed, the rythm is set, the willingness to go ahead is great. On 6 Decelber, Ebbesen writes : "... a very good day. Though, the wind keeps them on their toes. During the day the only conversation sounds like senile babbling as the wind makes a lot of noises in the hood, around jackets, ski-poles etc. So, lots of time to think – and concentrate yesterday. It only takes a millisecond to get a frostbite, so focus is everything."

After having reached the plateau, two tourists (Ottar and Jacob) decided to continue alone, on their own. Not a word about that decision in the news given by the team members.

  • 3 December (day 7) : 29 km with 9 stints.
  • 4 December (day 8) : 28.9 km.
  • 5 December (day 9) : 20 km with 6 stints.
  • 6 December (day 10) : 24.5 km, 7 stints.

Other groups

Note : we must say that's its a bit difficult to follow all the people sent by Børge Ousland and team on the ice. Down there, we have at the same time :

  • The Millenium expedition, categorized under the title 'Amundsen South Pole 2011', this is the group we are following here, led by Christian Eide. It has been dropped at the bottom of the Axel Heiberg glacier on 27 December. At that time there were still 6 people all together, today they are only 4 of them.
  • From this group, two tourists have just detached themselves after having reached the plateau, Ottar and Jacob. No news from them, no reason why this decision published. Probably a misunderstanding between the members of the group like it often happens under these circumstances when adventure tourism is concerned. They continue their route to the Pole, apparently without any outside help.
  • Not far from this group, are also two other people, Igor and Victor, two russians, who had chosen to be dropped on the place where Amundsen established his 54th camp, this is on the plateau. Ebbesen follows these two on Børge website. They too progress apparently without any guiding.
  • And finally, we have the Jubilee Last Degree Expedition composed of 11 team members. These tourists arrived at Union Glacier ALE/base camp on 4 December : "Saturday evening/Sunday: Four and a half hours after take off they had passed over Cape Horn, crossed the faired Drake straight, follow the stunning Antarctic Peninsula and flown in over the ice of Antarctica. They landed with a roar and a huge plume of snow on the blue-ice runway at Union Glacier." Two days later, they were dropped at about 200 km from the SP : "Monday evening: after the log flight out, they were dropped safely onto the Polar Plateau in perfect conditions. Hardly any wind, blue sky and good conditions.  Quite a few of them felt the height. Not only is the flight out in 12.000 feet in un-pressurized cabins, but the Plateau is at 2700m and due to the earth rotation that I the same as almost 4000m in the Himalayas." These peole are guided by Børge Ousland himself. This story can also be followed on Ousland's website. They are supposed to reach SP on 14 December.

 

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