Richard Parks : dream is over

Published on 28.01.2013 - Solo on the classical Hercules Inlet - South Pole (Richard Parks)

On 25 January, after having walked solo 974 kils out of the total distance of 1 200 kils that exists between Hercules Inlet and the SP, Briton R. Parks has announced that he had to abandon his South Pole Ski expedition. One of the most difficult decisions he had to make. All polar explorers agree on this setback

After his abandon, we still not not know why this particular South Pole Ski adventure was so important (according to his statements before leaving) for his adventures to come. Anyhow here are some excerpts of his diary explaining why he ad to give up : "... Wednesday night in my tent I was looking at my map and the numbers, my heart began to sink with the reality of the situation.  I didn’t sleep a wink, partly because my body clock is disoriented as I have been skiing through the night and because of the 24 hour sunlight but mostly I was playing through every scenario possible of if I could get to the South Pole by the 28th and just to be clear, that it’s the end of the day on the 27th that I have to be there by.”

“The most obvious option would be to ditch the 24 hour operating system I have been running and adopt the same principle as I did on Denali and just ski, eat, ski eat continuously using the 24 hour sunlight or the other option to try and get two big days in on a 24 hour push at the end…but I kept coming back to my last 30km day on Wednesday and at what cost that would be.  After 39 days and having been operating a very very tight system with no injuries, that particular 30km day and working at that level and pushing that hard, it affected my judgment.  I was working so hard and I took my facemask off to get more breath in as it clogged up and I have cold damage to my nose now.  In an environment as unforgiving is this, in my opinion, safety is non negotiable.”

Richard added : “This has been one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make being so close, having progressed so well and having invested so much in to this, however expeditions are difficult things and in life we all have to make difficult decisions.  I have made this decision with all the facts on the table with a clear head and clear heart and I am really sorry to tell you guys that quite simply I have run out of time over here.”

Richard added in his blog : “I have been starving myself close to 40 days now, that is the nature of it as you can’t consume more calories than you burn, it’s the fine line you run but I am skin and bones over here.  I am the weakest and lightest I have ever been.  The last week has really battered me basically.”
“I was in a good system and place until I hit the epic sastrugi.  Everyone else has had to go through this just the same as me, there are no excuses but I had to fight for every metre in horrific weather conditions as well as this and it absolutely battered me.  The last few days my body has taken a significant turn for the worse.  My mouth is full of ulcers and even though I have had fantastic food from Fuizion and have taken my daily vitamin and mineral supplements which are also in my daily food bag, my body is run down to a point where I have not been before.  And to pick my first cold injury as result of mental and physical fatigue is an alarm bell that I am not going to ignore.  I physically and safely cannot cover 200km in 3 days.  I simply have run out of time.”

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