Slowely but shurely

Published on 06.01.2011 - One step at a time

The pair Willem ter Horst - Hannah McKeand have just passed the difficult degree 87, a zone famous for his big sastrugis fields and bumpy surfaces. Their progression is nevertheless remarkably regular.

"One step at a time"... That's how Dutchman Willem ter Horst described one of the leitmotifs of his antarctic adventure when he presented it to the press some months ago. And of course, after reading probably the most epic odysseys of the Antarctic, he had understood at least one of the keys of the big heroes : concentrate on what your have to do right where you are and do not think too much of the future.

And indeed this tactique has paid off : after 41 days of expedition, the pair has no more than 168 km to go (91 nautical miles) to reach the South Pole. In spite of the fact that these last days have been quite arduous and tiring because of the constant white outs and the numerous sastrugis fields (and also because they had to climb almost every day), Willem and Hannah were keeping their march to a solid average of about 15 nautical miles per day.

For this last effort (the last 150 km), they have in addition a strong headwind that slows them down quite a bit of course. Here is a part of his last blog (5 January) : "... We did just 12.2 nm and that brought us to 88°29'S. I really hope I will improve a little over the next week, I don't want to be out here for more than seven more days. 13 nm a day isn't too much to ask, is it? Today we climbed a bit again, but the major factor was the strong wind blowing directly in our faces. That always slows us down considerably. On top of that the snow feels like sandpaper. There is just no glide. Hannah tells me that's not going to change any more. It's just to cold. Whatever Antarctica brings I must be able to cope with it. Just 91 nm more to go, eventhough morale is a bit low at the moment, I must be able to do that. Let's see what tomorrow brings. ...".

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