Still over a hundred kilometres to go…

Published on 22.12.2008 - Finnish South Pole Expedition 2008

The two Finns have reached 88 degrees South, where they took their second rest day since beginning their adventure. After that, they set out again for their final assault on the Pole.

Although everything is going to plan for the two men, they seem to be tiring and almost at the end of their tether. "We have to admit," writes Ikonen, "that 40 days of constant physical stress and extreme fatigue are beginning to take their toll on our bodies. Add to that an altitude of 3 000 metres, temperatures never far from minus 30°C and the fact we are finding it hard to sleep and you get a picture of what we have to endure every day. All of which is slowing us down, although our sledges have become incredibly light now. But these days, it is taking us ten hours to cover 30 kilometres, if we're lucky – whereas before we could easily do 34 or 35 km in nine hours..."

The reason why the two Finns are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel (they have only got about another 100 kilometres or so to do to get to the Pole) is because they have reached 88 degrees South. This is one of the turning points on the trek from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and from this point on, everything starts getting harder – apart from the climb up to the polar plateau, which at this stage of the trek is virtually complete. But the men now have to contend with other difficulties: plunging temperatures, softer snow, which is much harder to ski on and winds that can be incredibly strong here – plus the altitude, which can always have an insidious effect on the body...

But for all that, the two Finns are feeling strong. After just their second rest day on the whole expedition (18th December), they set out again towards the south, chalking up a gain of 34 kilometres by evening.

Their aim is to reach the Pole for the evening of Christmas Eve.

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