The Basque Team : Arrival at South Pole
Published on 02.01.2012 - TransAntartika 2011
29 December, 10 am UTC. The Basque team has finally made it to the South Pole. They have decided to proceed with their adventure and to try to reach the Union Glacier ALE base camp before 26 January.
2.200 kil in 44 days
The highlight of the Basque updates since they have touched the Pole is probably not -a swallow does not make a summer- the narrative of their arrival ; they have covered 2.200 kil and have done the travel in 44 days, after having left the Russian base of Novolazarevskaya on 16 November. They have had temperatures until minus 44°c and at the beginning of the trek, their sledges weighted 170 kilos. Of course we have seen in the previous dispatches that they have not been very lucky with the meteo: if they had encountered better conditions (terrain and winds), they would have covered the same distance in less than 40 days.
We prefer to highlight the comments that Juan Vallego, one of the three climbers, has written on 1 January, while they were waiting in ANI tent at the South Pole the favorable winds to take off and meet the ice for another 1.100 kilometers.
The Far West at the South Pole
Just because that Basque adventurer has written something no expeditioners had observed before. It concerns the description of the Amundsen Scott base buildings : "The rest of the landscape is just a three floors building which is the heart of the scientific american base Amundsen Scott. We see also another building which according to the information we have received is dedicated to the research on the Neutrinos (in fact, nobody could tell us what these Neutrinos were exactly!). We have noticed that this building is equiped with a big telescope and surrounded by quite a number of small sheds or barracks but we could not discover what these small constructions were used for ! Anyway looking at them give the impression to be in a remote part of old time West America...." The Far West at South Pole : quite a surprise isn't it ?
The same day, 1 January, the Basque team has been invited by ANI to have dinner in their tent together with some other people. Among them were some tourists who had just finished with covering what it's called 'The last degree trek' : it means being dropped at about 120 kil from the Pole and skiing the distance with a guide. Juan Vallego has a nice and well observed comment talking about these tourists : "You'll see", he writes, "when back home, most of these people will consider themselves as great polar explorers..."