The gateway to the Pole lies ahead!

Published on 17.12.2008 - Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Reading the dispatches sent back by the Matrix Shackleton Centenary expedition, you can't help but be caught up in flashbacks and go back to the era of those incredible pioneers who first opened up the way to the South Pole a century ago. It's pretty powerful stuff!

The past week has been filled with emotion for the members of the Matrix Shackleton Centenary expedition. That's because the team has reached the foot of Beardmore Glacier, which is the glacier chosen by Shackleton and his men to climb up to the polar plateau and head for the South Pole. Bad weather prevented them from enjoying some of the fabulous views along the way, but the sky finally cleared once they were approaching Mount Hope, which is the geographic location where an obelisk marks the entrance to the glacier.

A few days later, they started tackling the glacier, just as Shackleton did a hundred years ago – negotiating the fields of crevasses and blue ice, zigzagging the areas of sastruggis and being careful not to tire themselves out too much on this slow climb towards the polar plateau.

Beardmore Glacier itself is about a hundred miles long (approximately 160 km) and it will take them a week or so to climb it and start out on the second half of the expedition.

In the meantime, they are eating up the miles, achieving a succession of personal bests: 15.3 nautical miles (28.3 km) on 8th December, 15.6 nautical miles (28.8 km) on the 10th, 17.2 nautical miles (31.8 km) on the 11th, and so on. The men are now certain to be able to keep up with the schedule that they set themselves at the beginning of this journey.

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