The white lady, expedition leader, hereby certifies…

Published on 11.01.2009 - Expedicion Caixanova 2008

The announcement of Spaniard Chus Lago's arrival at the South Pole was a little unusual, albeit suitably full of pomp and circumstance.

Announcements reporting the arrival or success of a polar expedition of some kind usually restrict themselves merely to relating the facts of the achievement, along with varying levels of detail, precision and enthusiasm, but always with a more or less standard wording informing the general public of this or that achievement.

Announcement of the completion of the Caixanova expedition, though, was unusual to say the least, filled as it was to bursting point with what can only be described as an unusual reporting style. Chus's successful arrival at the South Pole was reported as follows (no need for a translation, everyone will get the gist): "La Jefa de la Expedición Caixanova al Polo Sur, la Señora María Jesús Lago Rey, para que surta los efectos oportunos, CERTIFICA La llegada al Polo Sur de todos y cada uno de los expedicionarios en perfectas condiciones de salud." Sounds a bit like a dusty certificate issued by government department of some kind. But it is Spain, after all, and everyone know that customs in that particular country tend to have a certain preference for what can only be described as pomp and circumstance.

But that is by the by. The important thing to remember is that the 'white lady', as she likes to call herself, made it successfully to the end of her journey. Mrs Maria Jesus Lago Rey, leader of the Caixanova al Polo Sur expedition arrived at the South Pole on 8th January after rolling up her sleeping bag at 1.30 on that morning and skiing the 13 kilometres she had left to complete. Chus had walked, marched, trudged and skied alone for 59 days.

Like all polar adventurers who arrive at the American base, Chus received a warm welcome from the locals. In this case, it was Lisa, a Californian girl with big blue eyes, who provided biscuits, a tour of the base, medical check-up and hot drinks. Two days later, Chus was taken back to Patriot Hills by the ALE logistics team. Her triumphant return to her Spanish homeland will be on about 13th or 14th January.

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