Published on 11.01.2009 - Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition
Now that the two teams have joined up successfully at Mile 97, there are 6 of them out there on the ice instead of three. So now it's full steam ahead for the Pole: "To finish the job off', as they say.
As we have said many times before, one of the main interests in this expedition has been the constant coming and going back into history, comparing the progress made by the men today and their counterparts from Sir Ernest Shackleton's era back on his historic Nimrod expedition in 1908-09.
Of course, any comparison can only be relative, because the equipment used by Shackleton's men at the beginning of the 20th century was a far cry from the modern-day gear equipping the Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition. Which also means that the relative performances are also not exactly comparable.
But regardless of that, Worsley draws an interesting comparison in his update on 6th January, writing: "While Shackleton, Swan (a 1985-86 expedition by Robert Swan over the same route) and Worsley all set out on the same day (albeit a century apart), today, after 54 day's progress on the ice, Swan had covered 628 miles and Shackleton 645, whereas Worsley's team covered 760 miles in the same period of time..." It's not so much their performance in covering this distance that has Worlsey so excited, but the fact that because they were able to shift up a gear when they needed to, especially when they were climbing Beardmore Glacier, they arrived at Mile 97 on schedule, the place where, one hundred years ago, Shackleton decided to turn back.
The plan was for a rendezvous to take place with the remainder of the team, which arrived on time from Patriot Hills by Twin Otter. Now there are six of them on the polar icecap and their aim is to reach the Pole together. Having said that, team one, the Ice Team, which set out from Shackleton Hut, will forge ahead of the other three men (the Mile 97 team), because they have just arrived on the ice and will need to acclimatise to the altitude.
But because the Pole is now only 140 kilometres away, the betting is that by 20th January Ãâ possibly even earlier Ãâ both teams will have reached the South Pole, thereby successfully completing their adventure.