White Out Wipe Out!
Published on 17.12.2007 - Optical Express South Pole Challenge
There have been several days of white out conditions since our last report. The eldest member of the group has decided to be picked up.
Two major events coloured the week for the team from Optical Express, an expedition organised by the tour operator NorthWinds.
The first event was a departure. In addition to the guide, this NorthWinds expedition originally consisted of four others: the two youngsters from Optical Express (who we have mentioned before), a young Japanese woman, Sumiyo Tsuzuki, whose exploits include a successful attempt on Everest, and an older man, Peter Blaikie, a 70-year-old Canadian. It was Peter who told the group on 7th December that he had had enough and did not want to continue. We do not have any additional details about the reason behind his departure, but it would appear that Peter's decision was not forced by any specific distress or physical injury. The ALE Twin Otter flew in to collect the departing septuagenarian on 8th December at 5 in the morning.
The second event has been the ongoing bad weather. In fact, from 8th December through to the 14th, the remaining trio has had to contend with non-stop white out conditions. Five days of constant milk weather! But despite everything, this has not stopped them from progressing, nibbling away at their target to the tune of ten or so kilometres a day.
On 14th December, the group celebrated the 96th anniversary of Roald Amundsen's arrival at the South Pole â an event that fitted in well with the daily grind of the expedition, which had just passed latitude 82 south.