Day 8 – victory and a close shave

So the moment of truth…. I wake up and wiggle my toes, not bad, I then get ready to step outside for a wee… I am hobbling but not like the day before. I get back into the tent and strap up the foot. First battle is getting my foot into the boot. Victory!!!!!!! So with these tasks complete all I have to do is ski 21 km!!! Easy surely???? There is absolutely no wind!!! Thank the Lord!!!

The first session goes really well, 5km in 1 hour 45!! Perfect. There is still no wind and the sky is blue, so my prayers were answered! As I am skiing it is clear that we are in the middle of a massive crevasse field. I know what to look for and snake through making sure to ski over parts that narrow to less then the width of a ski. Then I see one that is about a ski length. I test it with my pole and ski forward. The entire snow bridge gave way leaving a deep hole that I cannot see the bottom of. Luckily I have half a ski on the other side and the other mid stride to land on the safe side. It is a clear indication that danger is everywhere. A very lucky escape but also good that I listened to what to do. The close shave is that two feet either side the crevasse was 2 ski lengths wide.

Session 2 is looking good, snaking through the blue ice fields, there seems to be enough snow trails to get through until… ahead is 2 km of blue ice with no snow cover! Crampons on and an hour of agony. Lunch break was needed!

Session 3 was also a toughie, with more blue ice but we easily completed the 5km

Session 4 included more blue ice and all of a sudden Eric sat on the front of the sled and pushed off making 100m easily and getting to some snow. I of course attempted this and made no progress for the first 2 attempts but the 3rd skidded me about 40m forward.

In the tent now and pondering the events of the day and also the incredible day that it is!!

Amundsen, Hanssen, Bjaaland, Hassel and Wisting arrived at the South Pole today (yesterday, due to time difference) 105 years ago! What an achievement. I have more respect for them and of course Scott and his team than I can possibly say in these short words. They were titans amongst men and with the kit of the day, food and navigation techniques available it was a truly incredible achievement. The Antarctic is not for the feint hearted or those that have anything but complete respect for her as the most powerful force of nature!

105 years on and I am in a Glacier untouched and unseen. Just writing what I am doing in the next paragraph to those men makes me feel humble, even if it is my own paragraph!