Day 12 – Into the valley of the giants

Today started with a moderate wind which bought a fairly cold feeling. I had bandaged my foot all night and it was feeling good!

The position we camped meant that the vista as we exited the tent we could see right back down the Reedy in all her glory! It was stunning.

The first session went well and quick, even though it was up a steep incline all day. In fact we climbed 295 metres today. We have decided that we are going to take a direct route up from the Glacier to the plateau as the rises we have already skied should be equal to the rises the map shows, we feared they would be too much of a gradient.

The second session also went well and fast until we  came across a crevasse that was a little bigger than the ones faced so far. The ones to date had been a ski length wide in places, allowing for easy crossing, this monster was 40 metres across! We skied 200m along the crevasse to try and go around and were lucky that it ended. We decided to stop for lunch and then put on the crevasse gear to rope up and cross anymore.

Session 3 started with a 30m crevasse followed by more 40m, 50m and then a giant 60m crevasse. I would consider myself fairly brave but I must admit to a little anxiety! The issue with the 50m and 60m ones is that the rope is only 50m long and has many knots in.

We also came across giant crevasses where the snow bridges had collapsed and it was a reminder of what lays underneath these sleeping monsters.

It was actually good fun, the three of us in line together for the first time in the trip, Keith is usually a couple of km away on his bike.

The other major part of today was what was going on in my mind. Two main things really, I am winning the pain management and I have been thinking hard about what I want to give back from this amazing experience.

With the pain management I have worked out a way with the right amount of painkillers and some real focus on the skiing and what I intend to give back, to last every session happy and controlled. The foot aches and the pounding on the ice can make it hurt. The sores are much better with the crevasse harness on, so I may wear that every day.

The part I want to give back is to present to the incredible young people at schools across the UK exactly what it takes to succeed and use that power we all have inside. That same power that we find so easy to give to others and concede what we have control of and allow them to hurt and influence us. I have found that this very same power can be given to inanimate objects such as your environment, such as the Antarctic. Today I kept some of my power and it made a lot of difference. Don’t get me wrong I respect where I am and will never be complacent but in a small way I kept the power that I have to influence my own outcome for today.

I also want to reach out to these young people and in any way I can let them see that they are the next generation of pioneers and can achieve anything they dream of. I already have 3 schools, including my very own Royal Latin School, with its incredible apple tree. If anyone else is interested in me presenting to their kids school please write to me at team@trek2poles.com

One final thought, I really need to increase the donations to Cancer Research UK. Any ideas to spread the word and get more donations please try. Any business out there that would like to donate to this wonderful cause please donate now via: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Robert-Smith69