Plateau (Log #32)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 33 in Antarctica. Great progress today, Lou crosses 88 degrees South and is now two degrees from the South Pole. He's feeling leaner now and his thermal underwear has become quite baggy. He's now made 14.8 nautical miles and can feel the surface changing, which means he's up on the Polar plateau. Lou hopes to reach 89 degrees South in the next four days. That would put him 60 nautical miles from the Pole... 


Dec 5 2018 - 

Good evening everyone,

Reporting in now from day 33 of the expedition. A good milestone day for me today. Around about lunchtime, I crossed 88 degrees South, which puts me two degrees from the South Pole. Great to be able to achieve that, and then made another further 10 miles across 88, so I’ve taken a big chunk out of 88, so really pleased. Overall I did 14.8 nautical miles today – almost made 15. Great progress. The surface is really changing and the whole area feels really different so I’m really on the Polar plateau now. I’m getting a real sense of progress. Hopefully from here, to reach 89 degrees South, the last degree, in the next four days. That’d put me 60 nautical miles from the Pole. It’s getting closer.

I’m definitely getting a bit leaner now, starting to feel my thermal underwear is getting a bit baggy. Definitely losing weight, which is to be expected with the amount of physical activity I’m putting in. I’ve been chatting to some people about the bird sighting. Apparently the most likely candidate is a snow petrel, which pretty much fits the bill from the description I’ve had. Unfortunately, I can’t receive images here, to have a look at one to compare it, but from the description I’ve had it could well have been a snow petrel. I’ve been thinking a lot about that encounter. It really was quite surreal.

I was going to talk about the evening routine. I’m quite busy and a lot goes on. As soon as I stop, the priority is getting the tent straight up – I can get that up in about 10 minutes now and then dig the pit of despair – that I’ve already talked about – in the vestibule. I throw all my gear inside, that I need for the night, then the priority is to get the cooker on, and to start melting snow, cause that takes the longest. So I get that going, and as soon as that’s up and running and the first batch of snow is in the kettle, then it’s ski boots off. The main bit of hygiene that I do is take my boots and socks off and wash my feet in snow in the vestibule, dry them off and put on foot powder, and put on clean sleeping socks. I’ll dive into the tent then proper, lay out my sleeping bag, and drink about a litre of energy drink once the first batch of snow’s melted. Then I rehydrate my food and have my meal – and I had spaghetti carbonara tonight, which was really nice. Then I’m into the routine of doing the blogs, writing my diary. I have to phone Union Glacier comms and check in with them and report my position and any issues that I’ve got going on. And then I have to fire up the sat comms to get the daily photo out – the images that you see – get all that done. Get the solar panel rigged up and start recharging all the communications kit and my phone. So there’s quite a lot and generally it’s about 11 o’clock in the evening by the time I’ve got everything done that needs to be cracked.

Just to finish off, I’d like to do a shout out to my Grandad Thrush, my father Phil Rudd and my Auntie Christine and Brian. I look forward to catching up with you all when I get home.