The South Pole (Log #40)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 41 in Antarctica. After a 4am wake-up Lou's on his way to the South Pole, ploughing through total whiteout conditions. He skis 11 miles, searching for the Pole through the driving snow, until finally he spots a radar installation. He's made it! Lou meets the head of ALE camp and the rest of the ALE staff. He then moves on to get clear of the Pole and camps at the end of the runway outside the South Pole Station. That's 16.2 nautical miles and a huge milestone day…

Arrival time: 1645 - 13th December


Dec 13 2018 - 

Good evening everyone...

Reporting in now from day 41 of the expedition. Absolutely epic day! So much to cover. I only get four minutes for the blog as it’s a voicemail, so I’ll try and cram it all in!

South Pole day! I set my alarm for 4 o’clock this morning, cause I knew it was going to be a big day. I was on the move just after Five. Absolutely atrocious conditions unfortunately, total whiteout, driving snow, almost like a blizzard, which was a shame, with 11 miles to do to get into Pole. So I ploughed on, and literally I saw nothing, until about a mile and a half out, conditions were that bad. Constantly scanning the horizon through the mist trying to look for something and, finally, in the gloom, and outline of a radar instillation, which is on the outskirts of the Pole. Incredible feeling to finally see something, and realise I was getting there. From there, you have to aim for the final way point, which is a sign, a big sign that ALE have positioned. It says ‘congratulations, you’re almost at the South Pole.’ You get to there and you stop and you phone in and check in, let them know that you’re there and then confirm you can proceed. You then head to the ALE camp, which is a small tented camp just down from the South Pole itself. So headed there. There are only three ALE staff there; the main man Devon, a Polar guide, came out to meet me as I skied towards the tent. That was amazing. We’d last met in Punta a couple of months ago, right at the start of the expedition. So big hugs and then straightaway we skied down to the actual South Pole itself. He came down with me to help with photos.

I got there at 1645, for those who have entered the competition – the sweepstake – that was the exact time of my arrival at the bottom dead centre of our planet, the geographic South Pole. We got there, did a series of photos as best we could in the conditions, and I’ll send my photos through now, over the next few nights. We did those, and moved across to the ceremonial South Pole as well, and got a lot of images done there. He was actually commenting on the conditions this season and said it’s one of the most difficult seasons in his many years of being out here that he’s seen. Which is quite comforting, as I’ve had quite a hard time with the weather. He said two other soloists who were heading for the South Pole have pulled out because of the conditions, so again I can take some comfort that I’m doing OK.

Then a whole load of staff from the South Pole station came out, they’d all been following the story in the New York Times and following the blogs, so it was really nice. The station manager, she came out, and a whole load of other staff, and they all wanted a photo with me, which made me feel like quite a celebrity. But it was really nice, all wishing me luck. I was there for about an hour, and then I pushed on.

Got clear of the Pole and I’m camped about four or five kilometres right at the end of the runway outside the South Pole Station and looking forward getting stuck into the next leg. Altogether, 16.2 nautical miles today as well. I’m about to run out [of time on the voicemail].