The Trudge (Log #39)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 40 in Antarctica. Lou has now gone through 40 days of food. It's a tough start. Full-on whiteout. Heavy snowfall. Lou is forced to trudge through deep snow, with the heavy pulk resisting him and pulling hard against the harness. At the end of the day he sets up camp around 11 miles from the South Pole. He plans to arrive there tomorrow, at which point he'll take stock of his resources, perform a dynamic risk assessment and ensure he has adequate supplies to attempt the second leg and push on...


Dec 12 2018 - 

Good evening everyone… 

Reporting in now from day 40 of the expedition. Quite a tough start to the day. Looked out this morning and it was full-on whiteout, and snowing quite hard as well. Hour-by-hour, as the snow came down, it just got deeper and deeper, and turned into a really difficult trudge. It makes the pulk feel really heavy and it’s hard driving skis through the deep snow as well. Really mild as well, which is surprising as I’m up at way over 9,000ft – obviously not far out from the Pole – you don’t expect those kind of conditions. I was down to my thermal base layer by the middle of the day. It felt like about minus 10. But then later in the afternoon, the whiteout cleared, which was great.

The sun came out and I was able to make better progress. Where I’d been slow in the day, I was really keen to get as close to Pole as I could by the end of the day so I ended up extending the day quite a bit just to get myself in position. I’m pleased to say I’m now camped 11 miles from the South Pole, which is absolutely fantastic. It was a long, hard day to get to this point, but I’ve positioned myself deliberately now so I can certainly reach the South Pole tomorrow. Which is really exciting – sort of like Christmas. It’s a huge milestone, and the third time that I’ve skied full range from coastline into the South Pole. I’m really looking forward to that, it’ll be amazing. 

Also had the great satisfaction of rolling up my fourth 10-day food bag as well at the end of today, so that’s 40 days of food I’ve gone through. It’s quite satisfying to roll that up and stick that in the back of the pulk. The plan is tomorrow – hopefully conditions will be slightly better – but whatever the conditions I’m going to reach the Pole tomorrow. I’m just going to keep going till I get there. Hopefully late afternoon, early evening, I should get into the Pole. The plan is to get in there. I’ve got a load of photographs and stuff that I’ve got to do at the Pole, and I’m also going to pause for a bit and take stock of exactly what resources I’ve got left – food, fuel, and do a dynamic risk assessment of whether I think it’s feasible to carry on and attempt the second leg out beyond the Pole. I’m not planning on staying there too long – a couple of hours – and if I’m happy, and I think I’ve got the resources and it all looks good to attempt the second leg then I’ll push on. I’ll confirm all that tomorrow.

A quick thank you. I’ve had some great messages of support from Lt Col Shaun Chandler and Col Chris Coates. I’ve received those messages, thank you very much. I’ve just not had time to do any kind of response. Everything is a bit manic at the moment. But I really appreciate them, thank you very much. I look forward to speaking to you all, hopefully at some point if I can get a blog in, tomorrow.

That’s all from me.