The Parhelion (Log #30)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 31 in Antarctica. Lou wakes to great weather. The sun is out, encircled by the frozen halo of a parhelion. A light wind is sweeping across the ice as Lou pushes on, wearing only his thermal top for the first half of the day. The temperature hovers around -20C while he's out on the ice, working hard, hauling and heating up. Lou is now up at 8,200ft and has just 1,000ft left of climbing before he reaches the Pole...


Dec 3 2018 - 

Good evening everyone,

Reporting in now from day 31 of the expedition. I woke this morning to great conditions weather-wise; the sun was out, and very light winds. When I popped outside for my first morning business of the day (which I’ve already talked about) there was an awesome parhelion around the sun – which was absolutely stunning. Sometimes it’s called a sun dog as well; it’s basically like a giant rainbow – a sort of big halo around the sun – and it’s created by frozen ice crystals in the air that create the phenomenon. It’s absolutely stunning. Quite nice to have that for the start of the day. That was around for a couple of hours as I was skiing. 

With the very light winds, very quickly I was down to skiing in my thermal top for about the first half of the day. It was about -20 but you’re working so hard with the hauling that you generate so much heat, you’re quickly stripping off. It’s quite nice to be skiing with minimal kit on and pushing out the mileage.

A steady day. Quite a bit of climbing. Ended up climbing for the first two hours of the day. I’m now up at 8,200ft, which means I’ve only got about just over 1,000ft of climbing left to do before I reach the Pole, which is about 150 miles away. Hopefully, by the time I finish tomorrow, I’ll be really close to reaching 88 degrees South. I won’t quite manage, I don’t think, to cross it tomorrow. But by the time I camp tomorrow night, hopefully if all goes well, I’ll be really close and will definitively cross the following day. So everything is all on track and going well at the moment. No medical issues, no major equipment issues, everything is working well and I’m well settled into my groove.


Just to finish off, I’ve still got lots of thank yous to do. There are so many people who’ve been involved in this expedition and helping me get to the start point. I’d like to thank tonight some key people from the Army, who’ve been absolutely fantastic with their support, and that’s the Army Adventure Training Group. Particularly there, the head of the Adventure Training Group – Colonel Neil Wilson, Colonel Chris Coates, Major Graham Cook – who’s supplied the pulk and the tent and some of the key equipment for the expedition – absolutely fantastic. And the regional Adventure Training Officer Cliff Pearn. Those four guys from Adventure Training Group have been absolutely fantastic with their support.

A huge thank you from me for everything that you’ve done guys. Adventure Training Group is an amazing organisation which facilitates adventure training across the whole of the British Army. What it does is absolutely incredible and creates amazing opportunities like this expedition. Huge thanks from me.

That’s all from me tonight and I look forward to speaking to you tomorrow.