The Descent (Log #48)

L O U ' S   D I A R Y  

Day 49 in Antarctica. Seven weeks without rest, skiing between 11-12 hours a day. Lou has another good day and makes 22.2 nautical miles. Strong wind and spindrifts whip up as he begins to descend off the edge of the Polar plateau, towards the Transantarctic mountains...


Dec 21 2018 - 

Good evening everyone...

Reporting in now on day 49 of the expedition. Another milestone – seven weeks I’ve been going for now without taking a rest day. I was just marvelling today at the human body and what kind of abuse it can take. I’ve skied pretty much every day for between 11 and 12 hours for seven weeks and it’s holding up – I’m pretty impressed with the human body. Good day today, I managed to achieve over 20 again – 22.2 nautical miles today. Very similar conditions, still quite a strong wind blowing, generating a tonne of spindrift. Had a go at trying to get some of the spin drift out of the pulk tonight, I’m carry a load of extra weight where the snow gets in, into all the kit in the pulk. As soon as I was digging it out, it was just refilling, so it’s a bit of a pointless exercise until the weather calms down. I’ll leave it for the time being.

Great today, I noticed I actually descended. I hadn’t really noticed it while I was skiing but when I checked the altitude at the end of today, I’ve come down from 9,600ft to bang on 9,000. I’ve dropped 600ft gradually throughout the day. For 49 days I’ve been climbing, it’s the first time I’ve descended. Hopefully I’m starting come off the edge of the Polar plateau now as I head towards the Transantarctic mountains, so it will be nice to come down. After coming a couple of thousand feet down I should really start to feel the benefit of that. 

I had to make a short pit stop today, very briefly. I felt something inside my boot. It was starting to dig into my foot. I was like ‘what the hell is in there? It must have got in this morning.’ I quickly whipped my boot and sock off, and it was a toe nail. So it’s actually the third toe nail now I’ve lost on this trip. My feet are taking an absolute hammering, with the pounding in the boots all day long. My third toe nail pulled out of my sock today. All part and parcel of the journey. But all going well. I’m now half way to crossing 87 degrees South. Once I get to 87, I’ve got one more full degree from 87 to 86, then once I reach 86, it’s only half a degree until the finish point. The finish point is about 85 degrees 28 minutes. It’s not a direct line unfortunately – the mileage is slightly higher than it suggests, as I’m weaving my way down the Leverett Glacier and onto the Ross Ice Shelf. But definitely getting there now. 

To finish off, I’d like to do a shout out to Services Sound and Vision Corporation – SSVC – with BFBS and Forces TV, thank you very much for your help and support – it’s hugely appreciated.

That’s all from me tonight.