SHACKLETON NEWS ARCHIVE
THREE INTREPID MEN SLOG IT OUT ON THE FIRST HALF OF SHACKLETON'S PLANNED POLAR CROSSING
The team hopes to reach the Geographic South Pole at at 90 degrees South in 60 days, or less, travelling totally unsupported and dragging 250 lb (113 kg) sleds over 660 miles (1,062 km).
The expedition began in earnest on 1 December: a mammoth 660 mile trek across the vast expanse of Antarctica to the South Pole.
Crossing the vast expanse of Western Antarctica: the team trekked nearly 50 km in their first four days (1-4 Dec), crossing crevasse fields, climbing upwards in sub-zero temperatures with windchills of -23 degrees and colder. Each day their sleds get lighter as they gradually consume provisions, while their endurance improves. They were now skiing up to 9 hours a day.
By 14 December they had trekked more than 200 kilometers over some of the most treacherous terrain on the planet, and moved 2 degrees closer to the Pole (leaving 8 degress to go). Avoiding numerous crevasses and dragging full sleds uphill in whiteout conditions and sub-zero temperatures has become their daily routine. But despite these gruelling conditions, the team is on schedule; and should eventually get ahead of schedule.
Next will come the 'Great Crevasse Field' which has never been crossed on foot. Two 2 weeks is the estimate, bringing the team close to Christmas Day, by which time they hope to have completed the toughest and technically most taxing part of our expedition. Once through the crevasse field they will have arrived at the Polar Plateau and should be able to complete the expedition on the blue ice, reaching the Geographic South Pole at 90 degrees south.
Their distance covered over the first week (to 6 Dec) was 70.4 km (81.07 South) and in the second week, 127.6 (82.04 South). Full details, including distance and time charts and audio reports from members of the expedition, can be found at their website, www.beyondshackleton.com