At lunchtime today we passed kilometre number 655. A bit more than the distance across Greenland. And we are still on the Ross Ice Shelf – this gargantuan floating glacier.
We are quite satisfied to be starting the second stage. Many wonder if we will reach our destination by 14 December. We wonder too. We have now reached the halfway mark. We have been skiing for 22 days. And there are 22 days left to 14 December. What more can we say? We have travelled as quickly as we were able, and haven’t taken a single day’s rest so far.
The big question is if we will be able to continue in the same way through the second half. Our constantly improving stamina and lightening loads suggest it may be possible. The 3000-metre ascent up the Axel Heiberg glacier – where masses of new snow have fallen in the past few days – suggest it may prove difficult. The thin air at 3000 metres altitude is likely to slow us down. Believing in another 655 km without a rest day requires an optimist.
Position: S 84 55.262, W 162 50.992
Wind: 6 m/s from the southeast
Distance traversed: 33 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 133 km
Total distance traversed: 672 km
Distance remaining to the South Pole: 639 km