Those who have never skied to the South Pole might imagine it to be frightfully boring. That the same old things are repeated day after day. But that is a far cry from reality.
Let’s take today as an example. After our morning breakfast bar (still no fiver) we had intended to start skiing. But the team that staggered out of the tents this morning was one of the sorriest sights ever seen in these parts. Jan-Gunnar was nearly annihilated by migraine. Vegard tumbled out of the 4-man tent only half conscious, leaving his tent-mate Harald Dag prostrate inside struggling not to vomit. Reason: low oxygen levels in the tent. Stein was feeling the effects of altitude sickness. When this sorry bunch, despite everything, eventually got moving, the speed was about 2 km/h. At best, we could hope to reach the South Pole in time for Amundsen’s 150-year anniversary.
But what happened next? The wind began to blow – at the right speed, from the right angle. Up went our sails. We rigged up two little convoys, each consisting of one accomplished ski-sailor, two sleds, and one man with the skills needed for being towed. And when the day was over, the morning’s miserable group had done a full 58 kilometres. A new record!
Position: S 86 47.710, E 179 23.843
Wind: 4–6 m/s from the southeast
Elevation: 2950 metres
Distance traversed: 58 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 79 km
Total distance traversed: 954 km
Distance remaining to the South Pole: 357 km