Day 51 – South Pole!

16th January 2020 31 By admin

Day 51
90 degrees South
Altitude 2839m
Daily distance 10.77nm

Well, I only went and bloody did it!
Arrived at the South Pole at 1730 Chilean time (3 hours behind UK)
I had perfect conditions all day along with the very cold temperatures up here on the plateau.
I started to count the miles down gradually but stopped every now and then to take in the last of the solitude and admire the barren beauty of this place. It’s very unlikely I’ll experience this again so wanted to take as much in as I could.
About 5 nautical miles out I could start to see black shapes on the horizon in front and slightly to the right. This was a relief as I had to aim off west a bit to avoid ‘no go’ zones and then dogleg back in. Very soon I was picking up other tracks from previous expeditions and last degree trips so I knew I was going ok. Those 5 miles went on for what seemed an eternity, the buildings not wanting to get any closer. When I drew level it looked like Moon Base Alpha or if it should belong to a James Bond set. Eventually when I arrived at the ALE camp, a handful of staff came out to greet me and it was such a relief to take off the harness for the last time.
Obligatory South Pole pictures were taken at both the ceremonial and geographical markers and then I went and stuffed my face in the tented canteen they have followed by three plates of dinner. Such nice food but too much before having to put my tent up! Back in for a celebratory beer before retiring and I can sleep through until whenever I like tomorrow before I get flown back to Union Glacier later in the day. It’s looking like I’ll be there for a few days before heading back to Punta Arenas on Monday.
Feeling pretty happy right now as well as relieved. Time to let the enormity of it all to sink in for now and I’ll post my thoughts in the next couple of days before leaving Antarctica.

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