The ambient temperature was -25 C / -13 F and the wind in the morning was around 9 kts, which makes a windchill of -36 C / -32 F (Brrrr!) Later in the day the wind had subsided to around 3 kts which warmed the windchill up to -30 C/ -22 F (still Brrrr!!!!) Barring any unexpected delays the teams will reach the South Pole tomorrow. We have received many guesses about when they will arrive. Terry, Michael and Keith tried to enter the contest from their tent but we had to bar their answers (too much insider information!)
As both teams near the Pole tomorrow they will have to follow specific approach regulations to avoid certain areas that are closed for scientific purposes. This will add some zig zagging to their route and it will make the day a full day of skiing despite their proximity. We will let you know when they arrive! A few of the team members are hoping to raise awareness and financial support for some charities. We will be posting additional information about these charities soon!
South Pole Vinson team (Peter, Mike, Terry, Audrey, George, Michael, Joel, Marshall, Garrett and Keith): Today was the coldest day so far but everyone did a great job of protecting their hands, faces, ears and feet (the hardest places to keep warm). They have definitely gotten into a groove with managing their temperatures. It takes a lot of energy to stay warm, and surprisingly a lot of thinking and proctive action to keep from overheating! Michael spent much of the day out in front navigating. You might think that because the route is virtually straight the navigation is easy. Actually it can be quite tricky. With no landmarks it's very easy to drift off course and end up skiing in a wide arc to the east or west. It takes diligigence to stay on track (and a chest mounted compass holder helps a lot too!)
Today is a very special day for a reason not related to the South Pole. It is Lilan Grigsby's 7th birthday! Lilian is Mike's daughter. He and the entire team, and all of us at the PolarExplorers office wish Lilian a GREAT day and a wonderful year ahead. Everyone is very excited to reach the South Pole where they will jump from Chilean time to New Zealand time (a 14 hour difference!) in order to be on the same schedule as the station in the hopes that they will get a station tour. We'll keep you posted!
South Pole team (Graeme, Rob, Roger, Ian and Eric): It was a cold day, the coldest so far but everyone was warmed by the messages they have received from family and friends back home! It also helped that half way through the day they saw something that definitely did not look natural. It was white and shiny, and as they skied on they could begin to make out that it is some kind of satellite dish or radar - the Aumundsen Scott South Pole Station! By the time they camped they could see individual buildings at the station. It's very exciting for them. They could also see the the other team of skiers which looked like a string of ants off in the distance. Though tomorrow is their last day of skiing it will be a full day. But energy is extremely high and it will continue to build as the station gets closer and closer. Way to go guys, keep up the great work!
Rob, Ian, Graeme and Roger 10 km from the Pole!
Look close, that's Eric's team of skiers, as seen by Michael Creasy with the South Pole / Vinson team.