Welcome to our Expedition Update page. Click on the blog title to access the full dispatch. To see dispatches from a specific expedition select it from the list on your right. To browse through all the latest updates from all current expeditions scroll down. Enjoy!
Yesterday our teams made their way from Low Camp to High Camp in beautiful conditions. After considering the conditions at high camp, the team decided to take a layover day to rest and recuperate in the tents. The weather looks good for a summit push tomorrow and everyone is feeling strong and in high spirits. If conditions hold, the team will make a summit bid tomorrow and return to high camp after. We'll keep you posted with their progress as they climb to the top of the white continent.
During their rest day, one of our team members, Jeff Glasbrenner (renowned mountaineer, 25-time Ironman, and amputee), received some special questions from a school group and shared his responses via the audio update. Use the link below to listen.
Jeff Glasbrenner at Vinson High Camp
Our Vinson team has been doing well, having spent two nights at Low camp. They are eating like kings, feasting on fish, pork, hamburgers, and fries. Everything they need to keep the energy high before making the next step up the mountain. Yesterday, they had a skills session, practicing ascending a fixed line and traveling on a rope team. The weather has been good, giving clear views of the mountain valley all around; a stark difference from the flat snowscape of the Antarctic plateau they finished skiing across just a few short days ago. Listen to the audio update from Annie below. It becomes garbled by bad signal half-way through, but you can still get a sense of the energy of the team.
Photo of the fixed line review session.
After leaving the South Pole, teams made their way back to Union Glacier. Their ride was the Basler BT-67, a retrofitted and updated model DC-3 (an aircraft that revolutionized air travel in the 1930s-40s), which is one of the major workhorses of inter-Antarctic travel. Once back at UG, which felt like a sunny beach compared to the South Pole, they began to separate out all of the group equipment and the Vinson climbers made the transition over to climbing gear and repacked. In the Evening, they had an award ceremony in the large mess tent, recognizing our "bi-polar" team members (Tamas, Mike, Mei, Maria, Danny, and Rob B), and also Mike Gibbon's completion of the Explorer's Grand Slam.
Yesterday, the Vinson team flew to basecamp and then proceeded to hike 5+ hours to low camp where they spent the night. For those team members that did not continue on to Vinson, they spent one more night at Union Glacier and are planning to fly back to Punta Arenas today, which will conclude this incredible expedition. Listen to Danny Lubert's last audio update for the South Pole Ski team below, and Keith's first Vinson Climb audio update.
Yesterday afternoon at 4:30PM (GMT-3) Our teams finally reached the South Pole! They were given a warm welcome by the ALE South Pole camp manager Hannah McKeand, and thankfully were able to have a tour of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. After the two hour tour, the teams spent an hour at the South Pole, taking pictures and celebrating. When we spoke with them, they had returned to their camp where there was a hot meal and champagne toasts waiting for them in the heated mess tent. An absolutely well-deserved celebration.
The teams are scheduled to fly back to Union Glacier Camp today. From there, Mei, Tamas, Jeff, and Maria will continue on to climb Vinson Massif, while the rest of the team will begin the journey home! Updates for the Vinson Massif climb will begin tomorrow.
A huge congratulations to all our team members and guides for completing this adventure in style, and thank you for making this Last Degree Ski another unforgettable experience for the record books!
Another cold day out on the ice for our two teams with temperatures hovering around -25°C in the sun. Clear skies with a stronger breeze made each push feel longer, but nearing the pole has everyone in high spirits. Both teams had a pre-Pole celebration in the tents tonight, indulging in some after dinner drinks, before setting in for their last night on the Last Degree. Listen to the audio updates below for all of the details from each team and visit PolarExplorers on Facebook to leave a question or comment for us to pass on to the team while they are relaxing in the comfort of the South Pole camp tomorrow evening!
Our Last Degree teams have had another successful day progressing toward the Pole. Temperatures dipped noticeably (-30°C this morning) as the cloud cover that had been keeping the temperatures up was swept away revealing an unmarked, vast blue sky. With colder temperatures comes shorter breaks during the day. While skiing, it's easy to stay warm, but once stopped, that body heat quickly dissipates. In addition, it becomes increasingly difficult to keep your fingers warm and your goggles clear of frost. However, with 5 days behind them, the team handled these challenges with ease, accomplishing another full day of mileage (9-10 nautical miles) placing them only 18 nautical miles away from the pole.
Listen to the audio updates below for all of the energetic details from the team and visit PolarExplorers on Facebook to leave a question or comment for us to pass on to the team tomorrow!