Title Page
  Preparations Arizona USA
  Preparations Punta Arenas, Chile
  Day 1: Antarctica!
  Day 2: First Taste of the Wind
  Day 3: Close Call
  Day 4: A Beautiful Day
  Day 5: The Wedge Design
  Day 6: Circle of Survivability
  Day 7: Mountains to our West
  Day 8: Skiing in a White out
  Day 9: Jenny Unleashed
  Day 10: Face Mask Freezing to the Nose
  Day 11: Howling Winds and Rough Terrain
  Day 12: Sledging away from the Maritime Influence
  Day 13: Rocking out
  Day 14: Frozen Face Mask
  Day 15: Coldest and Windiest Place on Earth
  Day 16: Skiing on Frozen Rubble
  Day 17: Tracks!
  Day 18: Slogging into Fierce Headwinds
  Day 19: First Sponge Bath
  Day 20: Playing in the Junkyard
  Day 21: Three Weeks, One-Third of the Distance
  Day 22: Playing in the Junkyard, Part 2
  Day 23: The otherworldly Glowing Blue Light
  Day 24: A Packman Game
  Day 25: The vision must be kept
  Day 26: Frozen Cameras
  Day 27: Low Margins of Safety in Strong Winds
  Day 28: Anomalies in the flat Antarctica myth
  Day 29: Thiels Mountains Visible in the Distance
  Day 30: The Half-Way Point
  Day 31: Mid-Journey Resupply
  Day 32: Sastrugi on top of Sastrugi
  Day 33: Skiing Alongside the Thiels
  Day 34: White Out and Mild-Mannered Sastrugi
  Day 35: Difficult Terrain
  Day 36: Cameras Frozen All Day
  Day 37: Alone in an Immense Wilderness
  Day 38: Warm weather and sleds are dragging hard
  Day 39: Climbing to the Polar Plateau
  Day 40: The Disappearing Hill
  Day 41: Extreme Fun
  Day 42: Seven Down, Three to Go
  Day 43: If your ski tips have no shadow, stop quick!
  Day 44: A Strange Object Flies Overhead
  Day 45: Perils of Crossing a Body-Heat Rubicon
  Day 46: Inspired to Greater Heights
  Day 47: Antarctica's Double Sun
  Day 48: Eight Degrees Down, Two To Go
  Day 49: Skiing in the Tropic of Antarctica
  Day 50: The Sun and its Antics
  Day 51: Short Antarctic Summers Wait for No One
  Day 52: Showers and laundry perhaps? No chance
  Day 53: Gaining the Polar Plateau
  Day 54: Good Weather, Fairly Flat Terrain
  Day 55: Climbing the Same Hill for Three Days
  Day 56: Cold but Very Pretty
  Day 57: Gorgeous Weather, Enjoyable Day
  Day 58: Almost There
  Day 59: The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
  The Flight to Patriot Hills
  Patriot Hills
  Mount Vinson
  Patriot Hills

Skiing to South Pole

Fierce Winds, Ultra-Cold Temperatures

Adventures in Antarctica

58 days, 700 mi, Nov 2006 - Jan 2007

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2006-11-11 page 4 of 67

Overview: After a year and a half of preparations, we went to Antarctica. Starting from very near the coast, we skied 58 days to the South Pole. Jenny returned home, and I joined an expedition to climb the highest peak in Antarctica, at 16,050 feet. Then I went to Argentina and climbed to 22,025 feet on Aconcagua. Altogether I was away from home for nearly four months.

Punta Arenas, Chile: Phone call at 6:30 am: the plane is ready, and the weather is good.

Within half an hour we were dressed in our expedition clothes, had packed away our city clothes, and had stored our belongings, that we did not want to take with us, in the hotel's storage shed.

Excitement filled the lobby. At 9:00 am a large bus pulled to the curb, and our small crew clambered aboard, clunking up the steps in our heavy, insulated boots.


The crew at the Punta Arenas airport.

At the Punta Arenas airport we were instructed to leave our carry-on bags on the bus, and to proceed into the terminal.

The security check was brief, then we proceeded through Customs. After a last stop at the modern restrooms for everybody, we exited the other side of the terminal, and re-boarded the bus.



Jamie Fitzgerald and Kevin Biggar, from New Zealand
Escape to the Pole


British RAF (Royal Air Force) Team, "Southern Reach" Expedition: Warrant Officer Alan Sylvester, Corporal Iain Kirk, Flight Lieutenant Kevin Scully, and Corporal Phil Mainprize. More info

In a couple minutes the bus pulled up alongside our aircraft. Soon we were gathered around the loading steps of the massive Russian cargo jet, the Ilyushin 76. The Ilyushin easily dwarfed a C130 parked nearby.

Teams snapped quick photos of each other, then it was time to climb into the immense belly of the Russian jet. To give an idea of the size, the new PH radio shack (which was actually a container), had been loaded previously, and it took up just one-quarter of the available space. Lined up in front of the container were five large bundles. Several more bundles took up the remaining space aft of the container. These bundles were mostly PH camp supplies for the three-month season. All of this had been loaded through the huge tail-end doorway. The last items loaded were the sleds and skis of the expedition teams.

This cargo area was about 25 feet wide. The fold-down bench seats lined the sides, which left only a narrow walkway running fore and aft. There were only a few small windows; all we could see outside was white or wings.




Peter McDowell, part owner of ANI, and initial PH camp director.


We enjoyed flying on the Russian plane, with the Russian crew's laid-back attitude. Note the clothing hanging on a cord, the tree branch and TP, and in my red circle, a dagger hanging on the wall!


Talking with RAF Warrant Officer Alan Sylvester of the "Southern Reach" team.

The flight time was four hours, and through the clouds most of the way.

The winds were building to 25 knots at Patriot Hills, and the pilots almost turned back. But then the wind diminished to 10.

Day 1: Antarctica!


The Ilyushin lands at Patriot Hills, Antarctica.


Antarctica! After 1.5 years of intense preparation and training, we are ready to start our Antarctica adventure.

We landed at Patriot Hills, as evidenced by much noise and shaking. After a long taxi along the blue ice runway, the plane came to a stop, as evidenced by complete silence. The door opened, and the piercing cold rushed in. We climbed down the ladder, and were greeted by the amazing view of stupendous mountains nearby. Welcome to Antarctica! The time was 1:30 pm Chilean time, and the temperature was -18 F.

The ANI staff and crew got right to work unloading our sleds and gear. They knew we were all anxious to start our journeys. We put on our harnesses, clipped into our sled traces and walked the sleds a quarter mile to the fuel hut. There we poured fuel into our 5 liter cans.



Next we had a short meeting with the camp operations manager, then with hugs, handshakes, and heartfelt farewells to our fellow expeditioners, we were on our way. The time was 5:00 pm. (Note: Patriot Hills latitude 89° 60')


Skiing north, headed for our first camp.

We skied for three hours, heading north. We stopped to make camp in an area where the snow was not ice-hard. We set up camp. While we were moving, the light tailwind was not too cold, as long as we kept moving. Never mind my frozen beard, and our face masks that were hard as a board. But now in the tent, the cold was penetrating, even with most of our clothes on.


Our first camp.

Jenny heated water for hot cocoa, and dinner, and melted more snow for drinking water. Then we closed the tent doors and reduced the cold by half.

Evening camp: S 80° 15.623' W 81° 06.017'

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