1.05am (GMT 15th Jan) 7.36pm Local time (14th Jan)

Another extraordinary day we set off with very good intentions this morning to cover lots of miles after yesterday’s trials with the weather, but again it was not to be. Within 1 hour the weather had changed considerably with 20 knot winds blowing snow at us from the left hand side. There was no sun although the visibility was better than yesterday; no sun no Wilson. Wilson’s a light weight I have decided; whenever the weather is crap Wilson’s not there with us. Anyway the weather got worse and we battled on through incredible wind chill and quite horrible conditions. It made sense though to carry on, and Seth did say at one stage it was marginal as to whether we should, the alternative was to set up our camp again, which we both thought would probably be more hazardous because every time you stop you get cold and it takes a while to get the tent up especially in those conditions. By the time we had got inside it we would have been very, very severely frozen by that point.

Anyway we pressed on and the weather slowly improved but not to what I would call a nice day for the entire journey. We pushed on hard, we travelled for 7 hours and we only had 2 very short breaks in that time due to the very bad weather and the temperature and we covered 10.5 miles. At the end believe you me, I was very glad to get the tent set up and get in it.

The exciting thing is that we are now less than a day’s hike to our final destination, the South Pole. That should be tomorrow (Sunday), we should get there, but as we have learnt to our cost these last 2 days you can take nothing for granted down here and even when you set off and the weather looks fine, as we found out today and yesterday the weather can suddenly change and things can be very, very different indeed. So we will have to see what tomorrow brings.

I would like to tell you a little bit about my companion here. Mr Seth Timparno, he is 29, an American from Montana. He is a very intelligent young man, he went to University and has 3 degrees in Physics, Maths and Philosophy and had a masters in Physics and was well on his way to a PhD in Physics when a calling from the wild took him off in another direction and at 24 he became a full time mountain guide. It is his second season in Antarctica and he specialises in the high altitude stuff not the flat plateau stuff that we have been doing for the last week or so. He spends a lot of time on Mount Vinson, which is 5,000 meters in Antarctica and is the highest mountain obviously in this region. He does that for 2.5 – 3 months in the Antarctic season and then goes off to Argentina, Alaska and Washington State where he is a professional guider. When he is not professionally guiding and has time off he goes off rock climbing and ice climbing and has admitted to me that he spends probably in excess of 300 days in every year either sleeping in his truck if he’s doing it recreationally or guiding in small tents like this so I think the man is mad, but there we are. It’s his first time to the Pole and he doesn’t do a great deal of this sort of guiding. We met 10 days ago as complete strangers and have spent the last 8 days together, 24 hours a day, more than half the time in this very small tent and the remaining time trekking across the polar plateau together in these extreme conditions just the 2 of us. In the last 8 – 9 days of this journey we have seen not a living sole, or any habitation or anything, just frozen plateau, it has been quite incredible. But I can honestly say that during that time there has been no tension at all and I have thoroughly enjoyed his companionship and stewardship and despite quite remote and dangerous conditions I have felt very safe at all times, so all credit to him. I’m not the easiest person to get on with but it’s been a good trip and I have thoroughly enjoyed it. Tomorrow will be an interesting day we will see where it gets us.

2 responses to "Nearing the end – Day 10 – 14th January 2012"

  1. Hi William, Following your blog with interest. The easy things in life don’t make you proud – its the very tough things in life that make you proud!. You’ll be proud to speak of this trip for the rest of your life. Keep going, you’re nearly there now – we’ll toast you with a drop of Jamesons on the 17th. Hope you’ve carried a tot with you in that little inner pocket!!! Best wishes – Elwyn and Elvira.

    11:55 am - 16/01/2012

  2. Lewis & Fran

    Sounds as if you are nearly there despite the weather. Am thinking that you won’t complain next time I take you to a one star hotel! We are willing you on over the last few miles.

    10:56 pm - 16/01/2012

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