Titan Dome

New day, new opportunities. For the South Pole skier, only time will tell. Today provided a great example that Titan Dome, for all its 3200-m elevation, has more to offer than contrary winds and bitter cold. This high ridge gets its name from the Titan computer at Cambridge University, the computer that kept track of all the radio echo data collected in this part of Antarctica during the 1960s and 1970s.
Harald Dag Jølle sailing toward the Titan Dome, AntarcticaFull speed ahead for the Titan Dome. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

The Titan Dome is our last bugbear. We have had a few. First we worried about the crevassed area on the Ross Ice Shelf. If only we could put it far behind us … Then it was the steep slopes and crevasses of the Axel Heiberg Glacier. If only we could put them far behind us … Then it was the extreme altitude of the plateau. If only we could become acclimatised to it …

And finally it is the Titan Dome, the highest elevation along our route. We have Cecilie Skog’s horror stories in fresh memory: hurricane force winds, temperatures of 40 below, snow surface so hard the snow pegs were useless. “Headwinds all the way,” was her encouraging observation.

Now we are there, in the worst slopes up towards the Dome. But today we have had tailwinds for the very first time and set off with a feeling that the Dome may end up being the most pleasant experience of our entire journey. It was a bit of a fracas, to be sure. The wind blew hard; the sun disappeared in a total white-out; visibility was down to 30 metres. It would have been indefensible to have more than one person sailing at any time.

But here’s how we solved it: our top-notch ski sailor Jølle towed the entire expedition – four sleds and three people. At speeds of up to 30 km/h (!) the entire team flew through the mists, only touching the surface now and then. This was Jølle’s day, no doubt about it. Even better conditions have been forecast for tomorrow. In that case, we will be in time for the Jubilee celebration.

Position: S 87 38.490, E 178 08.278
Temperature: -28°C in the morning, -22°C in the evening
Wind: 4–6 m/s from the east
Elevation: 3090 metres
Distance traversed: 53 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 76 km
Total distance traversed: 1048 km
Distance remaining to the South Pole: 263 km