Faith and doubt

For the past few days our emotions have been on a roller-coaster along with our estimates of whether or not we will make it to the South Pole in time for the Jubilee 14 December. One moment we were in an optimistic mood; the next moment we were uncertain – to say the least. Yesterday we were convinced it wouldn’t be possible. The gritty snow kept us from making any speed. The daily distances were simply too short.
Twin Otter airplaneThe Twin Otter is landing. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

But then we got a gift from heaven, literally speaking. It turns out that Asle T. Johansen, who had aborted his expedition, was heading for the Pole in a Twin Otter and his course took him right over our heads. The plane landed nearby and we loaded in quite a bit of gear that we won’t be needing these last few days. Our optimism increased as our load decreased.

But even if our speed increased 20 per cent, we still have a long way to go, 130 km more precisely. And tomorrow is 12 December. Our strategy now is to cut down on sleep and rest and stake everything on skiing 35-40 km each of the next two days. Then we will ski non-stop from the evening of 13 December until the afternoon of 14 December. Theoretically that might get us to the ceremony in time, but nothing is certain. If only we had had one more day …

Position: S 88 49.828, W 178 06.898
Temperature: -34°C
Wind: Calm
Elevation: 3120 metres
Distance traversed: 31 km
Distance behind Amundsen: 26 km
Total distance traversed: 1181 km
Distance remaining to the South Pole: 131 km