As you might have noticed - our interactive map has been moved.
We wanted to show you that our focus has changed from the Expedition to the Foundation. If you're looking for the map, and want to listen to those daily broadcasts from Antarctica click here
I have updated the charts showing rate of progress against both Shackleton's 1908-9 expedition and Swan's 1985-6 expedition, on both a day and date basis. Click on the charts below for more detail.
We've finally received a few more photos of the guys at the beginning of the Expedition. The first below is of the guys at Patriot Hills:
Here is a beautiful photo of McMurdo Sound
The following four photos are of Shackleton's Hut, and we are incredibly grateful to the New Zealand government for allowing us to see how Shackleton and the men were living 100 years ago:
Here the guys are setting off from Cape Royds:
Whilst explaining the route of the expedition to a couple of friends on the train on Friday night, they expressed surprise at the fact that the South Pole is at an altitude of nearly 10,000 ft above sea level. I thought it would helpful therefore to put a cross-section diagram together of the expedition route, showing the changes in altitude that the team will achieve. Click on the image below to see a larger version.
See also below a map of the route compared to the UK! They are doing the equivalent of London to Aberdeen ... and back again!!
Rate of Progress
I have also done an analysis comparing how this expedition is faring against both Shackleton's and Robert Swan's. Again, click the image to see a higher resolution version. The answer is ... so far, very well.
A little over a week ago, the last 97 team came back from Alta, in Northern Norway after having spent a week training for their own expedition in less than a month's time. They will be doing the last 97 nautical miles to the South Pole, which works out at 120 standard miles. In this time they were able to cross-country ski around the Finnmark area, taking in the scenery including Europe's largest canyon, they pitched tents in the dark (around 3PM at the latest), and learnt some of the skills necessary to survive down in Antarctica.
The team were above the Arctic Circle and only 1200 nautical miles from the North Pole. They were even snowed in for one day in a total white-out, with temperatures around -10° C to -15° C with a windchill added in, the team eperienced temperatures of around -20° C. Looking at the temperatures that the guys in Antarctica are facing at the moment that will hopefully stand them in good stead, however temperatures in Antarctica have gone down to -50° C in the summertime when they will be looking to head down.
Matty McNair will be the guide for the Last 97 nautical miles, she was the boss in Norway, showing everyone how to put up a tent in the wind, basic navigation skills and frequently telling everyone "if you get wet you die" - helps to concentrate the mind. Matty contributed to polar history in 1997 when she led the first commercial polar expedition, guiding the first women's expedition to the Geographic North Pole. She has since guided 3 expeditions to the South Pole, and a dog sledding expedition to the North Pole.
Dave Cornell is the great-grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams. David was an officer in the British Army before entering the City, and spent several years in Norway leading Arctic warfare exercises. He heads the fundraising team, and has played a crucial role in ensuring that this expedition has raised more money in sponsorship prior to setting off, than any previous polar expedition.
Tim Fright is 25 years old, He is the great-great-nephew of Frank Wild, the only explorer to accompany Shackleton on all his missions.Tim counts skydiving and marathon running amongst his hobbies and has worked on the website when he wasn't working as a speechwriter and researcher for Lord Bilimoria CBE DL, founder and Chairman of Cobra Beer.
At the age of 18 Andy Ledger set off alone to go walking in France. While studying he walked the 200 miles from Sheffield back to university in Newcastle 'just to see what it was like'; and it was on another solo trip, cycling across America and China, that he spotted an advertisement for the Place at the Pole competition, run by the Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition. Andy beat 3000 applicants in a nationwide competition to do the last 97 miles, and is looking to join the Marines after this.
Richard Gray (Ronnie), a 38 year-old Law graduate, has worked for Credit Suisse in London since 2005. Previously he was with UBS, Threadneedle and Morgan Grenfell. Prior to joining the Financial Services industry, Richard was a Captain in the Coldstream Guards. Married with 3 children, Richard enjoys field sports, travel, sport, history and music.
Finally, Keith Abel came with us to Norway as well. Keith, the founder of Abel and Cole, the organic food delivery service, was a great addition to the team, providing much needed (and much appreciated) advice and expertise and we are all sorry that he won't be able to do the last 97 with the rest of us.
Tim and Andy fly out on the 28th December, with Ronnie and Dave meeting up with them in Chile a few days later. From there, Matty will meet up with everyone before the team look to land in Patriot Hills airbase in Antarctica around the 4th January, and then fly up to the 97 mile point by the 9th January. All things being well, both the Last 97'ers and the Ice Team will reach the South Pole around the 20th January and will be back in the UK by around the 1st February at the latest.
In today's message, Henry referred to his Asnes Nansen skis, which have a picture of Nansen on them, as you can see, the image is quite haunting. These were taken by Henry down on the ice today.
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen (October 10, 1861 - May 13, 1930) was a Norwegian explorer, scientist and diplomat. Nansen was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1922 for his work as a League of Nations High Commissioner.
Initially starting out as pioneer sports skier, then as a polar explorer, Nansen achieved great success with his Arctic expedition aboard the Fram (Nansen and Johansen started north on March 14, 1895 with three sledges, two kayaks and twenty-eight dogs. On April 8, 1895, they reached 84 °4' N, the highest latitude then attained). He later became noted as a zoologist and oceanographer, and was a pioneer of the neuron theory. He was also a distinguished diplomat, eventually becoming Commissioner of refugees for the League of Nations.
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