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Friday, January 29, 2016, 17:48 | 1 Comment »
On Friday January 22, 2016 as many of you know, Henry Worsley, a distant descendant of Frank Worsley the Captain of the Endurance sent a message via satellite from his tent having walked 913 miles over 70 days on his own and unaided in his quest to cross the Antarctic on the route Shackleton intended. Worsley was 30 miles away from his finish line, but he was snowbound by a blizzard's whiteout and by exhaustion.

"When my hero Ernest Shackleton was 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of January 9 1909, he said he had shot his bolt," Worsley said in his final dispatch before he called for an airlift. "Well today, I have to inform you with some sadness that I too have shot my bolt."

The airlift was successful. Three days later however Worsley died at a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile from peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal wall. His expedition, shackletonsolo.org, has raised over £100,000 for British war veterans..

Many of the Endurance South Pole 100 expedition knew Henry and one member had served in the Army with him in both The Royal Green Jackets and The Special Air Service Regiments. He had been a real font of knowledge in planning the expedition and making sure we did something worthwhile and create legacy. He was giving us valuable advice at the end of October from his "Patience Camp " in Punta Arenas and always made time to help. An extract from one email was:

"Be prepared for the cold and effects of altitude when you get out of the plane at your start point.
And expect a slow accumulation of miles covered each day until you have all acclimatised a bit.
Some will be affected much more than others and you will have to go at the speed of the slowest ship in your convoy".

His compassionate advice proved very valuable as we struggled with the cold and wind in our attempt to walk just a short part of the route to the South Pole that Shackleton would have travelled 100 years earlier.
We spoke to Henry on a satellite phone from Union Glacier in early December and wished him well. He was cheery and optimistic despite finding it very hard and unbearably slow as he skied up to the Polar Plateau in some very unseasonal snowy conditions.
Many of us followed his blog with interest and admiration. We realised from the efforts we were making in a much smaller endeavour that what Henry was doing was a massive feat, and to get so far is to be commended.

It was fitting that on Day 61, Henry invoked Tennyson's line in that old motto of British exploration and heroic endeavours.
"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield," he said in an increasingly raspy, thin voice.
That line of poetry captures the will and courage to endure the unendurable. Shackleton was a man who sought glory and legacy but discovered true heroism by saving all the lives of the "Endurance" crew. That has always been the lesson and the poetry of Shackleton's "Endurance" for many.

Frank Worsley had some poet in him, too. His wonderful book, "Shackleton's Boat Journey," ended by saying of Shackleton, "It seemed to me that among all his achievements, great as they were, his one failure was the most glorious."

"My summit is just out of reach," Henry said in his final dispatch.

Perhaps not: We can wish that a bit of Shackleton's true glory can be part of the legacy of Henry Worsley, 1960-2016

We will remember him for his help in planning our expedition, his advice to create a worthwhile legacy and his optimism that we would get likeminded people together to make it all happen. It was really appreciated.

 


Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 16:19 | No Comments »
4th January 2016 – all expedition members have now returned to the UK, the blog will be officially closed, but it will be updated as and when they are available so that we have a record. Tim Holmes has asked me to pass on his thanks on behalf of all the expedition members to everyone who has followed the blog and who have been interested in what the expedition has sought to achieve by way of the commemoration and the digitisation of Wordie's diary.
The team are able to say that they are very pleased to have been able to achieve their ultimate objective of reaching the South Pole and to commemorate those events 100 years ago. All have said that it was a much tougher challenge than they envisaged, in terms of physical hardship. The very cold temperatures, and on one day, extreme wind chill certainly gave a good idea of what it would have been like for those explorers and indeed others to have battled through to Antarctica one hundred years ago. Tim has also asked us to post a thank-you to all those who have been involved in making the expedition a success, particularly David Hempleman-Adams who led the expedition, and his team, involving Nicky Webster at Cold Climates, to Runa Gujlnes for his part in being his Deputy Leader and setting the pace. Apparently his two minutes call was a legendary call to get ready to start pulling sledges for the next fifty minutes; to Tim Fortman-King who was the third Leader. Finally a big thank you to the many friends who have supported the members. Thank you also to staff and Directors of ALE, who, despite the poor weather, made every attempt to make sure the logistics worked as planned.

The website will keep an update on other activities during the commemoration of the Centenary during 1916 and, in particular, the handover of the digitised diary to the Scott Polar Research Institute at St John's College. We are pleased to say that the expedition managed to raise over £25,000 to digitise Wordie's diaries and the family are sorting out the final arrangements for a hand-over in the next months. This will mean that Wordie's diary and the historical information will be made available to historians, scientists and anyone else interested in that era of Antarctic history; a fitting legacy for the expedition. Watch this space for updates.

Tim has also asked me to post a thank-you to Robert Altham for managing the web-site, dealing with phone calls at all hours and for running photographs and information of interest to the web-site, particularly during those times when the expedition was held at "Patience Camp" either at Punt Arenas or on Antarctica.


Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 16:15 | No Comments »

The Last Expedition members depart Punta Arenas today – e g Andy, Chris, David and Rujne left Punta Aenas having had Christmas Day with all the others. Everyone is now pleased to have achieved their goal of walking to the South Pole and are now well on their way to returning to their families. Tim has met up with his family in Argentina and has now travelled back through the Andes, to the Lake District area of Chile near Puerto Varas.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016, 16:15 | No Comments »
Tim and family visit the Naval Club in Valparaiso where the "Yelcho" finished its rescue journey, having rescued Shackleton, Wordie and his men, having first put in at Punta Arenus in September 1916. The extract from the diary from Punta Arenas to Valparaiso is as follows:-
Friday, 15th Sept 2016.
The "Yelcho" sailed at 5.0 p.m. to-day bound for Valparaiso through the canals. So ends nearly a fortnight of feverish festivities, in which several of the inhabitants have succumbed, whilst all of our side are still pretty fit. We have been rushing about all day saying good-bye; finally about 4.0 we all congregated at the Club, said good-bye, rushed in for ten minutes at the Admiral's: then to the pier head where the English colony were assembled; amid much pushing and handshaking we managed to get on board, and the "Yelcho" put off, all the steamers and vessels in the harbour whistling their hardest.
Among the events this week were a private dinner at Mr. Burbury's on Tuesday, and an evening at Mr. Paton's last night. On Wednesday Gibbon took Clark, Macklin and myself on another visit to the camp. We motored out SW to Est. Pampa Guayrabio along a 6 ft. raised beach. There we got on horseback and rode some miles inland through somewhat undulating country; returning after about an hour we made an ineffective attempt at duck shooting by a lagoon, as all lakes no matter their origin are called out here.
Sunday, 17th Sept.
Yesterday gave us a sample of the worst possible weather; to-day's is very little better. During Friday night we rounded Cape Froward, and immediately got it in the neck, a strong NW-er blowing down the Straits of Magellan. We had a rough time of it all yesterday morning, the "Yelcho" developing a short pitch and shipping water fore and aft. Most of us live in the forehold, and every time we go in and out we risk a ducking. It was raining, almost snowing when it was decided to anchor for the night in Angosto Cove about 1.0 p.m. In here it was perfectly calm. Despite the weather, one of the whalers was launched and most of us went ashore for half an hour. It is a glaciated land covered with stunted trees, among which one wanders knee deep in an undergrowth of bushes and ferns. Here were the Maiden-hair and many other plants only known formerly in the laboratory. Some of these Clark gathered, while I collected specimens of igneous rock.
To-day we hove up the anchor at 6.0 a.m. and followed a course for the day through channels known collectively as Smyth Channel, having left Magellan Straits via Rhoda Pass. The day was unfortunately dull, and we saw not much more of the country than we did yesterday: those of us who know the west of Ireland all compare it to Glengariff.
Though not working our passage, we have to do just a little work these days in the shape of taking the wheel during the day. This is a different matter from the same work on the "Endurance": here there is steam steering gear in a sheltered chartroom on the bridge.

Saturday, December 26, 2015, 09:11 | 1 Comment »
The team setting off from Union Glacier heading for the "Last degree".

Team Photo DC3 at UG

Friday, December 25, 2015, 12:30 | 1 Comment »
Everyone landed at Punta Arenas late last night. Landing at 0100 on Christmas morning.
Most are staying the night in the hotel in Punta Arenas and then making thier way home as soon as they can, given that it is Christmas day.
Wishing everyone a very Happy Christmas and lots of long distance phone calls!

Thursday, December 24, 2015, 22:47 | No Comments »
The Illyushin 76 is flying in via Ushuaia and should land in Punta Arenas at 22.23 local time.
Keep abreast of timings on this website

Thursday, December 24, 2015, 21:53 | 1 Comment »
I may be clutching at straws here, but the aeroplane stairs at Union Glacier have been moved in the past hour. This could be a good sign as I think the Illyushin should have landed by now.
Check out the last 20 photos for your self and make your own judgement!

This is how they have been for the past few days.
Stirs position for the past few days

And in the past hour they have been moved. A plane might have arrived to bring them home...
Stairs have been moved

Thursday, December 24, 2015, 21:38 | No Comments »
This is the log  (see the first entry) from Punta Arenas Airport showing the flight has left PA on its way to Union Glacier to collect our team.

PA Air port Log
Luckily it was on the runway at just the right time when the webcam took the picture. (Only once every ten minute)

Take Off

Thursday, December 24, 2015, 13:16 | 2 Comments »
I just had a short call from Tim at 13.10 today 24th December.
They should be flying later today out of Union Glacier and landing in Punta Arenas this evening.

More news as it comes in....

Thursday, December 24, 2015, 07:45 | No Comments »
Another two phone calls from Mark came in from Union Glacier at about midnight on Wednesday 23rd and a couple of hours later.
The team have had another busy day. A masterclass in backgammon, some skiing, and an international volleyball knock out competition. (Here is an earlier match) Mark said that they would be very disappointed if they weren't ejected at the end of the first round of playing the Russians, the Argentinians and the Chileans.
Everybody is well and hoping for that elusive clear stretch of weather.
The forecast at 9pm was for a blizzard which can have a positive side to it as it is, apparently, often preceded by a wind which would be perfect for blowing away the clouds which are covering the mountains. Once the clouds go, the 'plane can come in and land. The team were told to be ready, bags packed, in case that happened.
In the event, the wind didn't blow in, so the team are standing down again.
I don't know if the blizzard has yet arrived. Mark said they don't know how long it will last when it comes. Wind travelling from the land to the sea, with a degree of power in it, is what they need to clear the snow and cloud. Mark sounded upbeat in the first call at midnight but understandably less so in the second, an hour later, when they'd been told that they wouldn't be leaving within the following twelve hours.

Keep an eye on the air pressure chart at Union Glacier.  As the pressure starts to rise there is a greater chance that clearer weather will come. This chart is at 0730 GMT 24th Dec.
Air Pressure Chart
 

Wednesday, December 23, 2015, 07:38 | No Comments »
Mark has rung twice today. No big news, still looking at the 25th as the most likely date for their 'plane out.

Everyone is gradually getting back to normal after their exertions on the ice and they have been busy!

The three piece suite has been upgraded to a six foot high ice throne, now completed. They have made cut-out snowflake Christmas tree decorations and they have decorated the camp with baubles. They have picked their secret Santas and are thinking about whether the recipients will receive some freeze dried fruit or small ice sculptures.

Some of the team went for a bike ride - yes, really - and skiing. Mark says that the sun has been out for most of today and that it is especially beautiful when the snow and ice is sparkling.

UG Cycling


Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 21:21 | No Comments »
I spoke with Tim in another short and broken call at 21:05 this evening. They are all well and in good spirits but wishing they were getting ready for Christmas and with friends and family.
Yesterday they made a visit to Elephant Rock and had a talk about Shackleton. They have been practising their cross country skiing.
Today they have been building a snow chair (what ever that is!) an also built a Totem pole out of snow.
It is all clouded in at the moment with pretty poor visibility and the wind is expected to blow hard tonight. There is a good chance they will fly out on the 24th December to Punta Arenas.
Most people have booked flights out of Punta on 26th December as there are not many flights on Christmas Day.
But, as always, it is weather dependant... Tim commented that the weather down there is behaving very unseasonably.

UG Elephant Rock

Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 11:55 | No Comments »
A call from Mark just now (midnight monday). There's about a 5% chance that they could fly tomorrow as they are going into an improving weather trend. After that, there is an increased chance that they could fly on the 23rd but it's still looking probable that it's going to be the 24th or 25th.
Tomorrow the team are going to learn how to make furniture out of ice. A three piece suite no less. Hope they send photos..

Tuesday, December 22, 2015, 10:38 | No Comments »
I spoke with Patrick just after he had returned to England. He told me about the very harsh conditions that the team have endured on their journey. I understand that it was significantly more challenging than they had expected and that the high altitude caused many of them more problems than they had envisaged. The altitude on the antarctic ice cap is just under 10,000 feet high. The atmosphere is also thinner at the poles than at the equator and this thins the atmosphere by another 1500 feet; so the air is thin and oxygen content is much lower. Of course, performing any strenuous physical exercise requires your body to burn oxygen and the food you eat to generate sufficient energy.  If you cannot get enough oxygen into you body, or cannot provide enough fuel (food or fat reserves) or your energy requirements are too large then you are in danger of complete physical exhaustion or collapse.
So, managing all these things has to be considered very carefully.  Typically the team would pull their sledges for 50 minutes in every hour and then stop for 10 minutes for a high energy snack and a drink. They would also check each other for signs of hypothermia or frostbite.
Daily rations in Antarctica when manhauling a sledge should be around 6500 calories. The scientists working inside the warm base at the South Pole only use 2750 clories per day.  Click here to see more about food in Antarctcia.
High altitudes can also cause nose bleeds and persistent headaches, which for some will last for 3 or 4 days until they become better acclimatised. 
On the last days before reaching the South Pole there was a strong wind. The temperature was -31 C but with the wind chill the team had an effective temperatue of around -60 C in which to pull their sledges. Patrick said that if you had your hands outside your gloves for more than about 5 seconds there was a serious chance of the skin freezing. So even taking photographs had to planned and exectued carefully.
On the last stretch before reaching the South Pole, David (this is NOT David Hempleman-Adams) suffered from exhaustion, mild hypothermia and mild frost bite to his hands. The team set up tents to get him out of the wind, into a sleeping bag and then warmed him up and fed with high energy food, so he was able to continue the followng day to the Pole. However he has suffered some frostbite injuries to his hands. We hope he will make a full recovery.

Monday, December 21, 2015, 14:55 | No Comments »
They landed this afternoon at Heathrow and are now on the way back to Cambridge. They were flown out on the last remaining seats of the schedules Illyushin flight, having been on the camp at Union Glacier for only 4 hours, following their flight from the South Pole.  David had suffered from hypothermia and frost bite in his hands on the last day of the trek. It was considered best to get him away from the cold conditions as soon as possible. Patrick, who is travelling with David, is a doctor and has been treating him from the start. He has also been helping him on the homeward travels as David's hands are currently in bandages, but he is expecting David to make a a fairly quick recovery. We will keep our fingers crossed.

Monday, December 21, 2015, 14:24 | No Comments »
December 21st 1915
Shackleton decides to start sledging, having been drifting on the ice floes for months while the Endurance was held fast and sunsequently crushed by the ice. The drift direction has always been on a bearing that will lead them towards Paulet Island. He calculates that if the crew can do 2-3 miles per day it will put them within 100 miles of Snowhill by the end of January.
James Wordie notes that he thinks "The Boss" is afraid they may drift North East and perhaps never reach Paulet Island at all. So the crew is galvanised into action to prepare for some hard trekking. The next day (22nd December) the crew all gorge themselves on many of the dainties that will otherwise be left behind.  
Ham and sausages for breakfast, baked beans and corned beef for lunch.
Jugged hare followed by apricots and cream for dinner.


Monday, December 21, 2015, 13:38 | No Comments »
Caroline had a call from Patrick yesterday when he was in Sao Paolo, Brazil.
We think David and Patrick should be back landing at Heathrow sometime this afternoon providing they got onto their planned flight.


Monday, December 21, 2015, 13:20 | 1 Comment »
We had a call from Mark at Union Glacier who rang at about midnight last night just after they had been to the ALE weather briefing.  They have been told that the next window of 8 clear hours on the weather forecast is December 25th and that is when they should be flying out of Union Glacier.
If the situation changes, or I hear anything different, I will post it here right away.

So they will probably be digging the only tree in Antarctica out of the snow.Tree at UG

Sunday, December 20, 2015, 17:54 | No Comments »
Here is a picture of one of the new past times in which the team have been taking part at Union Glacier.
What have they been doing on a lazy Sunday afternoon? Can you guess?
Answers on a postcard, please to
Endurance 100 Team
The South Pole

Sunday Afternoon at UG Camp

Sunday, December 20, 2015, 17:28 | No Comments »
Just so that you do not feel too worried about their living conditions,  I have a photo of the Mess Tent at the Union Glacier camp. This is by all account heated and has lighting 24 hours a day (sunlight). It is also apparently reasonably warm inside. They are not huddled in their sleeping bags 24 hours a day anyway.Inside the mess tent

Sunday, December 20, 2015, 14:52 | 1 Comment »
This just in from the ALE Camp Services Manager:

"The prediction of the groups' return to Punta is a tricky
one. The next planned flight is the 22nd, however the weather is really not playing ball this season, as you know and is continuing to do so. So at this point, I'm afraid I don't have any news about their expected return to Punta."

UG Camp 2
This is the camp at Union Glacier. Conditions here are fairly civilized compared with camping on top of the ice sheet on the way to the South Pole.
I understand that there is a warm shower here. Apparently 30 seconds per person is the norm, so you have to be very quick. But as many people will have been in the same clothes for several days, this will be luxury!

The uncertainty with the weather will be frustrating for everyone (both familyies at home and those stuck in Antactica) especially as were all hoping for the explorers to all be home by Christmas. But they are all comfortable and have warm tents in which they can socialze and write up their memories and experiences. Christmas may have to be postponed for a few days...
Ifthere is any news of inbound flights to Punta Arenas, it will be posted here immediately.

Sunday, December 20, 2015, 11:01 | No Comments »
David and Patrick have flown out of Punta Arenas and will be catching a 0600 plane home from Santiago tomorrow morning.
The tents at Union Glacier are reported to be impressively warm. People were often sleeping on top of their bags even when the temperature was -30 outside.

Sunday, December 20, 2015, 10:54 | 1 Comment »
Our prediction last night was in fact correct and the whole team has now flown back to Union Glacier.  This time I think they did come back in the Twin Otters.

Twin Otter Landing

In the camp at UG they are all warming up to a balmy -10 C (up the thermometer from the -30C at the South Pole) and have had a large meal and are getting comfortable in the double skinned tents.
Patrick, David and Constance are back in Punta Arenas and are making their way back to England, if they can make flights to Santiago and onwards. Timothy F was back in Punta Arena a while ago.
There were 35 people stranded at the Pole and the ALE camp emergency rations are geared for 20 people for a couple of days. All 35 have now flown out from the South Pole.
There is a good weather window now at Union Glacier, but bad weather is heading their way.
There is no news yet on when the Illyushin will be flying back in from Punta Arenas, and consequently no firm news on when everyone will be able to get on  regular airline back home.
I will keep you posted as soon as I have an undate.

Sunday, December 20, 2015, 08:36 | No Comments »
There are quite a few people stuck at the ALE camp in the South Pole. The weather at Union Glacier has been bad and the weather windows for flights for a return journey to the South Pole and back have been very limited.
Patrick, David and Constance managed to get three seats on a plane to Union Glacier and then on the Illyusin and arrived back in Punta Arenas at 11:30am yestareday (Saturday). They will be going to the ALE office to find out when the aircrew will be returning to Union Glacier, but they have to have a mandatory 12 hour rest period.

David Hempleman Adams' GPS Locator shows him travelling at 186mph and at 12,000 feet approaching Union Glacier at 9.15pm on Saturday night. So there is a fair chance that he and others may have made their way back part of the way.

Thursday, December 17, 2015, 16:19 | No Comments »
The weather may not allow a plane to get out of or back into Union Glacier for the next day or two. This delay would mean everyone missing their flights out of Punta Arenas and having to rebook for later available flights out of Punta Arenas and back to England.
Happily (or not for some) there is a 48 hour Air Traffic Controllers strike in Chile!
So there are no flights at all on the main land at the moment and we think that the ensuing chaos amongst the airlines and their stranded passengers will be able to reschedule their flights for a day or two later without having to pay extra.



Thursday, December 17, 2015, 16:11 | 4 Comments »
PHONECALL FROM TIM HOLMES
Today – Thursday 17th December
Hard trek of 8 miles up hill towards the South Pole station. Very hard going with -33 C temperature and thin air. Followed flags along a given route to the ALE South Pole Camp. Quite a feat and some people have the effects of the cold. Everyone very tired but pleased to arrive. Have had a good meal and then a tour of the South Pole station run by the US Government. Amazing 60,000 sq ft building constructed at camp which houses 150 people. They produce their own plants and have 50 scientists carrying out research on climate change, glaciology and light 2.5km down in the ice. Weather forecast poor but hope for departure on Friday to UG and possibly to Punta on Friday night or Saturday which will mean a delayed departure from Chile for some members of the team. Team spirits good and ALE giving very good lectures on polar matters including the historic Swedish expedition and Shackleton. Photos of the team to be taken and prayers said for Shackleton and Endurance. Bagpipes to be played later. All well fed by ALE and all warm. Good medical facilities for anyone feeling the effects of severe cold and frost nip but no serious issues. All pleased to have got through a much harder march and trek than was envisaged. All send best wishes and regards to friends and loved ones.
All team members will be in touch with family and friends regarding their flight arrangements and the blog will be updated when more detailed arrangements are in place regarding delayed return.

Thursday, December 17, 2015, 13:04 | 10 Comments »
The Endurance Team have just arrived at the South Pole.
I have just had a call from Steve saying he has spoken to Ros and Bea and they are at the South Pole!
Congratulations to everyone! We look forward to hearing the details as soon as you get a chance to tell us.


Thursday, December 17, 2015, 08:44 | 1 Comment »
The team are now just 1 km from the South Pole and will reach it today. We have not been able to get details of their position from the satellite navigation device, but do not know the reason for this.
Jamie called last night and says he has loved the experience and that his training has really paid dividends. The detailed stories of excitement and dramas are being kept from us until they get back to Punta Arenas, but the date for this is still uncertain as the weather at Union Glacier is not good (again) so the planes cannot land there today. They will not be back in the UK by this Saturday, but they will try to figure out a way to get the whole group back by 25th December.
This picture is the US South pole base webcam. (Approaching from a northerly direction, needless to say)
South Pole

Thursday, December 17, 2015, 08:41 | No Comments »
Tim called and has left a message with details of some of the previous day's activities.
We were up at 5.15 today and left our campsite at 7.00. The temperature is -33 C and we have 11 miles to go to get to the South Pole. The going is very hard, but we have good visibility.
Yesterday was the hardest day ever but we achieved 11 miles. 
Andy McNab says his new ski boots have fallen apart and it is a bit like skiing in Flip Flops. (I just hope he can keep his feet warm!)
Kate Tindall says she has moved in to a new tent and is getting to know her new tent mates better. They are all looking after themselves.


Tuesday 15th December
-30C. 12 miles achieved to the Pole. Very hard going as need to walk hard. 50 minutes pulling sledge and then 10 minutes break to eat munchie bags to get in calories and fluids. Long trek but pleased to be covering the ground. Bright sunny day. Chris, Alex and Andy have built a very good ice loo.



MONDAY 14th December

-35 C. Very hard trek towards the Pole. Achieved 11 miles. Very tough day. Tim Holmes said "it is the hardest Endurance activity I have ever participated in, illustrating the hardship endured 100 years ago whilst stuck on the ice flows."
Andy McNab said his new ski boots fell apart and it is like skiing on flip flops.
Kate Tindall has joined a new tent. She says all are helping each other to get through another tough day and looking after ourselves but let's see what tomorrow brings.
Dr Patrick Gillespie pointed out that members of the team are now burning 5000 calories more than normal and everyone is needing to eat and drink a lot to deal with the demands of the body. We are 18.5 miles from the Pole. All well.

Sunday, December 13, 2015, 15:10 | 6 Comments »
8.5 miles progress made today.  We think we are now 40 miles from the South Pole. It has been a hard day pulling sledges over the sastrugi. All in in good spirits.
Tim said "Amazing white wilderness: all day sun and blue sky today"

Bea said: "Today was tough but things are mostly looking up, people are feeling a lot better and coping better. All are hopeful to arrive on time at the Pole on Wednesday."

Sastrugi

Sunday, December 13, 2015, 14:55 | No Comments »
Incoming phone call from Tim at 00:40.  They are making progress towards the South Pole and have had strong wind with which to contend. The wind chill factor is -40 C. 
5 hours of walking today and they have made 5.2 miles.

Last Degree


Sunday, December 13, 2015, 14:52 | No Comments »
The crew had abandoned living on Endurance 50 days ago, and been living on a cap on the ice floe since it had started being crushed by th ice.  Since that day the ice floe had been moving at a rate of around 2 miles per day in the direction of Paulet Island.  (From James Wordie's Weddell Sea Log)


Paulet island is unusual in the area in that it is partially ice-free all year round due to the geothermal activity. Geologists report that there is evidence of recent volcanic activity.
There is a very large colony of Adelie Penguins on the island.

Paulet Island

Sunday, December 13, 2015, 14:40 | 1 Comment »
The satellite tracking system seems to be switched off so we do not have any new information about the Endurance team's current location.  Let's hope they remeber to turn it on...or may be the battery is frozen.

It turns out I was wrong about their journey onto the central antarctic ice shelf: they did not fly from Union Glacier to the trek start point in Twin Otter ski planes. There were too many people and sledges to do it in a single lift so instead they flew in a Douglas Dakota DC3. I am not sure how old this plane is, but the first one flew in 1936! Of the 400 which are still around many of them are over 70 years old.

DC3


Friday, December 11, 2015, 06:40 | No Comments »
The team set of out of their camp at 10am. They all say that it is tough getting used  to a 30Kg sledge. 5 hours of walking and they have covered 6 nautical miles.

From now on the team need to cover 10 nautical miles every day to get to the South Pole in time, which means that tomorrow is going tobe very tough.
Everyone is very tired now but they are in their tents now and getting warm again.
The outside temperature is -30 C.



Friday, December 11, 2015, 06:30 | No Comments »
After being dropped off by the ski plane on the snow the team made 3 miles on the first day, getting used to pulling their sledges, each of which weighs about 30 Kg. The 3 miles took 3 hours until they made camp for their first night on the ice. This does not sound fast, but you have to remember that they are at an altitude of about 10,000 feet, so any physical work in the thin air really takes it out of you.

Most members of the team are feeling the effects of the altitude.

Author and team member Andy McNab said:
"It is hard pulling at high alititude but all are working as a great team"

David Henry, the team member from expedition sponsors Savills said:
"It is hard work in a stunning white wilderness. The team are focussed on getting to the South Pole by next Wednesday".



Thursday, December 10, 2015, 07:32 | No Comments »
The Twin Otter can carry around 18 people or a mixture of cargo and passengers. All the sledges will have been in the cabin with the passengers. The cabin is unpressurised so the plane will not normaly fly much higher than 12,000 feet. It has very good STOL capabilities (Short Take Off and Landing) and is very rugged and reliable, so ideal for flying in Antarctica. It has high wings and twin turbo prop engines. It can fly as slowly as just 80 knots which is useful for survey work.
Much of the electronic surveying of the ice was done in Twin Otters over the past years by the British Antarctic Survey.Large landing strip
Landing on the snow

Wednesday, December 9, 2015, 19:58 | No Comments »
The team have now flown from Union Glacier to the start point of their trek to the South Pole. A window in the weather has enabled several groups to get on their way. The Endurance team have been flown in Twin Otter aircraft to the 100 mile start point.  Data taken from David Hempleman Adams' satellite tracking gadget shows that they flew to the start point reaching an maximum altitude if 11611 feet and landing on skis on the top of central antarctic ice massif at an altutude of 9106 feet. Top spped of the Twin Otter is only 216 mph. All the sledges skis etc are piles into the plane too, so it is not a particularly comfortable flight for couple of hours.
Total distance travelled from Union glacier to the start point is 516 miles.
Current location data is as folllows: 
Speed: 1.24 mph Heading: SE
Elevation: 9106.66 ft 
Lat: -89.002980 Lon: -81.453108

Twin Otter

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 11:30 | No Comments »
Monday 7th December – Endurance 100 Blog – Union Glacier, Antarctica
Trek training on the ice continues. 20 knot winds. Various other teams have been waiting over 12 days to start their South Pole Trek. Window of opportunity on Wednesday (9th December). Everyone is well.

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 09:38 | No Comments »
I think this is Ros and Bea, but I am not quite sure!On the Runway

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 09:20 | No Comments »
Getting skis on for the first time. A key part of the training is to make sure that your ski boots fit and do not cause blisters when pulling your sledge. This is the only opportunity to make sure that they fit comfortably and do not rub when under strain. 
I note a couple of bottles of (?) whisky in the foreground have been packed into someone's luggage. The question is: When to drink it?  As the temperature drops, so does the chance of the whisky freezing solid. I think whisky at 40% ABV will freeze at about -26 C.  It is -30 C at the South Pole.
Getting skis on

Tuesday, December 8, 2015, 08:42 | No Comments »
Team at Union Glacier Camp
The whole team at Union Glacier Camp.  
This photo was apparently taken at midnight according to the file information on the photo. (But I do not know to which time zone the camera is set...)
Prizes may be awarded if you can identify everyone in the picture.
The weather improved for a couple of days which enabled the Ilyushin flight to get in to the BlueIce Runway, but now it is snowing again. This is fine for the team to do some local training but they need a window of good weather again to get the next flight in a Twin Otter to the start of the trek to the South Pole.  The weather forecast looks better for Wednesday afternoon and Thursay morning.

Sunday, December 6, 2015, 16:11 | 3 Comments »
Stewart has sent this pictures of the team training at Union Glacier Camp.
The sun is low and contrast is very high so I have no idea who is in the picture!!
Training at UG

Sunday, December 6, 2015, 07:55 | No Comments »
An unusual runway. Watch this video clip to see what it looks like landing at Union Glacier: 

https://youtu.be/0BeIOLwQOKY

 Taken from Wikipedia:  A blue ice runway is a runway constructed in Antarctic areas with no net annual snow accumulation, so that the resultant ice surface is capable of supporting aircraft landings using wheels instead of skis. They are intended to make transferring materials to research stations simpler, since wheeled aircraft can carry much heavier loads than ski-equipped aircraft.

Blue ice runways are created as a way of streamlining transport to the interior. Without them, most heavy materials must be brought by ship, then ferried inland by ski-equipped smaller aircraft. Large, wheeled aircraft can fly directly into the interior, saving time and money. In particular, they allow for rare medical evacuations to take place year round.

Because of ice's low coefficient of friction, planes tend to decelerate with reverse thrust, as opposed to traditional means of braking the wheels, and so runways are often several miles long.
Blue Ice Runway


Saturday, December 5, 2015, 16:52 | 3 Comments »
The team have now landed in their Ilyushin plane at Union Glacier and have moved from the Blue Ice runway to the Union glacier Base Camp.Union Glacier landing

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 14:14 | No Comments »
At last they are on the plane.

Well done James for getting this picture away before takeoff!

Lift off at last

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 09:31 | No Comments »
Everyone is now dressed up and ready to go. Thanks to Bergens of Norways for their very smart team kit. It is -30 C at the South Pole and they will need it.

Bergen's kit

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 07:07 | No Comments »
Thanks to all our wonderful sponsors! We appreciate your help so much.

Back in the ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions) Warehouse the kit is all packed up and ready to go. It turns out the the dozens of barrels with ALE written on them (see earlier posts) were not for beer after all, but for fuel for vehicles and planes on Antarctica. Twin Otter planes which will carry the team from Union Glacier to the start point of the trek sometimes need to be refuelled at remote locations on the ice. The barrels of fuel have to be flown there in advance. Needless to say carting fuel by air is not cheap and rumour has it that it requires up to 4 drums of fuel to fly each drum of fuel to the South Pole.Ready to go

Saturday, December 5, 2015, 06:25 | No Comments »
Snow clearing machinery has been spotted on the runway at Union Glacier. The photo is from the webcam at the Union Glacier runway in Antarctica.
This gives us hope of a flight out of Punta Arenas and in to Antarctica today.  The weather looks good too. Tim reports that they may be away at 0630 this morning local time (that's 0930 GMT).  The weather in Puntas Arenas is set fair too for today with a gentle breeze and intermittent clouds.
Snow Clearing on Runway
The team have visited more local sights and have become unintended experts on the the local tourist attractions.  James has sent pictures from the coast, no doubt looking over the Magellan straights towards Tierra Del Fuego. I think there is an opportunity for BAe systems to upgrade the air and sea defense systems.

Defenses

Friday, December 4, 2015, 17:26 | 1 Comment »
Endurance - the waiting
There is 40cm of snow on the runway at Union Glacier which needs to be cleared (this is often done by the wind, but not today).
The team are in the Hotel Tierra Del Fuego waiting for the latest weather update and hoping for improving chances of a flight leaving.Waiting fro the weather

Friday, December 4, 2015, 10:09 | No Comments »
The Endurance crew have been on the ice floe for some time. As the weather warms and the ice moves they realise that the soot from the cookers is causing the ice to melt very quickly. So on Friday December 3rd 1915 they have to move all their tents about 50m distant to a new camping spot.  The effect of the soot and the traffic of people treading it into the ice had melted the ice by about 2 foot. They were learning about "black body radiation" in a dramatic way and noted that if they left anything lying on the ice it melted its way downwards surprisingly quickly.

Their diet was supplemented by 4 seals which they killed that day. Wordie mentions that some of the crew were a little unverved by a Killer Whale which was surfacing in a melt pool close to the camp.

Orca Surfaces


Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 14:40 | No Comments »
Tim says the next weather update will be at 3pm Chile time which is 6pm UK time. The weather forecast at Union Glacier looks variable for the next day or two, but good clear skies for the week end.  Have a look at the Union Glacier weather station information.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 10:52 | No Comments »
The meteorologists have been unable to guarantee a safe window for landing at Union Glacier, so the flight from Punta Arenas has been postponed.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 09:26 | No Comments »
Tim Holmes emailed at 2am saying they had got the call up from the airline operator and may be leaving at 2.30am to fly to Union Glacier.  Everyone is keeping their fingers crossed as they are getting a bit frustrated passing time in Punta Arenas waiting for the heavy snow to stop.

More news as soon as we get it.

The Ilyushin (if they fly on that plane) does not have any first class accommodation. This is what it looked like on previous flights. There are no flight attendants to tell you to keep your hand luggage under the seat in front of you...

Flying to Antarctica

Wednesday, December 2, 2015, 09:20 | No Comments »
There is still bad weather  over Union Glacier, where the Antarctic flights will drop off our explorers.
They have been passing time in Punta Arenas visiting a variety of local sights including the local museums, the church and the theatre. Yesterday they organised a team  treasure hunt around the town, which was won by David, Chris, Alex and Bea.Passing Time in Punta Arenas

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 11:18 | No Comments »

The team are waiting for good weather to fly to Antarctica. Some uncertaintly last night that could have involved a flight out in the night but snow in Antarctica put that in abeyance. Now waiting for weather with higher cloud cover over Antarctica.

Constance receives the Explorers Club Flag. See the citation below.
Constance Received Explorers Club Flag

Explores Club Citation

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 11:12 | No Comments »
The extract from Wordies diary from their recue on Elephant Island on the 30th August 2016 to them arriving and leaving Punta Arenas is below in Sept 2016 is as follows

Sunday, 27th August.
It is difficult in these days to invent a new dish, but Greenstreet, cook for the week, achieved it to-day. The place of nutfood was taken by boiled backbone and seal's head; a very savoury stew all told, especially the head parts.
There was ice this morning for about 4 miles out. A SW wind springing up after noon soon got it moving and cleared the E Bay, but apparently brought up more ice from the W: NW there was ice right up to the horizon.
I notice a very thick floe in the channel between us and Gnomon Island (as James calls it) which has its surface plentifully supplied with rounded blocks tossed up by the swell. Judging by some deep furrows in the snow covering, some blocks must have been rolled right across the floe. This floe can only have been exposed to swell for a short time as no ice ledge has formed or pronounced undermining of snow at sea level.
Tuesday, 29th August.
The ice is all gone bar streams of very small floes. It must be noted however, that only 6 penguins were killed yesterday, and none to-day. And this is causing us a little anxiety, as our meat store is now considerably reduced: we begin to regret not having killed the penguins which visited us a fortnight ago.
On Sunday last the outside galley was cleared of snow: yesterday and to-day gangs have been busy removing the deep drift on the N side of the hut, lest when the thaw comes, we should be flooded out. Some men shovel; others carry the snow away in boxes and dump it. As there are a limited number of shovels, half are on duty one day, and the other half the next, work only being done in the forenoon.
I was off duty to-day for this reason, and spent it very pleasantly along the coast to the E. It was a beautiful day, sunny and fresh, with a brisk wind blowing all the time. The colour of the sea seemed ever varying. In the morning then I collected dulse and limpets in Cheetham's company; and in the afternoon after some desultory limpeting (it being too cold on the hands) explored along the coast nearly to the head of the next bay.
Wednesday, 30th August.
On board a Chilean relief ship, and making NW to Cape Virgins at 11 knots. I have not yet learned the name of the ship, for all is confused and excited; and on all sides we hear of nothing but the terrible war news.
Here then are the day's events:-
All morning about ten of us were kept busy shovelling snow away from the deep drifts on the N side of the hut. Knocked off at midday, and all hands went limpeting, with a view to making a seal-limpet-dulse hoosh. Shortly before 1.0 p.m. was called away from shelling limpets, lunch being ready. Then just as Wild was serving it out, Marston came to the door asking if we had anything to make a smoke signal, as a ship was in sight. Lunch thrown to the winds; all tumbled out of the hut anyway: there she was, what we took to be a whaler, steaming past us eastwards. The smoke signal failed, but there was no need for it, as by now her head was towards us, and she had run up her flag at the mizzen. Then came a scurry to get things packed – what we thought worth taking, and get on board. A boat was coming in; and took us off in two journeys. The end was rather a hurry: none of our rescuers ever saw the hut: the weather seemed changing for the worse: it was best to cut and run. And so all my beach exotics are left behind: the only rocks I have are those in situ. But can one complain? – My notes are safe, and every man is safe.
The ship was sighted just on 1.0 p.m.: before two all were on board, and the course was set northwards. Then we learnt that this is the fourth effort to relieve us; that the "Caird" reached South Georgia in sixteen days, and that the Boss, the Skipper and Tom Crean made a wonderful traverse of the island to Stromness.
It being now cloudy little that was fresh of the island topography was to be seen. Apparently a young submerged coast, plentifully glaciated, will sufficiently describe it. <p. 119 sketch> The other side of Gnomon Island seems as steep almost as the south side: that I think is the only thing fresh topographically. Numerous icebergs have been passed this afternoon; and one small patch of pack about 2–300 yds. across, rounded in area and consisting of small tightly-packed floes. The afternoon proved not so bad: there is a medium swell; and a sickle moon and stars are shining to-night.
Soup, biscuits and cheese were ready in the wardroom by the time we came on board; but nearly everybody was too excited to touch them. Then about 5.0 p.m. an excellent dinner was provided, the standard being Irish Stew which we all fought shy of, except the potatoes. Tinned peaches and white wine deserve mention. The wardroom, which I suppose normally holds four, is quite crowded out; but dinner was successfully managed in three servings. Then Hussey brought in his banjo. Tobacco and cigarettes circulate like water, especially the former. My own tobacco was just about petered out; but the men had finished their stock two months ago, and were revelling now in something different from the acrid fumes of senna grass.
I doubt very much if the Chileans could appreciate our concert – their acquaintance with English is very limited. An exceedingly merry evening was spent aft at which apparently the rescued were sole performers. Here were heard all the 'old' favourites and the 'new' topicals of the hut. And so, till drowsiness and sheer weariness won the day.
Saturday, 2nd Sept.
In the Magellan Straits after a quick and uneventful passage. Thursday was fresh and sunny; yesterday, however, pretty rough; the uneasy motion caught us unprepared and there were few who did not succumb to some form of sea sickness, curiously enough those among us who were seamen by profession being the first to go. Just after dark last night we were passing through Lemaire Straits. To-day we have crossed shallow waters, in sight of land most of the time, towards Cape Virgins. Originally the intention was to land the Boss at Dungeness to serd off cablegrams, but it was too rough to land to-night, and telegraphing is delayed till we reach a small bay just this side of Punta Arenas.
After all, our talked of food has not had the attraction for us which we imagined it would.
The Tierra del Fuego coast, as we saw it, was low and brown: sandy beds worn into steepish cliffs, I should guess. A long horizontal line along this face at one place suggested a raised beach.
Wednesday, 6th Sept.
Punta Arenas is likely to be our stopping place for nearly ten days, till a ship takes us up to Buenos Aires. A ship left on Sunday homeward bound, but too soon after our arrival for us to go as passengers.
Sunday's doings seem to have excited Chileans as well as English. The "Yelcho" came through the Straits of Magellan during the night, and by daylight we were within a few miles of Punta Arenas. Put in at a cannery at Rio Secco for some hours till warning should reach the town by telephone. Reached our destination about midday, being met by Governor, etc. Then through great crowds to hotel, where clothes and a wash were provided. Smoking concert at the English Club at 9.0 p.m.
Monday saw the beginning of a feverish round of festivities which may prove tiresome. Shopping in the forenoon: in the afternoon a reception at the Governor's. Became Dr. France's guest during the time I am to be at Punta Arenas.
Backwards and forwards all day yesterday. After tea a party of us motored out some 4 miles to the wireless station near Rio Secco. Performance at the theatre in the evening.
This morning I managed to slip away by myself and went on foot along a light railway running inland to a coal mine. Got a general knowledge of the country during an eight mile walk. The first 2–3 miles were over open country with sandy beds: numerous erratics lie about: it looks as if glaciers had been over here. Further up, the line winds through a valley obviously never glaciated. Had not time to reach the coal mine having to hurry back for reception at the English Club: short of it is an interesting oyster bed, thick with fossils.
Saturday, 9th Sept.
At Pecket Estancia belonging to 'Sara Braun', and managed by Mr. Macleay. Clark and I have at last managed to escape from festivities at Sandy Point, and are now having a first rate time in the "camp". On Thursday I paid a second visit to the museum at the Salesian monastery: otherwise the day was quiet, but the evening quite the reverse – a regular debauch at the Magellanes Club.
Yesterday morning then Meyer Braun put a couple of two-seaters at our disposal, and we were driven north along the coast to Est. San Francisco (about 16 miles). There we had lunch, and got on to horseback to come on here, while the rest of our gear, guns, etc., was brought on in a buggy. We were accompanied by Mr. Gibbon, inspector to Mr. Braun's estancias. We now struck inland over very muddy streets, visiting a well (20 metres) where much gas is coming up and finally getting a warm Scotch welcome from Mrs. Macleay (about 12 miles).
Points to notice in the topography are Sandy Point itself, raised beaches, lagoons, glacial drift and lakes, and the upland, boggy and covered with whins, buffalo grass, barberry and ? sage brush. It was a beautiful day, the rich brown of the great rolling country contrasting with the deep blue of the sea.
To-day we were up betimes; the ponies were driven in to the corral about 8.0 a.m. and the ones needed caught and saddled. We were now a party of five bound for the west coast (3 miles), Gibbon, Macleay, Clark, myself and a gaucho – the latter a picturesque figure with poncho, malletas and boleadores at his saddle bow. Dismounting when we reached Otway Water, we wandered about for some time on an old Indian camp site, locally known as 'the battlefield'. Here I found two old Indian boleadores and some worked flints, one a fairly perfect arrow-head. Gibbon tells me this site must have been deserted by the Indians about 25 years ago. Then along the coast to a deserted coal mine, where I got some poor specimens from the small dump heap: it being high tide the section on the foreshore was not visible. Meanwhile Clark and Gibbon did some duck shooting up a stream. Game very plentiful: Kelp Goose, Brent Goose (Red breast), Duck, Swans, Hawks, Oyster Catchers, Ostrich. A glorious day in the saddle: what a pity that we have to go back into Punta Arenas to-morrow! This is a proper Highland household; Mrs. Macleay waits on the men in the dining room, while the children feed in the kitchen; everything clean and fresh: lucky the people who can live in a climate such as this.
Tuesday, 12th Sept.
The end of the festivities here seems now in sight: I believe we are to sail for Valparaiso on Friday in the "Yelcho". Clark and I got back from the "camp" late on Sunday afternoon. Before breakfast we had a couple of hours duck shooting among what are locally known as lagoons; it was bright and sunny but with a bitter wind blowing – fairly typical weather. We were timed to leave on horseback at 11.0 a.m., but were much later starting, as we stopped to watch the gaucho Martin putting the boleadores on a young colt. We were over two hours getting to San Francisco; then a further delay with a puncture. So that by the time we got in we were too late for a thanksgiving service held in the English Church. Wild lectured in the theatre in the evening; short and not very good.
Yesterday a party of us visited the coal mine behind, going up in the traim under Captain Milward's charge, returning after about half an hour's stay. Collected specimens very similar to those got on Otway water on Saturday. At night to a very pleasant dinner at Meyer Braun's.
Friday, 15th Sept.
The "Yelcho" sailed at 5.0 p.m. to-day bound for Valparaiso through the canals. So ends nearly a fortnight of feverish festivities, in which several of the inhabitants have succumbed, whilst all of our side are still pretty fit. We have been rushing about all day saying good-bye; finally about 4.0 we all congregated at the Club, said good-bye, rushed in for ten minutes at the Admiral's: then to the pier head where the English colony were assembled; amid much pushing and handshaking we managed to get on board, and the "Yelcho" put off, all the steamers and vessels in the harbour whistling their hardest.
Among the events this week were a private dinner at Mr. Burbury's on Tuesday, and an evening at Mr. Paton's last night. On Wednesday Gibbon took Clark, Macklin and myself on another visit to the camp. We motored out SW to Est. Pampa Guayrabio along a 6 ft. raised beach. There we got on horseback and rode some miles inland through somewhat undulating country; returning after about an hour we made an ineffective attempt at duck shooting by a lagoon, as all lakes no matter their origin are called out here.


Sunday, November 29, 2015, 11:08 | No Comments »
The team were making last minute adjustments to their kit and it has been weighed and is ready for departure.They had a "pre- flight" briefing from ALE who handle the flights to Union Glacier and the logistics on Antarctica.
The team members did some micro adventures locally including visits to the Patagonia Institute to see historical artefacts from the early pioneers. They saw shops laid out as the would have been when Shackleton and Wordie were in Punta in Sept 1916.
The team visited a replica of the James Card and were shocked at how small it was. They visited the Shackleton Pier where the Yelcho pulled in to make a call to the Governor of the town to announce their arrival. It has been fascinating for the team to have reference to Wordie's diary from the time he was here. It was clear that the people of Punta Arenas made them very welcome and their hospitality played a major part in their recuperation.

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 09:32 | No Comments »
Ros and Bea

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 09:27 | No Comments »
News from Punta Arenas is that bad weather has delayed the flight over to Union Glacier for the start of the expedition. Heavy snow is falling there, making it unsuitable for planes to fly in or out. De-icing of planes is not an option. It looks like it will remain like this for a couple of days.  See the forecast for Union Glacier.

Heavy Snow at Union Glacier

Sunday, November 29, 2015, 09:09 | No Comments »
More photos arrive of the prepartion for the trip. 
We at home are wondering how they are going to manage to pull the sledges with all those large cans of ALE in the background. Here is Expedition organiser Tim Holmes with his sledge bag.
Tims Sledge


Cooking fuel

Friday, November 27, 2015, 21:37 | No Comments »
Someone's skis, which are to be used on the trip, have apparently not arrived with the rest of the luggage.  David Hempleman Adams is rushing back and forth to the airport to check if they have turned up on another flight.  
In the meantime the pulks (sledges) are being carefully packed and weighed. Each person has a carefully matched weight of supplies and equipment to pull. 
I suspect that Bea will have the lightest (being aged 17 and probably the smallest of the team) and Andy McNab will have a hefty one.

Friday, November 27, 2015, 21:27 | No Comments »
From tomorrow afternoon our team will be on standby to leave Punta Arenas for Union Glacier. It may be that they will take the trip to Antarctica in a Boeing (and not an Ilyushin) plane as the flight operators are tring to get in 2 flights per day. It is peak season after all!
Boeing 737a have landed there before. This could be the next destination for Easyjet.
Tonight they have taken refuge in The Shackleton Bar in Punta Arenas for their last get - together before setting off.  
The weather in Antarctica is being somewhat unpredictable which is giving the flight controllers a headache.  Keep your fingers croosed for some settled weather overnight...
How to get to Antarctica

Friday, November 27, 2015, 09:19 | 2 Comments »
You can now follow the location of the Endurance 100 Expedition.
Click here to see where they are.

Friday, November 27, 2015, 08:41 | No Comments »
The whole team has now arrived in Punta Arenas in southern Chile, having flown south via Santiago and Puerto Mont. They have a couple of days in Punta Arenas to "shake down" and check they have all the equipment they will need.  Keeping the weight of the sledge to a minimum will make quite a difference, and David Hempleman Adams has strongly recommended that nothing is taken which is not absolutely essential for the trip. So, amongst other things, I have been told no books are to be taken.

David Hempleman-Adams and Bea Edwards are pictured in the foreground. They are the youngest and oldest members of the team separated in age by 42 years.

Endurance100 in Putna Arenas

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 16:10 | No Comments »
In preparation for towing everything you need to survive for the 100 mile journey to the South Pole the team have been building up their fitness and stamina. Dragging old car tyres along Holkham beach has been one of the most realistic ways of practising for the real thing. Two cars tyres per person seems to do the job.  The harnesses need to be a good fit; the drag needs to be significant and the half walking half skiing technique, using ski poles, needs to be honed until it becomes second nature. The only thing it is not easy to duplicate for most of the training is the clothing and temperature...

Endurance training at Holkham Beach



Thursday, November 26, 2015, 13:21 | No Comments »
Thursday 26 Nov 2015
The Endurance100 South Pole team have arrived safely in Santiago, Chile en route to Punta Arenas.
They had a pleasant flight, caught up on sleep on the 13 hour flight and saw some awe inspiring views of the Andes and Chile's highest mountain Acongagua.
David Hempleman Adams climbed Acongagua as part of his quest that resulted in him being the first man to walk to the North and South poles and climb the worlds highest peaks in the 1990s.

Endurance Exploreer arrive in Chile

Thursday, November 26, 2015, 06:59 | No Comments »
Wild and his party return to the position where Endurance sank. today, travelling over the sea ice with considerable difficulty. Nothing whatever of the ship is left. The ice there has rearranged itself very considerably, but apparently without fresh pressure formation.

Position Lat 68°28S  Long 52°30'S  Wind this afternoon went round to the WSW.

Taken from James Wordie's Weddel Sea Log

Waddell sea ice after Endurance sinks.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015, 15:19 | No Comments »
The team of explorers has just left Cambridge on the start of the Endurance100 expedition. Most are flying to Puenta Arenas in southern Chile by way of Madrid and then Santiago. Others are making their way via Paris, Sao Paolo or New York and Miami. From Santiago some go directly to Punta Arenas, and some go via Porto Mont. Tim Holmes (left) has organised the expedition. Tim's wife is the grand daughter of Sir James Wordie, who was the geologist on Shackleton's expedition 100 years ago.

The Explorers leave for the South Pole

Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 15:23 | No Comments »
November 23rd 1915
We drifted 4 miles north and 2' West. The floes are now drifting faster than the bergs.  We killed 4 seals today. SInce yesterday our floe has been ringed round by cracks and small patches of water. Our hunting ground in now distinctly limited.


November 21st 1915

Snippets taken from James Wordie's diary and Weddel Sea log.
Today saw the last of the ship. Wild had reported the ship was still down at the head, but at about 5pm, just after the dogs had been fed, came the shout that The Endurance was sinking. We all rushed round to see her as best we could. The stern went right up to about 45° and about 10 minutes after the alarm the last of her stern sank from view. So she completes her first and last voyage, and sinks, beaten in a fair fight only after a fine struggle.  It actually rained a few days ago. The high temperature today was + 35 degrees F.
Position Lat 68°38'S Long 52°28'W

Tuesday, November 24, 2015, 12:11 | No Comments »
25/11/2015     1     ALL Leave UK
26/11/2015     2     Arrive Punta Arenas
27/11/2015     3     Punta Arenas
28/11/2015     4     Punta Arenas - briefing
29/11/2015     5     Fly to Union Glacier
30/11/2015     6     Union Glacier
01/12/2015     7     Union Glacier fly to start
02/12/2015     8     Day 1 of walk
03/12/2015     9     Day 2
04/12/2015    10    Day 3
05/12/2015    11    Day 4
06/12/2015    12    Day 5
07/12/2015    13    Day 6
08/12/2015    14    Day 7
09/12/2015    15    Day 8
10/12/2015    16    Day 9
11/12/2015    17    Day 10
12/12/2015    18    Day 11
13/12/2015    19    Day 12
14/12/2015    20    Day 13
15/12/2015    21    Day 14
16/12/2015    22    Day 15 Reach South Pole
17/12/2015    23    SP to UG
18/12/2015    24    Fly back Punta Arenas
19/12/2015    25    Punta Arenas to UK

Monday, November 16, 2015, 20:06 | No Comments »
Current weather conditions at the South Pole are dictating the clothing list.
Although it will be mid-summer, with 24 hours of sunlight, there will be a cool wind blowing.
The chances of getting an all over suntan are poor, especially if you need to wear a full face blizzard protector.
The temperature last week was -30°C, so they may well need them!

Full Face Blizzard Mask

Monday, November 16, 2015, 19:41 | No Comments »
Preparations for the Endurance100 expedition are now entering their final stages.  Everyone seems to be fit and rearing to go. There have been some unplanned changes in the team; Steve E unfortunately injured himself quite seriously during the summer and is not able to go, although he is making a good recovery. Ros S is taking his place and has been walking hundreds of miles with a heavy back pack in preparation.

Some excellent headwear has been purchased. Fur around the face is not a luxury - it is a necessity when the air temperature is so low and the wind so strong.

Bea Edwards in her fur hat


Hand made felt linings for the low temperature boots have been ordered and delivered
The team's heavy duty coats have arrirved.  
The satellite tracking gadget has been tested, so the rest of us can follow the progress of the expedition minute by minute. Keep an eye out on this website from 26th November to see how they are getting on.
https://share.delorme.com/DavidHemplemanAdams


Wednesday, May 27, 2015, 06:43 | No Comments »
Pulking in Cairngorm

Keeping warm in the tent

Cairngorm Team Photo

Friday, May 22, 2015, 18:57 | No Comments »
The Polar Explorers Dinner

The Polar Explorers Dinner was held at St Johns College Cambridge on Saturday May 16 2015. Before the dinner here was a champagne reception in the Old Divinity School. Over 200 people attended including many involved in polar exporation, polar research, history or the armed forces.
25 of the guests had previously stayed in either Arctica or Antaractica.

To commemorate the Centenary, to profile the expedition and to raise funds for a project to digitise historical records a Dinner was held at St Johns College on May 16th There are photographs of the event that are available to purchase from www.joanthony.co.uk
(The password can be obtained from admin@ endurance100.org)

David Hempleman Adams provided a light-hearted insight into his adventures and provide his insightful views on Shackleton's leadership ethos.
The Dinner raised over £10,000 to help create a digital archive of unpublished historical and scientific records from the Imperial Trans-Antarctic expedition. These will be held at the Scott Polar Research Institute and at St John's College in Cambridge and as a result, important scientific and historical data will be made accessible for those studying Polar science, history and climate change.

Many local businesses attended to support this venture including Carter Jonas, Savills, RG Carter, MLM Engineers, WSP Group, Birketts Solicitors, Volac, Eastern Water. The Dinner Committee extend a warm thank to all who attended and supported the event including those who donated auction prizes. 

There are further opportunities for companies and individuals to get involved in both supporting the digitisation project or the Expedition itself.
Please email admin@endurance100.org for further information.


Wednesday, May 6, 2015, 08:27 | No Comments »
The group spent the May Bank Holiday weekend braving 25mph winds and sub-zero temperatures practicing putting up tents and pulling sledges on the Cairngorm Mountain Ski Resort kindly arranged by Natural Retreats, the ski area operator.

Putting up a tent in a strong wind

Wednesday, April 1, 2015, 07:00 | 1 Comment »
The training expedition to prepare for the Endurance South Pole 100 expedition departed on 31 March. They will do crevasse and other polar skill training and then trek for 5 days in Liverpool land, Eastern Greenland.
Alice Holmes' grandfather mapped the area in 1926 having a returned from Shackleton's TransAntarctic expedition on the Endurance ten years earlier.
The team fly to Iceland and on to Greenland where the temperature is -25 C.
Pulking in Greenland



On Friday January 22, 2016 as many of you know Henry Worsley, a distant descendant of Frank Worsley the Captain of the Endurance sent a message via satellite from his tent having walked 913 miles over 70 days on his own and unaided in his quest to cross the Antarctic on the route Shackleton intended. Worsley was 30 miles away from his finish line, but he was snowbound by a blizzard's whiteout and by exhaustion.

"When my hero Ernest Shackleton was 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of January 9 1909, he said he had shot his bolt," Worsley said in his final dispatch before he called for an airlift. "Well today, I have to inform you with some sadness that I too have shot my bolt."

The airlift was successful. Three days later however Worsley died at a hospital in Punta Arenas, Chile from peritonitis, an infection of the abdominal wall. His expedition, shackletonsolo.org, has raised over £100,000 for British war veterans..

Many of the Endurance South Pole 100 expedition knew Henry and one member had served in the Army with him. He had been a real font of knowledge in planning the expedition and making siure we did something worthwhile and create legacy. He was giving us valuable advice at the end of October from his "Patience Camp " in Punta Arenas and allway s made time to help. An extract from one email was

"Be prepared for the cold and effects of altitude when you get out of the plane at your start point.
And expect a slow accumulation of miles covered each day until you have all acclimatised a bit.
Some will be affected much more than others and you will have to go at the speed of the slowest ship in your convoy"
.
His compassionate advice proved very valuable as we struggled with the cold and wind in our attempt to walk just a short part of the route to the South Pole that Shackleton would have travelled 100 years earlier.
We spoke to Henry on a satellite phone from Union Glacier in early December and wished him well.. he was cheery and optimistic despite finding it very hard and unbearably slow as he skied up to the Polar Plateau in some very unseasonal snowy conditions
Many of us followed his blog with interest and admiration. We realised from the efforts we were making in a much smaller endeavour that what Henry was doing was a massive feat, and to get so far is to be commended

It was fitting that on Day 61, Henry invoked Tennyson's line in that old motto of British exploration and heroic endeavours.
"To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield," he said in an increasingly raspy, thin voice.
That line of poetry captures the will and courage to endure the unendurable. Shackleton was a man who sought glory and legacy but discovered true heroism by saving all the lives of the "Endurance" crew. That has always been the lesson and the poetry of Shackleton's "Endurance" for many.

Frank Worsley had some poet in him, too. His wonderful book, "Shackleton's Boat Journey," ended by saying of Shackleton, "It seemed to me that among all his achievements, great as they were, his one failure was the most glorious."

"My summit is just out of reach," Henry said in his final dispatch.

Perhaps not: We can wish that a bit of Shackleton's true glory can be part of the legacy of Henry Worsley, 1960-2016

We will remember him for his help in planning our expedition, his advice to create a worthwhile legacy and his optimism that we would get likeminded people together to make it all happen. It was really appreciated.







One hundred years on , you would think that there is little more left to say about the Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition. Over the years, volumes have been written about what is now one of the most famous events in polar exploration. as well as films, television dramas and even an opera.
Then, a new voice is heard . James Wordie was the quiet man of Shackleton's crew.  A thoughtful, studious scientist, with  a dry Scottish wit, he doesn't feature much in the literature . Yet he was  there through it all in the background, just diligently getting on with his work.
Now though his voice can be heard. For the first time, his complete personal diaries of those dramatic times will be made available.  
It was customary for all senior members of an expedition to keep a jounal of their adventures and  work. This would be handed in at the end, so the expedition leader could write up the official account. In this case, Shackleton, and the publication of 'South'.
When 'Endurance' was abandoned, the diaries went with the crew on their dramatic journey. Researchers from all disciplines can thus read the journals of Shackleton, James, Hurley, Orde-Lees and the others. Each gives a different, personal insight into the expedition and its fate. But one of the main scientific voices is silent. That of James Wordie, the ship's geologist. 
Wordie was a conscientious writer and recorder of data. His diary includes unique information about experiments and samples taken during the voyage.  His illustrations and  navigation records could be used alongside other sources, to verify and shed new light on their jouney.
Making available his complete diaries for the first time is thus an historic and exciting step for all those interested in the Endurance and its crew.
Working with the Scott Polar Research Institute (SPRI) , the descendents of James Wordie are now exploring the best ways of digitising the diaries.  
The 2015 expedition , and related events, such as the commemorative dinner at St.Johns College in May 2015, are raising funds to enable this to happen.
The quiet man might soon break his silence.

 

David Crichton Henry , April 2015.

Part of the team have been training in Eastern Greenland during the Easter Holidays.
See the photos on the Galllery pages. Other Photos are on the Team Dropbox files.

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