I am writing this from the back seat of a Kenn Borek Air Twin Otter, taking me away from the South Pole back to Union Glacier Camp.
I have spent 5 years trying to get to the Pole and now I am done and leaving it behind me. Flying back over the pristine white landscape that I just skied over.
After 53 days of skiing over 1000km we arrived at South Pole camp on Saturday 18th January at just after 11 am Chilean time (2 pm London). The camp site is about 300m from the actual Pole and I was convinced I would want to head straight there but we were not going for a particular time/speed and brunch had just been served.
Actual food! Fried eggs, potatoes, fresh vegetables….. after 53 days of rehydrated meals there was no way I was missing out on that! And yes, it was one of the best meals I have ever had!
The actual Pole is right next to the American Scott-Amundsen Base. First there is a ceremonial pole with a big shiny ball surrounded by the flags of the original signatories to the Antarctic Treaty. This is the spot for photos! As usual I am sure I could have got better pictures but after 53 days in a tent that is possibly not true….
From there it is a short ski across to the actual geographic pole which moves slightly every year and is marked by a large sign with quotes from Amundsen and Scott as well as an actual Pole.
As you can probably tell from my nice factual description, I have not yet even begun to process what I have just done. Partly because I don’t feel like the trip is over until I am actually home and partly because it all feels a bit like a dream still.
I was fully expecting to cry tears of joy when I arrived at the Pole, after 5 years of thinking about it, I had finally done it.
But I didn’t, I just looked around and absorbed it all.
There were a few other expeditioners at camp and to be suddenly inside, sitting on a chair, eating with cutlery surrounded by people was overwhelming.
To then put my skis back on, hook up my sled and head off to the actual Pole, was in some ways a relief and just time to look around me and take it all in.
I spent last night (ed: night before last now, this came through at 2am) camped at the South Pole camp with my guide Christian and the last of the South Pole staff. The remaining guests flew out yesterday afternoon and we had one night there with the staff who were closing down camp.
Tonight we will be back at base camp and then it is a wait to see when I can fly back to Chile and on to London.
Looking at the landscape below me on our 5 hr flight back to the start point I am beginning to understand what I have just done.
To start feeling the emotion of it all. There have been tears and laughs, moments of joy and moment of strain and a lot of skiing!
One day soon I will start to properly process it but for now I just know that I feel happy and content and can’t wait to get home to my husband, my family and my friends.