With Kilimanjaro in their sights, two families arrived down to Kerry once again for more training on the 12th April as they prepare to travel on our June departure date. Following a briefing at the Mountain Lodge, we left for the Hags Glen joined by Wesley and Tom to climb Carrauntoohil. The day was bright and cool, with wintry clouds looming over the peaks around us from 7-800m upwards. We chatted about the upcoming trip to climb Kilimanjaro for the Quirke and Ronayne families, a mountain I had the pleasure to guide back in January. Training and getting gear sorted out were going well for them. With a sense of understanding about how to train achieved from our Meet Day, they are now focused on strengthening up the team and finalising gear selection.
Our walk in the valley was quiet because we started around midday. We got a taste of winter with a downpour of rain, not far off sleet as we left the main track at the ford and headed toward O'Sheas. Our gradual pull up the path with the 2 scrambles up steep ground proving adventurous for some of the group. After lunch the pace was slow and when we started to climb the bottom of O'Shea's Gully, we were reminded once more of winter with an intense shower of hard hail stone pounding our faces for ten minutes and then stopped.
Exhilarated, we put on an extra layer before heading toward the summit. There were a few others on top in cloudy grey cold conditions although dry. After a few photos and congratulations we left to descend toward the Devils Ladder. Half way down the cloud lifted and gave us brief views out to the sea in Kenmare bay. The decent was wet and took some care weaving a way through the loose gravel and rocks before we walked out the valley back to the cars.
Later the lads from Cork departed for home and the two families made for town to eat before getting up again at 2.30am for a night climb.
Starting from the top of the Gap at 3.30am, the head torches were bouncing around in a line as we started Purple Mountain. We adjusted our clothing with conditions being good and dry for now. We had 2 small breaks for water and snacks before we caught glimpses of the moon's reflections on the upper lakes of Killarney. As we crested the col nearing the summit, the light was approaching but only just. We wrapped up a little more and slowly got to the summit for 6.00am.
The descent was easy at the start as you feel good following the summit but then tiredness that feels like you're on autopilot mode. That's when accidents and stumbles happen but luckily everyone was concentrating and we got back to the cars around 8.00am.
This fitness assessment course is ideal for setting a mark on physical and mental training required for trekking holidays and climbing Kilimanjaro. We recommend all groups to undergo this process and find out about gear selection along the way. Contact us to discuss options and dates for upcoming meet days and courses. The success rate is much better when you prepare well.
I wish the Quirke and Ronayne families the best, keep up the preparations.
Guide report: Niall Foley
We arrived to a busy Cronins Yard on Saturday morning at 10am. Having met Sinead, Louise and her dad Pat in Kate's car park earlier, introductions were already out of the way as we headed up the path into the Hags Glen. Weather was pleasing at that stage although it just started to drizzle, with cloud hanging on the top 200m of the surrounding reeks.
The Route to the Summit of Carrauntoohil: We climbed up through one of the most beautiful routes on the mountain as we made our way through Coomcallee (The Hags Glen) before going off track passing Lough Gouragh (The Lake of the Goat) Breaking through the cliff barrier over the Step of the Goat, where we learned some scrambling techniques to gain the upper reaches of the mountain as we climbed through the three tiers of Coimin Iochtarach, Lair and Uachtarach (The lower, middle and upper valleys) to Ireland’s highest lake (The Eagles Nest) Via Brother O Shea’s Gully, we ascended to the summit from the Beenkeragh ridge in breezy misty conditions.
On our way we met a medium sized group whom we spoke to as we asecended O'Shea's. On reaching the summit we celebrated with a few photos and started our decent. Views of the Black Valley, Kenmare Bay and the saddle at the top of the Devils Ladder finally opened up below us to compliment our already thoroughly enjoyable day. We went left to the Heavenly gates with not many others on the mountain with us at that stage nearing 4pm. Pat and the girls were taken aback when I showed them the rescue hut which has some beans inside if you were stuck!!
Our way out was nice and quiet leading us back to a nice cuppa in Cronins around 6pm. It was great to take our time and take in all the natural beauty which made the day. Best of luck to the girls next adventure, Pat was ecstatic about the day, it was all their first time up Carrauntoohil, Well Done!!
Report & Photos by Niall Foley
If you would like to climb Carrauntoohil please contact us in Kerry 064 6644181
May 07th brought Andy, Jack (10) and Shannan Timmins along with 22 friends to the foot of Carrauntoohil.
Since late 2010, we have had the pleasure of working with Andy and Sarah Timmins in organising their fundraising event to Climb Carrauntoohill for the Cystic Fibrosis Hopesource Foundation. With over 40 members of the Timmins family and friends down from Dublin, including a supporting team, the 25 climbers including Jack and Lee, both whom have Cystic Fibrosis, set of on what can only be described as a challenging day on Ireland's highest peak.
The rain was constant and heavy. The winds were high and often left us bracing ourselves against the elements. But under the guidance and expertise of Pat & Niall Foley, the team were in no doubt of a safe ascent and more importantly, a safe descent. Not once did the teams motivation flounder and an extra credit must be noted to the younger members of the team who would have been in their rights to call it a day at any point. But the strenghts that can be drawn from great leadership (both of the guides Pat and Niall and of Andy Timmins) held high and 7 hours after leaving Cronin's Yard, a very enthused team returned high with emotion and very,very wet!
I had the pleasure of assisting Pat and Niall in leading the climb and after working with Andy over the past 6 months, it was a great feat to be there to witness the day in all it's glory. Having met with most of the group on the Friday evening for a briefing, it was obvious that the climbers were heading back for a great evening of celebrtions and they definately deserved it!
Belated Happy Birthday to Jack who turned 11 in the past few days. We hope you had a great day and if your and Lee's positive attitude on the climb was anything to go by, we will no doubt see you guys back on the hills into the future!
''Hi Pat, Lorrainne and Neil, just wanted to thank ye all again for all your help and guidance on our recent journey up carrauntoohil for C.F...It was certainly as spectacular as it was difficult, given the day we had... And on behalf of our group, family and friends may I pass on our deepest condolances to the family and friends of your fellow adventurer John Delaney... Look forward to meeting ye all again, ok... cheers for now'' - John (the fireman) Timmins.
Cystic Fibrosis Hopesource Foundation is a 100% voluntary organisation
We have no salaried staff
We do not use professional fundraisers
We cover all promotional expenses from our own pockets
All involved give their time free of charge
Every cent raised goes directly to meet clearly specified needs
Our audited accounts are freely available for inspection
October 2010 Temple St CFOPD
''It's a Big Thank You to everyone involved in raising the funds that CF Hopesource Foundation contributed to the project. The total project cost €2.3 million and CF Hopesource contributed €545,000''
''For the past 3 months children with CF going to Temple St have been attending clinic at the new CF OPD and any child requiring treatment in between clinic visits has been going there too. The result is that parents can bring their children to the new clinic without fear of cross infection while at clinic. Also starting a child on IV antibiotics no longer needs to be delayed because of the lack of a treatment room''
2007: New testing equipment for Dr. Philip Murphy's Microbiology Lab at Tallaght Hospital primarily funded by the Forex Golf outing in Mount Wolseley. Many thanks to all who gave their supported. For CF patients, this means faster prescription of the correct antibiotic.
Funding the position of Dedicated Dietician for the Cystic Fibrosis Team at Beaumont Hospital
Providing seed funding for the position of Dedicated Dietician for the Cystic Fibrosis Team at Temple Street Childrens Hospital.
Fully funding a 2nd Dedicated Dietician post for the Cystic Fibrosis Team at Temple Street Childrens Hospital
Funding a Dedicated Physiotherapist position and the position of a Cystic Fibrosis Nurse Specialist at Temple Street Childrens Hospital
Funding the position of a dedicated Psychologist for the Cystic Fibrosis Team at Temple Street Childrens Hospital
Establishing a Long Line IV Service at Temple Street Childrens Hospital
€26,000 towards the purchase of a Micro Array Scanner for Cystic Fibrosis Research at Beaumont Hospital
Pat Falvey features on RTE1 'This Sporting Life' tomorrow night at 7pm.
The second series of This Sporting Life tells the story of six of Ireland's most eminent sportsmen. It looks at their greatest achievements in sport but also chronicles the all too human stories behind some of Ireland's great sporting headlines. The six talk candidly about their successes and failures in arenas where so much is expected by their fans and the public in general. In telling their own story, each profile gets to the heart of the subject.
This years series has already featured Ken Doherty, Michael Carruth, Éamonn Coghlan, Tony Ward & Seán Boylan. Further details can be found here.
Producer Niall Mathews visited Pat at the Mountain Lodge in Kerry a few months back to get inside the mountain man to see what makes him tick. He also liaised with Niall Foley for fine tuning details and coordinating Pat's archive material for the production.
For those without RTE1 or abroad, the show will feature on RTE Player in a few weeks.
After a year in the making, Helen Shaw and here team at Athena Media handed over their latest film series to Setanta Sports Ireland in December 2010. This three part series, which was funded by the BAI, was shot over the last 15 months here in Kerry, Cork and Dublin. Helen weaves a compelling story of Pat's personal endeavour and sacrifice through the years from childhood to the present day, with contributions from his family, friends and mountaineering colleagues. The story is full of archive footage from Pats many exciting expeditions & features amazing photos from the Pat Falvey collection.
Speaking to Pat via Satelite phone about the project, he had this to say:
'Its been an amazing journey for me personally making this documentary and also my team for filming and preparing the archive footage from my earlier life, sifting through the tens of thousands of images which I have in my collection. Even just talking to some of my old colleagues and friends has bought back so many memories to the forefront of my mind. I would like to take this oppurtunity to thank those involved including all contributors, my family, my friends and my own team in helping me on this film. A very special thanks has to go to Helen Shaw and her team who have created a great biography documentary, well done, its been a fantastic journey working with Athena Media. Even though I am in a very remote location in Canada at present, we have arranged a location to see Setanta on Sunday. Its funny as already many locals here want to see it also!!'
You can see more trailers on vimeo.com/channels/falvey
Press release from Athena media:
3 x 24min – documentary series is an Athena Media production for Setanta Sports funded through the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland Sound and Vision funding scheme. The series is due to air on 6th February 2011. It will begin with episode one on 6th February, followed by episode two on 7th February and episode three on 8th February. All episodes will be broadcasted at 10pm on Setanta Sports.
‘Some people say I’m a self publicist, some people say that I can be very arrogant, immediately I think of something, I say it. I’m going to climb Mount Everest, I’m going to become a millionaire. I’m going to be the best motivational speaker in the world. People think, how can he actually say that?. There’s no harm in dreaming and dreaming big,’ Pat Falvey.
Pat Falvey’s life story is the stuff of fiction. The teenage boy who left school at fifteen determined to be a millionaire and built a multi-million property business by his twenties. The serial entrepreneur who lost everything by twenty-nine and nearly took his own life in despair. But a chance encounter took him hill-walking and his first venture to Kerry’s Carrauntoohil made him vow to climb Mount Everest, the highest peak in the world. By thirty-four he stood on Everest and soon became one of Ireland’s most celebrated, and controversial adventurers. He has been to Everest four times, reached the summit from both its north and south face and is the only man in the world to have climbed the highest peaks in every continent twice. He has trekked to the South Pole and now planned one last great adventure, this time to the North Pole.
This documentary and biographical series takes us into the psychology of Pat Falvey and finds out what drives him to follow dreams bigger and bolder than anyone else. Production Company, Athena Media, with producer/director Helen Shaw, filmed Pat across a year and interviewed those close to him throughout his life, both in Cork City where he was born and reared and in Beaufort, Co Kerry where he now lives and works at the foothills of McGillycuddy Reeks.
Pat’s journey starts in north Cork where he was born the eldest son of Tim and Abina Falvey. His father Tim was a bricklayer and Pat followed his father’s trade but says his maternal grandmother, Mary B. O’Callaghan, a street trader, was a central influence on shaping him and his life. His grandmother encouraged him to think big and had him running little businesses when he was still a small boy. Her sense of confidence and will-power is what fuelled him to be a millionaire. His property business was worth in excess of €70 million in today’s value but the recession in the mid 1980s hit him hard and his empire began to crumble. By 29 he was broke, bankrupt and he even thought of killing himself. His own marriage suffered. But when a friend took him to the mountains he began to see life anew and mountains became his obsession. It was an obsession which eventually brought him to Mount Everest and to the honour of being the second Irishman to stand on the summit.
This series tracks Pat Falvey’s life and tells his story. We hear from friends like Con Moriarty and Mick Murphy who have known Pat from the early days in Co Kerry when he joined Kerry Mountain Rescue to mountaineers like Dawson Stelfox, the Belfast architect who became the first Irishman to summit Everest in May 1993. We hear from his family from his sisters Majella and Abina and his brother Barry Falvey. His son, Patrick Falvey, shares insights along with those who have journeyed with Falvey through many expeditions including Dr Clare O’Leary. Clare went to Mount Everest with Pat in 2003 and 2004 and her successful summit in 2004 made her the first Irishwoman to climb Everest and since then she has trekked with Pat to the South Pole and now joins him on what he describes as his last great adventure – the North Pole. Pat’s ambition has been to journey to the highest and most extremes points on earth, from Everest to the South and North Pole and this final expedition, in Spring 2011, will complete what he calls the ‘three Poles’.
Pat Falvey: My Private Everest is a series which promises dramatic footage as well as unique revelations including how Pat Falvey’s determination to bring the tricolour to the summit of Everest provoked debate and even animosity with some accusing him of detracting from Dawson Stelfox’s own summit. Pat’s philosophy ‘that everyone has their own private Everest’ has brought him into motivational leadership and mentoring and he now makes a living from motivational speaking both in Ireland and abroad. Contact Athena Media -01 4885851 for more details including press photographs or stills from the documentary series.
Athena Media would like to thank everyone who helped us and supported us during the production particularly the Falvey family, Niall Foley and all the crew who have worked on it in Athena Media particularly Anita Walsh, Paula Cunniffe and Niall Brew. Our cameraman Barry MacNeill has been with us throughout the shoot and we have had excellent support from Lotus Media in post production. John E. Turner did the offline edit while Scott Smith was online and Simon Flanagan did the audio mix. A special thank you to Ella McSweeney who did the voice-over on the series and to the wonderful folk in Seneca, the band who produced instrumental tracks for the documentary mix and who have been great supporters of the project.
On return, Martin sent in some great shots of the boys and himself on Mount Kilimanjaro
This evening they will return to Moshi for their last overnight before leaving for the airport in the morning.. All reports are of a 'healthy & happy' group and we, no doubt not a fraction as much as mom, Joan, await their safe return and further reports of their adventures in Tanzania.
6th January 2011 - Lake Manyara National Park
After a eventful New Year on Kilimanjaro, Martin, James, Alexander & Marcus are enjoying an overnight at Serena Luxury Lodge taking in 2 days Safari in the spectacular Lake Manyara National Park within the Great Rift Valley with its infamous tree climbing lion!
The National Park offers an amazing experience - At the Southern end of the park are hot Sulphur Springs known as Majimoto. Further along the forest the area opens up into woodlands, grassland, swamps and beyond, the soda lake itself. Nestling at the base of the Great Rift Valley escarpment, the park is recognized for its incredible beauty. Wildlife at Lake Manyara is not restricted to birdlife only. Many game animals such as buffalo, elephants, giraffes, impala ,hippos and a great variety of smaller animals also inhabit the park.
Lake Manyara is renown for its tree-climbing lions which spend most of the day spread out along the branches of acacia trees six to seven metres above the ground. The park contains the most pachyderms per km sq. in Tanzania. As you enter the gate, you pass into the lush forest, home to troops of baboons and blue monkeys. Buffalo and hippo lurch in the adjacent Hippo Pool. The vegetation eventually merges into flat topped acacia woodland where, in the heat of the day entire prides of lion can be seen stretched on the branches of these trees - a habit prevalent to Manyara lions.
Along with these amazing tree-climbing lions there are the usual browsers and grazers as well as the curios-looking banded mongoose. Two thirds of the park is dominated by the slightly alkaline lake which is home to a huge variety of waterbirds.
4th January 2011 - 13.00hrs Irish time
Family climb Kilimanjaro
Just got a call from Martin, "We all got into the final campsite on accent yesterday at 4pm. With excitement and everything about the summit push last evening, the lads only got a 2-3 hrs sleep before leaving at 11pm for the long summit push. James was sick a few times but had no other AMS symptoms. We got toGillman's Point (5681m) at 7am this morning with all ok apart from Alexander having zero juice left in the tank. The guides helped in the decision for Alexander, who knew he couldn't go any further as he had not enough energy to get him to the summit and back toGillman's Point."
"With a guide holding with Alexander at gilmans, James, Marcus, myself and the remaining guides headed for the summit. After an hour and a half or so we could see the summit sign in the distance, which encouraged us. We got to Uhuru summit (5,895m) at 9.15am, James and Marcus were very excited and got the photos etc. done before heading back down. The guides were brilliant and when we got back here to gilmans, Alexander was asleep which was good he must have been knackered earlier this morning. I sent James and Marcus down ahead and I will wait for Alexander for a while longer before we also head down. Amazing feeling to get there with my sons, they all did extremely well"
Well done lads and hope you all enjoy the fun on the way down. Best of luck on the rest of the trip from all at the expedition office down in Kerry.
If climbing Kilimanjaro is a dream or challenge of yours please view our Africa travel section or contact us for advice on our 2011 and 2012 treks.
Latest Report - 2nd January 2011
The Haydens and their guides acclimatised to 4300m today and are now back to 3720m for the night. Martin reports that the boys are doing well, apart from some adjustments to the food etc., Martin said: "James has some music with him, Marcus is reading and Alexander is getting plenty of stories from dad, they are all sleeping well and eating ok considering, the weather is absolutely amazing providing stunning scenery views, hopefully it will last for the next couple of days"
We expect a push for the summit on the 5th or 6th january, lets see how they get on today, Stay tuned.
Trek Start Report - 31st December 2010
While we celebrate New years here in Ireland, Martin Hayden and his threetrustysons James, Marcus & Alexander are now on Mt. Kilimanjaro,located in Tanzania,and have started their trek. They flew out on the 29th of December to fulfill an ambition to climb the highest mountain in Africa. The climb will take them through five different ecological zones as they ascend toward the5,895m summit over the next eight days. Happy New Year lads - Over the next few days we will endeavour to report as much as possible. They are just finishing day one and these are photos of the start.
Training began back in November when we put them through their paces on Purple mountain beside the Gap of Dunloe in Kerry. The cold weather had just started 2 days before the lads came down, roads were bad in Meath where the lads are from and tentatively made the journey to the montain lodge in Kerry. On arrival we met Con Moriarty, who advised them on the gear they had and also the gear needed for their training and climb in december. Temperatures were low on the evening of the 27th with severe cold conditions forecast as low as -10C. Later in the evening wewere joined by camerman Mark Watson who was down to get a feel for mountain filming, he will be editing footage under our direction for the haydens on their return.Following a quick briefing on the plans for the dark start early in the amby guide Tony Nation, we all headed to bed for some rest.
Night climb of Purple Mountain - 28th Nov 2010
We got a little breakfast into us and headed off at 4am. The drive up the gap was surreal and slippy with icy conditions. We adjusted our gear and headed off into the night, which was brigthened at times by the moon. As we got our pace and temperatures regulated we were approaching the glas lake, which was very surreal in total darkness and head torches. We had a break and some banter with lads who were doing just fine. after the gully from the lake we started onto the steep scree section which was tough work as the wind was a lot stronger. Martin got James, Marcus and Alexander to stay close in a line as conditions were now more severe.
At 7.30am we reached the shoulder and made our final push across the summit section to the main cairn in near total whiteout. We had already decided to spend only 3 minutes there as there was no visibility for sunrise although we could see that light was approaching. On our decent toward the central peak heading toward tomies temperatures were very low and wind was strong, with frost forming on our eyebrows, hair and clothing. I would say it was minus 15C windchill approx. At our next stop our water was now slushy and hard to drink, bring out the hot drink Tony!! The lads were elated at this stage and we found some snow to bum slid followd by some great icicles!!
On decent we headed into the Gap behind the cottages, once we decended below the cloud we got our first glimpses of scenery toward the sea over snow peppered stricin mountain. We stopped to admire the views and our final stop before the road. The boys were holding strong and dad Martin coaxed the final leg down. When we got to the road it was time to do much needed filming as the visibility was good now for the first time all morning.
We got back to the lodge after 10.00am for a fuller than Irish breakfast with no leftovers.The lads had a great time apart from being wrecked tired and after speaking to Martin a couple of days later theyhad a great time in Kerry and hadn't stopped talking about it. We wish them the best of luck!!
Martin and his boys were featured on RTE's Colm Hayes show on the 23 December, below you will find a link to download the attached podcast.
Report by Niall Foley
Travel Coordinator & Camerman
The Irish North Pole Team 2010 are currently awaiting a pickup to evacuate all three team members back to Resolute following John Dowd developing some visible signs of frostbite on two fingers tips. The team had been on standby yesterday March 6th, assessing the situation in their tent and a decision was made following signs of deterioration that a evacuation would be needed as the team could not risk continuing.
Expedition Leader Pat Falvey spoke to operations manager Niall Foley on Saturday afternoon Irish time, providing him with their status. Pat said: "After 5 days in -40C conditions, we have been pulling and hauling sleds over very rough terrain and exposure is a real danger out here. Of course we are feeling somewhat disappointed having to abort on rescue at this early stage, but these extreme conditions have taken their toll on John and his injury is not going to improve", "Our rescue plane is on the way and it may get a chance to land close to our position, failing that we have to trek back to Ward Hunt which may take to 2-3 days to allow safe landing area for Troy the pilot" he continued " We are in good hands with the rescue going according to plan. Weather conditions are stable at present with a plane attempting their first extraction Sunday evening. Clare and I are fine and John is in good spirit apart from some pain and should be in a position to haul his sled back to Ward hunt if required."
We will update further on the teams status early on Monday 8th March.
Irish adventurers Pat Falvey, Dr. Clare O’Leary and John Dowd have early this morning Canada time (Tuesday 2 March 2010) departed from Resolute to complete a historical and icy voyage as they navigate, walk, ski, and swim for two months on a 784 km expedition of endurance. Man-hauling their sleds across the rugged, broken, melting Arctic Ocean from Canada, they plan to be the first Irish team to reach the North Pole without the aid of dogs or any mechanical means.
Having spent the past 22 days training in YellowKnife and Resolute on the North West Passage in Canada, the Irish team are now on there way to the start of their Journey at Ward Hunt for their 60 day trek to the North Pole.
“We are very concerned at the ice condition at the moment having had satellite images showing the thin ice and large open leads. The team are confident but we won't underestimate the conditions,” says Pat Falvey, “through cold down to -50 degrees Celsius.”
Following several postponed flight over the last week in both Yellowknife and Resolute, the team are now boarded and flying north with gear weighing hundreds of kilo's packed into their chartered Twin Otter aircraft following a green light for take-off this morning. Weather in Ward hunt had been unstable over the last two days grounding their final flight.
" We are go, just boarding the plane now and hope to start skiing later on tonight (2nd March Canada time, 3rd March Irish time), ice conditions are improving somewhat with sea conditions stablising also as we move away from the recent full moon. Clare, John and myself are nervous but confident." Pat said over Satellite conversation with Operations manager Niall Foley at lunch time today.
The teams progress can be tracked at News section on PatFalvey.com.
We're off, at least from YellowKnife in the North West Territories and in a way I felt sad leaving. Over the past 17 days there we made many good friends and were welcomed with open arms. I must pay a special Thanks to Matt Mossen and all his partners that help out over our period there, it really made life a lot easier for us as a team.
One frustration finished.
Now at least one frustration is over, we got a weather window and our Chartered, Dornier 228 took off on a five hour 850 mile flight to Resolute at 16;00 today with all of our gear onboard. This is an amazing aircraft, I even got the chance to fly it for a hour up thanks to Dave. For me another first and a fantastic unexpected treat.
We have shared the charter with Richard Webber a good friend of mine and his team helping all of us reduce the cost, its an expensive process chartering planes to get to these remote areas. (If your're interested in knowing a little bit about Resolute I'll do it on another new item.)
The Flight to Resolute:
Packed into the Dornier 228 we were briefed on the safety regulations by one of our two pilots. "There are five emergency exits and just to let you know our flying time today will be 5 hours and I hope you all went to the toilet before leaving as there are no toilets facilities on board. But we do have pee bags, but as you see if you want to go there is no privacy.
There is no food service on Board but we do have a lunch pack for all of you. Well thats expedition life.
Over the next five hours we flew over the wilds of Canada, beautiful remote and rugged. On route we passed two mines, a gold and a diamond mine and I was made aware of the fact that to get to them Canada's first ice roads were formed and was how ice road truckers series started filming trucks going to these mines. The remoteness of where they were situated blew my mind away.
Well, it was five hours flying as they said and no toilet and I held my pee all the way from YellowKnife and by the time we landed I was bursting and nearly had to wet my pants. God was I relieved when we got to our destination. I though once I started I'd never stop!
We said farewell to our pilots and headed for our hotel for a nights sleep. Conditions in Resolute were calm after a four day blow out with no planes landing and yes it was reasonably cold. - 30 degree Celsius. We look forward to what a new day will bring. Packing, checking and rechecking, some training and finding out the schedule for our next departure to our starting point.
We are now on a countdown to go. We were scheduled to start standby for the final flight to Ward Hunt on Sunday, not sure just yet if the delays will continue but now that we are in Resolute we will update Niall back at base as soon as we can.
Camp name – Niall Foley
Position: S80.04.999, W080.33.044
Weather: sun and a 20kt wind
Distance to Pole: 1107km
The most incredible flight took us from Chile to Patriot Hills on Antarctica a distance of 3,000km. From the ‘bomb’ sighting windows on the underbelly of the plane, the Antarctic peninsula looked like we were flying on a different planet. Our Russian pilots were very professional and put us down safely on the 3km blue ice runway in conditions most would consider unsafe.
We sorted our gear yet again, then made camp. During the night we had some of the worst katabatic winds Patriot Hills has ever seen. Gusts of over 60knts destroyed Joel’s tent, a member of the South African team (ours have performed brilliantly). The winds continued through all of the day and so all flights to our start point, Hercules Inlet were postponed. This gave us a day to sleep, relaxation, practice our camp craft and mingle with the other teams. Temperature here is about -15c don’t want to think what the windchill is.
Woke up this morning to blue sky, moderate winds, Mike Sharp said our flight to the start point would be at 11:00am, we were the 1st expedition to the inlet. The flight in the small ski equipped Twin Otter was exhilarating and after 5 attempts at landing we were safely down. The snow is very wind blown here and so the amazing Canadian pilots would just barely touch down and if the snow was too rough, they would throttle up and find somewhere else to land. A quick goodbye and the plane was gone and suddenly we had started our long walk to the pole, we had arrived at Hercules Inlet on the edge of the continent, 1100km to go.
We think it should take us 3 days to ski the 50km back to Patriot Hills, but we will take it easy, we need to get used to the skiing, sleds, the cold, and the food. It has only been 2 months since we got off the Greenland icecap.
The 4 sleds, the James Caird, The Dudley Docker, Stancomb Wills and Jack have performed well, especially across the dry and crystaline snow that we have had today. Now we are tucked up in our tents, fed and watered, recouperating for the long day ahead tomorrow.