31 December - Happy New Year From The Ice.
S88.3328 W 081.2294
Camp: Con Moriarty
We are now within 188km of the South Pole and have hit 2 milestones in the last 2 days.
Yesterday, we crossed 88 degrees and today we have come below 200km to the Pole.
Tomorrow is also a special day as we move beyond 98 n/miles to the pole and it was within striking distance of the Pole, Shackleton turned.
For me this has been a dream of mine for years to go beyond Shackletons furthest south. Tomorrow we honour our hero and we will be naming our 'home' Camp Shackleton.
The last 2 days have been hard going with sastrugi and soft snow conditions. Shaun has some trouble with his feet and is suffering badly at the moment.
The temperature has been very cold – 27 and -25 degrees c.
Oh how I would love to be at home in the Mountain Lodge and sitting by a roaring fire or having a few pints in Kate Karneys Cottage, my local. My thoughts of sleeping in a bed, having a hot shower, seeing my friends and family, now fill my thoughts as we make our final run into the pole.
Tomorrow we will, hopefully, be within 8 days of our target. Still a long way to go and we are so aware that so many things can go wrong yet.
So for now I must get some rest. We are under severe pressure with time in the evening once we reach camp, but I will try and keep you posted on the web of the final days of our experience. Must get some sleep.
Happy new year from Camp Con Moriarty. From all the team.
Camp Con Moriarty; we have been friends now for over 20 years and I have always been blown away by Con’s passion for mountains, history and nature. It is while climbing with Con that I developed my passion for adventure. He introduced me to a way of live that has taken me to every part of the world. The highest, coldest, most remote regions of our planet. To my friend and mentor, thank you Con.
Camp Shackleton, our hero.
Shackleton was 97 miles from the pole. He turned, we continue to fulfill a dream.
New years day was no different then any other, except that today we would be as far as Shackleton got, to within 97 miles of the pole from the east of Antarctica, we would be the same distance from the pole from the west.
Now that we have passed this point, I’m feeling more confident that we will reach the Pole. There were lots of times on this expeditiin that I had my doubts if we would get there.
We had terrible weather, serious injuries and soft snow that has made our journey harder. However there was a verse my mother gave me many years ago that I have written in the tent just above my head that kept me focus on the objectives of the expedition and it reads.
When time are tough as they sometimes will and the road you trudging seems all up hill…. Rest if you must, but don’t you quit….
Success is failure turned inside out..it may seem far but be so near. So stick to the fight when your hardest hit. Because it’s when times go tough, that you must not quit.
So, this verse kept me focused on the objectives we have and now we are within 160 km of the pole. Tomorrow we will have skied over a 1000km from the coast.
So success seems now to be within reach, cross fingers, no more bad weather or serious injuries.
Happy new year to all…. Clare, Shaun, Jon and myself…,, As the Shackleton moto goes…. ‘By endurance we conquer’....
On January 9th 1909, after enduring endless days of dehydration, hunger and near hypothermia on the glacier Shackleton and his team of Frank Wild, John Boyd Adams and Eric Marshall established a new ‘furthest south’. (Shackleton would name it the Beardmore Glacier in honour of the Scottish industrialist who had helped finance the Nimrod expedition.)
Standing at only 97 miles from the South Pole the latitude was 88 degrees and 23 minutes- the team had extended Scott’s record by 6 whole degrees of latitude. Most importantly the team had essentially proven that the South Pole lay up on the ice cap that had been discovered by Albert Armitage - Shackleton’s old friend from the discovery days - six years earlier.
More info available on our history page at www.beyondendurance.ie
Day 43 - December 24th
Position: S87.2227, W084.0260
Weather: good visibility, blue skies and 10 kn wind
Distance; 18km stopped early, Christmas eve. We will do the same tomorrow.
We are all missing home, especially at this time of year. We want to wish all our families a happy Christmas, with love and best wishes from the most remote place on earth. Clare, Shaun, Jon and Pat.
Really had a bad/low morale day…
Position: S86.7014, W085.5313
Temperature: -15cto -18c
Weather: sunshine and visibility.
Distance; 20.2km 7hrs skiing
Today I was in pain all day, I’d ski for a minute or two and then have to go down on my knees to relieve the pain as it was so bad. It would register 7 out of 10 0n the pain scale. I should rest up for a few days, but that now, is not possible. We have to push forward.
Including our catch of food we will have 19 daily food packs left to get to the pole. We estimate that it will take us, at the rate we're going, 18 including 1 days rest. So no room for storm days or rest for my back.
I’m not use to being weakened due to injury and up to then felt stronger then I have been on any of my 62 expeditions.
I called a team meeting today to see how everyone was feeling about the extra work load on them and to put all the options on the table for us reaching the pole.
Our plans and logistics so far have changed many times and it is this flexibility that will ensure our success.
We all agreed that we would push through to 88 degrees without rest and this means we ski Christmas Day. We were hoping to have a special dinner prepared by Shaun and Jon. But this will now have to wait another few days until we reach within 2 degrees of the pole.
Lets get away from negative thoughts and tell you about today. I feel so privileged to be here, it truly is a fascinating place. I’m just blown away by everything about being in our environment and the landscape. Its raw beauty, tranquility and of being able to be here on an expedition that has been done by less people then have been to space.
I’m tired and in pain so this is it for tonight. I hope tomorrow is better.
Day 41 - 22nd December
Day 42 - 23rd December
Camp; Tagney family, Black valley.
Position: S87.0658, W084.5356
Temperature: -19c to -23c
Weather: good snow condition, blue skies.
Distance; 20.2km 7 hrs
327km to go 810km complete.
Much better form today and had an enjoyable day navigating and was delighted that we were only 9 meters off course at the end of the day.
All my weight has been distributed to Clare, Shaun and Jon. I am very lucky that we are well down on weight as we get closer to the pole. As well as being very proud at how the team has rallied together.
Clare has taken the tent, shovel, 1 personal bag and some of my food. Adding an extra 20kg to her sled.
Jon has taken 1 personal bag weighing 12kgs and another weighing 3kg adding an extra 15kg to his sled.
Shaun has taken stoves and fuel = 8kg as well as 1 personal bag 5 kg. Total = 13kg
As well as that they take turns pulling my sled attached to there’s which now weighs 20kg. All of this is helping me recover, as well as the medical treatment from Clare with heavy doses of medication.
Hopefully by tomorrow I should be able to start pulling my sled again if the pain easies. I will try in the afternoon to put some weight on my back to see how I react to it. If it is ok, I will ramp up to full weight in my sled by the time we reach our rest day.
Cross fingers, I don’t do further damage and that its not to soon to put pressure on my back. Clare, Shaun and Jon have offered to carry all my load until the rest day, if the weight reacts on my back.
The cold today was severe -23c.
camp; Tagney family.
I am very honoured that I have been accepted as one of their own. In one of the most beautiful places in the world. Thank you for all the good times over the years. Happy Christmas from the ice!
Day 40 21/12/07
Camp; Mike Barry.
Position: S86.7014, W085.5313
Temperature: -15cto -18c
Weather: sunshine and visibility.
Distance; 20.2km 7hrs skiing
It’s all about teamwork…..
We have now all had our good days and bad days so far on Antarctica. The one advantage of having a hand picked team is loyalty to each other, the goal as well as having a very strong team. Today once again the team spirit shone through.
My darkest day was yesterday when I hurt my back while filming, and for a small period I thought that was it for me. The team rallied to my distressed state of despair.
Today to give my back a chance to recover, Clare, Jon and Shaun distributed all of my gear between them and made me ski free of all weight to give my strained back a chance to recover. Even though I felt guilty, it was either rest it for a few days or move. We are now limited on time due to food supply and have lost a few days due to slow progress because of bad weather. We still have 1 or 2 spare days for rest or injuries and will reserve them till needed. We will push on to near 88 degrees south before our next rest day.
While Clare, Jon and Shaun carried my gear today, I navigated all day as part of my duties for being relieved of weight. We had good visibility and snow conditions. I was in agony for the first 5 hours, but as the day went by the pain eased. Tomorrow we will adapt the same procedure and hope the pain goes before I carry weight.
Today, it was like traveling on a moonscape landscape. It is the first time in Antarctica since we started our journey 40 days ago that we got a chance to appreciate the beauty off this harsh barren icy desert. Up to now we have been dogged with storms, katabatic wins, blizzards, whiteouts and no contrast days and soft snow. Lets hope this is the beginning of some good weather for a change. We could really do with some sunshine in our life.
Our target for the next few days until my back gets better is to cover a minimum of 20km at worst. We should de doing between 24-26km a day, but for now we’d be happy with 20km.
Just getting home sick, thinking of what everyone at home are getting up to for Christmas. More about that in the next few days.
Camp; I’d like to dedicate this camp site to my fellow adventurer Mike Barry, Mags and family.
Mike completed his journey to the pole from the edge of the continent in 2004 on the 20th January. The first Irish man to reach the South Pole.
Day 38 19th December
A miserable white out…
Position: S86.4957, W085.8810.
Temperature: average – 13c
Weather: Started clear, within 2 hours we had white out.
391 km to go.
We just can’t get away from this bad weather system. It seems like, it is just following us on our route. The snow condition improved overnight and our morning began well. Sun, no wind and all the signs that we would travel a good distance. However within two hours the weather changed. The weather system came in again from the North East, bringing cloud cover and snow.
We just pushed hard through the miserable conditions, we were lucky that the snow had firmed up, which eased the pressure of pulling the sled. By end of our day we returned a reasonable distance for our effort, 25.9km. We are worried, as no one can tell us how this weather system that we are in will go.
The weather here in Antarctica so far for us is like Irish weather, we can have all seasons in one day. Well this isn’t a holiday, its an expedition. So far the weather has not been kind to us, so we just have to except what is been thrown at us and get on with the task of getting to the Pole.
We will hope tomorrow brings an improvement.
The good news is that we have hit another milestone. We are now in the 300’s and have 391km’s to go. Lots of hard work to do yet and lots of problems to solve in the next few weeks. The team are in good spirits but loosing weight fast. As we say in Ireland, it’s not over until the fat lady sings.
Good night as we dream about good weather.
To the Pole…
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.
“Explorers wanted: ordinary men and women wanted for an extraordinary adventure”. 700 intrigued Irish men and women responded to this advertisement in the press. BEYOND ENDURANCE is a four-part series that follows this group of wannabe explorers as they attempt to make it through the selection trials and go to the harsh Antarctic terrain of South Georgia in their attempt to follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.
In 1916, Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica to reach the South Pole. His expedition fell foul of the treacherous conditions of the Weddell Sea and the journey turned into an epic battle for survival in one of the harshest environments in the world. 90 years on, in the anniversary year, renowned adventurer Pat Falvey plans to take a group of enthusiastic but vastly inexperienced explorers on a trip to Antarctica to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. BEYOND ENDURANCE will provide the ultimate in reality TV as it takes a cast of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. This series will offer viewers an accessible but surprising television experience as they witness the transformation of ordinary people from couch potatoes to hardened travelers, pushing themselves to limits they never thought possible.
The commitment is a leap into the unknown. For a start, anyone wanting to take part has to hand over €15,000. They also have to take part on a number of trials which take place in Co. Kerry, and Norway. Using an observational approach, the series will see them struggle with both the elements and their own physical limitations to learn the outdoor skills necessary to survive in the Antarctic.
A number of unlikely candidates step forward. Mary Casey, a 56 year old mother of four, from the Innishowen Peninsula of Donegal. They say a women of my age should know better, I say that it’s because I’m a woman my age I know better, do it better, and relish the challenge!
Cliff Reid from Athy, Co Kildare, a student with serious fundraising needs. “I come from Shackleton’s home town, and felt we should have a representative. No one came forward so I gave up the fags and the drink, and decided to see if I could make a go of it myself…”
Retired fireman Jerry Aherne, from Cork. Sporting a handlebar moustache and a copy of ‘Unsung Hero’, the book about the life of explorer Tom Crean, he leapt at the chance to emulate his heroes. “I want to know what these men endured, and I want to find out if I am up to the physical and mental challenge. “
Expedition leader Pat Falvey started out life in the construction industry, eventually swapping his concrete mixer for a set of crampons. He has summated Everest twice and completed over 50 successful expeditions across the world. Falvey has put his house on the line to guarantee the huge costs associated with this madcap scheme. He has made commitments. A ship capable of withstanding the most inhospitable seas has been chartered and now Falvey must run a successful expedition to cover his costs. He needs to recoup over half a million Euro, or he goes bust.
The training for and expedition to South Georgia, which the series follows, is only part of the overall Beyond Endurance Expedition. Pat and the rest of the team are to complete the expedition's final objective by skiing to the South Pole and beyond. They leave Ireland on the 1st of November and will spend at least 60 days on the Ice.
This will be the ultimate reality TV show that sends people quite literally to the end of the earth…
The series was filmed in High Definition using Sony cameras by Steve O'Reilly and Niall Foley and is produced by Karen Rodgers of PANACHE TELEVISION for RTE. Four half-hour documentaries will be shown weekly on RTE 1 at 7pm, beginning on 23rd October.
photo: Shaun, Clare, Johnathon and Pat. Johnathon was on a different team while in Greenland.
Following a phone call at 16:45pm Irish time, 13:45pm Greenland time, Pat Falvey, Clare O'Leary and Shaun Menzies have just come off the edge of the Greenland ice cap on to their first solid ground in 31 days.
Pat was very excited and there was lots of banter and laughing going on in the background as they meet with the first people in weeks which were there to collect them and drive them to Kangelussak about 10 miles away where i imagine a big meal, long shower or bath and about 5 or more pints are on the cards.
The trio have gained massive experience and preparation for their South Pole attempt in Nov/Dec.
They had a very testing time especially as they approached the end. With such a short distance to the freedom of finally taking off their skiis ahead, they battled through the maze of melt water and persisted where I'm sure others have packed it in.