New Route via Reedy Glacier to South Pole

Jan 08

Cool stuff

Published at 06:14
Dispatch created from email
Necks craning we advanced south with the knowledge that at some point today we'd see evidence of the station. It came, firstly by way of flags marking the ice road from McMurdo to Pole, and later, the station, but not as we expected. Just after lunch, 32km shy of the pole, we saw a rectangular shape that matches what I know to be the main building of the base. But 32km is beyond the Earth's curvature, even for a five storey building. What we saw on this still and sunny day was a mirage, a temporary refraction of the station on a temperature inversion layer of cold air. Such a phenomenon is seen regularly in cold polar environments in fact South Pole winter personnel have reported seeing the sun a day or two before it actually emerges above the horizon.

We also saw a cloud shaped like a 6 above Pole that resembled an AOK gesture with a hand. Some would construe it as a sign, something of spiritual significance. But if one place existed that has no connection with the intangible, it's Antarctica. There's no spirit here, no dogma, no deity, no openings to inner Earth. Just pure nature and science at work, elements of it so unreal that some would say it has a sanctimonious presence about it. But nothing could be further from the truth. In my 25 years of polar exploration this understanding has only but compounded.

We have converged with the ice road and are camped next to it (with no sight of the station despite being 10km closer than when we saw the mirage). Tomorrow we continue on virgin snow to a designated waypoint where we camp a final night before following a prescribed route through the station environs to the South Pole.


Pic of frosty Rob and our camp next to the road with one of the flag markers.

  • Name: Camp 32
  • Elevation: 2867 m
  • Latitude: 89° 4828South
  • Longitude: 131° 3724West


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