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Summit Team Building

Flying to Antarctica

ilyusin_blue_ice_runway_union_glacierThis will be my last blog posted from Punta Arenas. The next updates will likely be much shorter as I will be sending them via my inReach satellite device.

After our meeting with the flight provider last night we were told to be by the phone at our hotel between 8:00 and 8:30 am this morning to receive a call updating us on our departure time.

All our bags are packed and my long underwear are on.

The call has just come and we will be picked up from our hotel at 9:45am to be transported to the airport. We would still get turned around at any time and sent back, but they have been doing this for a while now and there are a lot of costs involved in turning around so they want to be pretty sure before they give the go ahead.

 

Bonus Blog: The Question of Why

South Pole Expedition
South Pole Expedition

I wrote this yesterday after a discussion with my team. We have all had similar experienced with people not really understanding what we are doing and why. Paul was asked if there was a golf course where he was going and if there would be a pool. When told more details about what we are doing, people just seem to stare for a moment and then say “I think my friend did that the other week”. There seems to be little comprehension as to what is really involved in this trip and how unique it is.

Why???

This is a question that is always asked about a trip like this. Everyone will have a different answer and the answer must be, in my opinion, that you are doing it for yourself. There is little praise and accolades for a South Pole trip because most people do not really understand what it is we are doing and the South Pole is not really of much interest to society and the media.

When I tell people I am skiing to the South Pole most people think of the Antarctica Cruise or a penguin viewing trip. They think, “ya whatever, not a big deal”. In reality, it is a pretty big deal and something few people have every accomplished. More than 10 times the people have climbed Everest compared to those that have skied to the South Pole. When you then look at the style we are doing it, unassisted and unsupported this cuts the number by more than half (about 123 people in history).

It is hard to comprehend just how difficult what we are doing is. Basically, we are skiing a half-marathon (or more) every day for 45-50 days while pulling a 200lb + sled, up hill, into the wind, in -35 temperatures. It is a little intimidating just thinking about it.

So back to the question of why. Once you truly understand the suffering that will be required to accomplish this trip, the question of why becomes even more in baffling.

I can only speak for myself, but I think my answer would resonate with many people who live a similar lifestyle. It is not about ego because nobody cares, it is not about money and fame, because once again nobody cares. For me I do it for the love of extreme personal challenge in the wild places on our planet. Although ego is not really involved, I would say there is a big connection to self-actualization, and self-esteem. I believe I am a better person for doing things like this.

For me the question is not why, but why not!

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