We got a fresh update today from ThePoles.com on how things are going in Antarctica. To make a long story short, they’re not going all that well actually. Heavy snows, and high winds, have made for whiteout conditions, making travel nearly impossible for some teams, who have elected to stay in their tents and wait out the storm. Conditions were expected to get worse today, and possibly last through the weekend.
The Irish Beyond Endurance team has reached the Thiels Mountains and the resupply depot there. They awoke to high winds and a quick check outside their tent showed that visibility was essentially zero. But, no rest for the weary. The plodded on into the storm, figuring that a day in the tent was one more day they would have to make up on their way to the Pole, not to mention a day of food and fuel that didn’t see them any closer to their goal.
Todd, the sole remaining team member from the Subzero Expedition reports similar conditions. He says that he has experienced as much as 18 inches of fresh powder over the past couple of days, and pulling his sled has become a nightmare. Base camp is telling him that the storm is being called the “Blizzard of the Century” and they are advising everyone to stay put over the next two days. Taking that advice to heart, he’s doing just that and staying in his tent.
Most of the other team reports read very similarly. Zero visibility, blowing snow that continues to fall, whiteout conditions and very tough sledding even if you can be out in the weather. It seems that most of the teams are hunkering down for the weekend with a hope that things will improve next week and they continue their journey.
My one thought as I read this article was: “How bad is a ‘storm of the century’ in Antarctica?” Yikes! I don’t even want to think about it.