New Route via Reedy Glacier to South Pole
#10: on the Reedy
Published at 07:21
After almost 21km we are now camped on the lower Reedy Glacier. Wow factor is astronomical when you consider that no one has done this route let alone seen the fine details of nunataks, moraine lines and ice features from so close up. Scientists have been flown in to study the Reedy and we don't know exactly where but only on isolated locations. Big mountains are looming and they'll be flanking us tomorrow.
Challenging day. With a strong wind in our face all day we climbed 160m, reached our first nunataks, cramponed across our first field of blue ice and finally climbed into the tent at almost 8pm.
Why start so far away from the glacier foot? Well, it's a pretty superficial reason. Short version. When the early explorers came in by ship they had no choice but to start from the shore. In the 80's a couple of expeditions did likewise, wintering over before heading to the pole, and beyond. With the introduction of air access to Antarctica some adventurers flew to coastal locations such as Berkner Island, Ross Island or Queen Maud Land to emulate the early explorers but with very high costs, and long distances. British explorers Ran Fiennes and Mike Stroud were to my knowledge the first to use the geographical or contiguous coastline as an end point after an Antarctic traverse instead of continuing across an ice shelf to its seaward coast, on this occasion finishing at the end of the Beardmore Glacier where it reaches the Ross Ice Shelf. This sparked a new era of shorter expeditions starting from a coastline in effect undetectable, buried under as much as 200 metres of ice.
Our expedition started from a coastline, buried below the Ross Ice Shelf and adjoining continental ice. A century ago explorers would have skied over 500km to reach this point.
Pic of Keith and Rob heading towards the nunataks and Rob cramponing across blue ice.
- Name: Camp 5
- Elevation: 763 m
- Latitude: 85° 29’ 50” South
- Longitude: 135° 17’ 49” West