Day Three: 33 miles travelled, 682 miles remaining

Today I passed Three Sails, an evenly spaced row of three nunataks mostly submerged in snow. The range lies 2 nautical miles (3.7 km) southwest of Haven Mountain at the northwest edge of the Britannia Range and marked the point where I was due to make a slight left to aim for the South Pole. As I trudged onwards, there was a change underfoot and it felt as if I’d skied into a huge sand pit of snow. The sled came grinding to a halt.

The current conditions have been making it tough going, with the layer of snow thicker than usual. Antarctica is technically a desert – the coldest, driest and windiest continent on the planet – so it actually sees far less snow than perhaps you would expect. But this year, there was a fresh covering that I had to contend with. Every three or four steps my sled got lodged and began sinking and I’d have to use full force to free it, expending precious energy. Sometimes it even just hung there freely, balanced on the snow… because why not!

A demoralising day if I’m honest, progress was slow and there was nothing I could do about it. I also accidentally took a pee on my compass and could only watch as it instantly froze. That is the kind of mistake you only make once in a lifetime.

I’m dreading another day of it tomorrow and hope for better conditions as I move through the degrees to reach the South Pole. Tomorrow might have to be the first time I listen to some music! I’d been saving it as treat once I reached Three Sails and then forgot to listen to anything. I’m still going uphill but hopefully it’ll only be another day before it levels out a little.

Behind me, somewhere in the clouds, are the back of the Ellsworth Mountains, with Mount Vinson rising above the other peaks. No matter the outcome, I don’t want to forget any of this.

Antarctica the most beautiful and peaceful place I’ve ever visited. Today, I saw a tiny parting in the clouds for the first time in days. I kept willing the sun to come out, for a change from the monotony of grey skies. It took a few hours, but I was spoiled with sunshine for a couple of minutes at a time. It felt positive though, and the sun highlighted the icy patches in the snow which helped. I allowed myself a few moments pause during the day just to take in the sunshine. Despite starting off in whiteout conditions, things were looking up. The constant wind, however, kept me grounded.

As I write this, I’m lying in my sleeping bag after the most incredible dinner of Fettucine Alfredo by Backpackers Pantry (possibly even more delicious than their Pad Thai). I’m suddenly wondering what all the fuss was about today… a bit of warm food and the ills of the day are forgotten.

However, I have been really worried at my progress if these conditions remain. The weather is usually a lot more stable this late in the season, yet it is doing funny things. Even more snowfall is forecast for the next few days and the staff tents at Union Glacier have been blowing away.

On another note, I could do with a hand naming my sled! if any of you have any suggestions feel free to comment on my social channels or at the bottom of this blog. She’s a hard-worker but a bit sarcastic, if that helps!

To help Jenny raise funds for Children in Need, click here or text ‘SPJD99 £3’ to 70070 to contribute £3.

Comment below for the chance to have Jenny answer your questions during her solo expedition to the South Pole.

9 replies on “Three Sails – 17th December 2018”

  1. Eagle Wing (a Native American name)… your sled is your wingman and you are spreading your eagle wings in the unknown!!! Eagles are strong in all conditions, they are beautiful, wise, and have sharp eye! Keep going my friend!!! Believe in you

  2. Hi Jenny!

    I love that you want to name your sled!
    Giving her a name will help you get through the tough times together.

    It’s been humbling to hear the real deal on the Antartica trail. It’s sounds like hard work. Real hard work. And your honesty is empowering.

    Thank you so much for being brave and sharing your story. I’m going to tuck my daughter in bed tonight in Boston, MA – and read her your blog.

    Be safe. ✨
    #teamwork #SheSled #WonderWoman✨ #cheering4u ✨

  3. I think you should name her Vicky after my head of HR (or chopper Parfitt as she’s otherwise known) – definately hard working but sarcasism is her middle name! Good luck with your trip – absolutely fascinating to follow (thanks to Elizabeth Wordsworth for passing on the details).

  4. Hi Jenny, had a family conference on the sled name. I was outvoted on Sheldon from Big Bang Theory, finally settled on The Seamonster, which was the early stage name of the wonderfully sarcastic comedian Jo Brand. Keep on keepin’ on, Neil

  5. Oh wow. What a day. Keep going. Stay smart.

    Possible sled name: Pasha. She’s my 12 year old niece. We play The Long Dark together, a wintertime survival game. She is always scared of the ice and cold water in the game. She could also be pretty reluctant to take any risks in the game despite me trying to tell her about the balance of risk and reward. Then when we were camping recently in real life, she jumped in a cold river to save her dog. She’s ok but was a bit cold for a while before we got her into warm dry clothes. The dog is ok too.

  6. G’day Mate!

    You’re doing great, love your work!
    Re your sled name, discard the finest British democratic tradition (which would have you end up with Sleddy McSledface or some such) and go with something that reflects useful things you like but sometimes hurt.. like Champagne.. or Champ for short 🙂

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