Day Two: 22 miles travelled, 682 miles remaining

I knew there would be whiteouts during my expedition. Whiteouts are when the wind whips up the snow, causing blizzards that erase the horizon and create a wall of blurred snow that effectively reduces visibility to zero. I’d mentally prepared for them, knew I’d experience them, but the reality of a whiteout was still a shock to experience.

Whiteouts are tough, mentally and physically, and today was non-stop whiteout conditions. I could barely see the skis in front of me as I continued to creep slowly uphill, meaning the only way I knew I was heading in the right direction was by following the compass mounted on my chest. During a whiteout it’s essential your eyes do not leave the compass, as the slightest deviation from the route could have dire consequences. This 100% commitment to my compass was especially important today as I was threading my way through crevasse fields, knowing that I was surrounded by deadly fissures in the ice, and that one wrong step could spell an immediate end to the expedition.

As well as being mentally and physically draining, whiteouts are disorientating. If you look up at the swirling absence of colour, you start to feel nauseous. So, I kept my head down, eyes fixed on the compass and keeping the needle firmly pointed in the right direction. Soon, a dull ache in the back of my neck complemented the chill of the winds.

But, I kept going, managing to grow another impressive icicle beard. I dared not think what the temperature was, but it was cold enough to cause deep pain even if I only took my gloves off for a few seconds.

The high winds continued into the afternoon, but when I finally thought to check the time it was already 4.30pm. Time flies and all that…

Once I’d finished for the day, it was utter bliss putting up the tent in lower winds. Earlier in the morning, the winds must have been close to 25 knots, buffeting the fabric of the tent and threatening to carry it off into the whiteness. That would have been a disaster, but with winds at around 5 knots it was much easier to get the tent set up for the night.

Thankfully, the weather is due to improve in the next two days. I’m a little frustrated that I couldn’t cover more distance today, but the change in weather should mean I can get some serious miles under my belt in the next 48 hours.

Today, a big thanks has to go to Atkins – despite being unable to see anything all day, at least I was able to eat my favourite bars! They kept me going throughout the worst parts of the day.

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.

5 replies on “Whiteouts – 16th December 2018”

  1. Jenny , la “”France””” supporte tes efforts. Je t encourage vivement . Je te suis avec attention après avoir connu cette experience en solo plus cool de 1350kms. courage . à très vite . XIAN de VINS1

  2. Dr. Girod and family are cheering and praying for you from San Antonio Jenny!! Stay strong ma’am. Keep fighting.

  3. Well done Jenny, that sounds like it’s got to be one of the toughest days. As we say in Scotland, just got to keep the heid! We’re all thinking of you and look forward to your updates

  4. Hi Jenny,

    We are all following at STEM Learning and I know the schools are enjoying seeing how you are progressing. Everyone is spurring you on and all the pupil’s can’t believe you are spending your Christmas there…some have asked will Santa know where to drop off your presents? We look forward to hearing about your adventures first hand when you return. Keep motoring and Merry Christmas!

    All the best,

    Adam and all the Polar Explorer Team

  5. Wow, grit and determination in abundance!
    Head down and eyes on the prize, or in your case the compass, Keep going! Hopefully have a few more questions lined up after the school assembly tomorrow!!
    Good luck from all at St John’s Polar Explorer Club!

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