November 02, 2011 – Triple Olympic gold medalist, Norway’s Vegard Ulvang, along with Jan-Gunnar Winther, Stein P. Aasheim and Harald Dag Jølle have finally sought out on the journey to the South Pole and skied the few first kilometers of their trek.
Due to have snowfall on the Union Glacier the expedition got delayed. The expedition had to stay at Punta Arenas, Chile longer than expected and got little bit inpatient. “Everything remains uncertain, but now they are talking about Monday as the next possible opportunity. Our patience is starting to wear very thin, even though we were fully cognizant of the risk that it might turn out like this,” they write on the website. Finally the expedition left Punta Arenas on October 28 and at 15:45 landed at Union Glacier. “The weather here is fantastic: –28°C and almost no wind at all,” the first words are on the expedition diary. “We are all thoroughly pleased to have snow under our feet and are keeping our fingers crossed for a speedy onward journey to the Bay of Whales.”
Bay of Whales
Two days later, on Sunday October 30 the expedition got the green light for the final move to Antarctica, to the Bay of Whales. Travel time – 7-8 hours.
Wikipedia depicts the Bay of Whales as a natural ice harbor, or iceport, indenting the front of Ross Ice Shelf just north of Roosevelt Island. It is the southernmost point of open ocean not only of the Ross Sea, but worldwide. The Ross Sea does extend much further south, but that area is covered by the Ross Ice Shelf.
“At long last we have arrived at the Bay of Whales. We flew for six hours with one stop to refuel, covering a distance roughly the length of Norway,” the expedition diary says. Vegard Ulvang, Jan-Gunnar Winther, Stein P. Aasheim and Harald Dag Jølle have made it to Antarctica and 1311 km skiing trip lied ahead of them.
Finally on the road
The quartet finally set out for the journey today, on November 1 in the morning. “We set out at 9 a.m. with the sun in the back and the wind in our faces. Finally, we’ve moved towards our target. Our routine is an hour’s walk. Short pause. And then the same thing over and over again,” the expedition diary says.
First day in Antarctica is over. The expedition made in five sessions 20 km. “A short day, but it is important to go in on such a trip. The body will get used to the load. Step by step, literally. So far, no pain anywhere,” the expedition says.
Follow the expedition daily!
You have the unique opportunity to follow the quest to the South Pole every day. Go HERE and then click on “Expedition Diary”. The updates are there every day in Norwegian and English! You can also follow the adventure on facebook HERE.