"It so, so very surreal," team n2i meets Lenin at the POI! Marines arrive Patriot Hills

Posted: Jan 22, 2007 04:26 pm EST

(ThePoles.com) He is standing on a chimney of the old Soviet hut about 2 meters above the snow line - he is a shoulder bust of Lenin larger than life size. It is made of some plastic composite - he is totally frost free as if he was put there yesterday. It so, so very surreal. Team n2i has reached the South Pole of Inaccessibility proving with live images that there really is a statue of Lenin there.

British Marines also completed their goal, by arriving in Patriot Hills on Sunday. Solo skier John Wilton-Davies crossed 500 nm (about 588 statute miles) and has 97 left.

Pole of Inaccessibility

Team n2i: Hello Lenin they made it!

We reached the POI - the centre Antarctica - at 17.30 gmt on the 19th Jan, reported team n2i. We had been awake for 36 hours and had kited for 25 of those hours to gain 249 km and reach our destination. These hours put the rest of the trips efforts to shame.

With 20km to go our pains seemed to vanish - all that remained was the biting cold and an hours kiting. At 6km we spotted a dot on the horizon. Were our eyes deceiving us through a combination of exhaustion and so wanting something to be there? As we edged closer to the 'dot', it began to form into a noticeable pillar, an outline.....a bust! With the realization that against all the odds Lenin was in fact still around to greet us we all burst into uncontrollable shouts and laughter.

He is standing on a chimney of the old Soviet hut about 2 meters above the snow line - he is a shoulder bust of Lenin larger than life size. It is made of some plastic composite - he is totally frost free as if he was put there yesterday. It so, so very surreal.

Four average guys and a ghost companion

It is hard to believe we not only travelled to the centre of a continent which easily envelops Australia but with the vast majority of our 1100mile adventure being in temps averaging below -20 degrees Celsius and at an altitude over 3000m. We are not superheroes nor any different from the average person (well maybe a touch stubborn). We merely had the inclination and the right set of circumstances which enabled us to set out on our journey

On a different note: About the extraordinary potential of the human body and mind. Rory had moments of thinking there was a 5th member in our group. This experience he also felt whilst in a similar state of complete exhaustion in the final hours prior to completing the Scott Dunn Polar Challenge. Paul commented that Shackleton also reported that at times he also felt as if there was an extra member of his party.

Also, we would never be standing where we are today if it were not for our guide and now friend Paul Landry.

A long way out

After some rest, the team dug around the statue searching (unsuccessfully) for a a 'golden book' supposedly left there by the Soviets for all to sign when they get here. Next goal is to get out.

We need to find a suitable runway over 1mile long for the plane to land. On the way out we need to spend a night in Vostok, then fly through another two Russian bases before boarding an ice breaker for the 10day journey through the worlds roughest seas. It will be 16 days or so before we really can say our adventure is over when we come ashore into the welcoming arms of Cape Town.

Unsupported South Pole

(Solo, unsupported) John Wilton-Davies: It can still be done

As soon as I got going, the wind died down and the sun came out, soon making it the warmest day for weeks, reported John, still going for the South Pole. I crossed 88 degrees 20 minutes, marking 500 nm (about 588 statute miles) since my journey began and, by the end of the day I have 97 nm to go. I also came across two sets of tracks which, I believe, were made about a week ago by a group attempting to walk the last two degrees. For some reason these tracks gave me a mental boost - possibly a link to civilization - and I made good speed to my camp.

I believe that the surface soon becomes much smoother and, if the weather holds, I can hope to put in some big days. Meanwhile the planes at Patriot Hills are grounded because of bad weather at the Thiels mountains re-fuelling depot. It all makes for an interesting finish!

Supported teams

(Partial return trip) Polar Quest/UK Marines: Mission accomplished!

Polar Quests Marines team arrived back at Patriot Hills on Jan 21 after 71 days of skiing to the SP and kiting back. It was a moving occasion, a real sense of achievement at completing our journey, stated leader captain Sean Chapple. The return trip has been far more demanding than anticipated, due to winds this January being particularly erratic, bodies run down from the haul into the Pole and minor injuries. However, through exceptional teamwork we have achieved our objective and I hope shared with you our trials and tribulations along the way.

Links to Antarctic teams' websites:

Polar Quest' live dispatches

John Wilton-Davies

Correne Erasmus-Coetzer

Beth Cheesebrough

Ray & Jenny Jardine's blog

Team n2i

Polar Explorers (partial trips) teams' expedition tracker

Abramov's 7Summits-club Vinson team

Don Pettit's live "Space Chronicles on Ice"

ANSMET research team's dispatches

Polar First - Jennifer and Colin's helicopter SP flight

Antarctica weather







"At 6km we spotted a dot on the horizon," reported team n2i from the POI. "As we edged closer to the 'dot', it began to form into a noticeable pillar, an outline.....a bust! With the realization that against all the odds Lenin was in fact still around to greet us we all burst into uncontrollable shouts and laughter. Live image over Contact 4.0 of the Lenin statue and the team's automated Contact 4.0 GEO map, courtesy of team n2i (click to enlarge).
"We are not superheroes nor any different from the average person (well maybe a touch stubborn). We merely had the inclination and the right set of circumstances which enabled us to set out on our journey Live image over Contact 4.0 of team n2i at the South Pole of Inaccessibility, courtesy of Polar Quest (click to enlarge).
It was a moving occasion, a real sense of achievement at completing our journey, stated leader captain Sean Chapple from Patriot Hills. Live image over Contact 4.0 of the team at arrival after 71 days on the ice, courtesy of Polar Quest (click to enlarge).