(Antarctica 17th December 2014): With the Antarctica2 tractor expedition now on the home-straight, back from the South Pole, the relative comforts of Novo Runway on the coast are tantalisingly close for the team.
But this is Antarctica and anything can happen. The situation can change dramatically within a few minutes. From clear blue skies, bad weather can swoop in very quickly and surface conditions can vary enormously.
In the latest message from the ice, the team reported that they were at Camp 24 (South 77 degrees) and had been travelling through endless fields of sastrugi ice-waves. The MF 5610 tractor had clocked up another marathon 24-hour hour drive of 311 km and was “still out there.”
That leaves just 850 km to go but this is, without doubt, a case of so near, yet so far. Now at an elevation of 3134 metres (10,284 ft), ahead of the team are even higher altitudes and then the traverse over the tricky crevasse fields. Unpredictable weather conditions also bring the potential for communications blackouts.
The expedition has now been battling across the ice for 25 days and the extreme conditions have taken their toll on crew and machines. As this last great push in the Antarctica2 adventure plays out, everyone who has been following the team’s epic voyage is willing them to get home safely.