November/December 2010

South Pole, Antarctica

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What should team members wear each day?

Getting up each day, expedition members will have their thermal underwear on. On the bottoms they will have fleece pants, and on top, a light mid-weight fleece pullover and a heavier fleece jacket. They may have a down vest over this as well. Then they will put on their shell pants and jacket. They can put down jacket and pants on over this as this makes it easier for them to take off once they start moving. They will have a balaclava and a warm hat on their head. In their pockets they will have a facemask and their fleece gloves. They may be wearing their liner gloves already.

After breakfast they will remove what layers they do not need. It is best to start a little cool and warm up. It is not recommended to start too warm, as they will sweat too soon, and that will make them cold. Thermal regulation is akin to survival and each person will have slightly different requirements when it comes to what layers they need on when they are exercising.

It is not unusual to have cold feet and hands as they start but they will warm up as the team begins to ski. The trick is not to let them get too cold and re-warm them before any injury occurs. If there is a strong wind it is likely the team members will be walking into it. Any exposed skin will become frostbitten so it is vital they cover these areas well at all times. The main area they will be exposed to is their face. They wear a facemask that covers their lower face and goggles to protect the eyes and upper face. They must ensure the mask covers those areas of their cheeks near their goggles. They will work on fitting the mask to their face prior to the trip and they must keep checking each other for gaps. The real problem is that the goggles often fog up when they are wearing a facemask so they must learn how to fit their mask and goggles together to avoid this.

If the wind is strong there will be a high wind chill factor. When the wind is light this is not so much of an issue but as winds increase the potential of cold injury increases. They must therefore adjust their clothing accordingly to ensure their bodies stay at a constant temperature. This may necessitate stopping briefly to add a layer. They must do this before they get really cold as that can exhaust them if they do not manage themselves well. Essentially the rule is to not let themselves get too hot or too cold and check their extremities (hands/feet) as well as face coverage.

Expedition members must bring all items on the enclosed clothing and equipment checklist. The only exceptions on items listed below as optional; this is very important.

Equipment Checklist

Body Wear
- Shell Jacket and Pants
- Down Jacket and Pants
- Down Vest
- Fleece Jacket
- Mid-Weight Fleece Top
- Thermal Top and Pants x2
- Thermal Top, Expedition Weight
- Underwear
- Wind Shirt ( Optional )

Head Wear
- Warm Fleece/Wool Hat
- Beanie/Ski hat
- Balaclava x1 or x2
- Facemask x2
- Neoprene Facemask
- Neck Gaiter
- Sun Glasses (& spares)
- Ski Goggles x2 pairs

Hand Wear
- Liner Gloves x2 pairs
- Fleece Gloves x2 pairs
- Alpine Gloves
- Expedition Mittens

Foot Wear
- Socks x4 sets thick, x4 sets thin
- Vapor Barrier Socks
- Expedition Boots
- Insoles for Boots
- Down Booties

Camping Gear
- Down Sleeping Bag (-40 Degrees C)
- Foam Mattress
- Inflatable Mattress
- Small Pillow
- Ear Plugs and Eye Mask
- Stuff Sacks
- Pee Bottle

- Small Backpack
- Large Duffel Bag (for all expedition kit)
- Small Duffel (For Union Glacier)
- Water Bottle x2
- Insulated Water Bottle Covers
- Small Thermos Flask
- Cup, Bowl & Spoon ( Optional )
- Personal First Aid Kit & Medication plus spare
- Personal Toiletries
- Sun Block & Lip Cream
- Moist Wipes for Personal Hygiene
- Toilet Paper & Hand Sterilizing Gel
- Pocket Knife/Leatherman
- Small Camping Towel
- Chemical Hand & Toe Warmers
- Camera ( Optional )
- Personal Entertainment ( Optional )
- Electrical. Sat phones, iPods, Phones include cigarette lighter chargers

- Copy of Passport, travel agent contact details, insurance policy details
- Casual City Clothes (for travel)
- Exercise Gear ( Optional )

For a list of suppliers with various options and specifications, click here to download a PDF file.

  Santiago, December 14, 2010

Flying from Santiago to Paris - Haytham

We made it, we’re done, we’re out

I want to apologise to those of you who have been following the despatches for my perpetual complaining in many of my previous despatches. The truth of the matter is that I have just concluded the greatest experience of my life, and yet it was the very things that I complained about, the hardship and adversity that made it so. I feel so much more fulfilled and accomplished because of those very aspects of the trip.

Memory is a very funny yet kind creature, whenever we look back on experiences we always remember the good and tend to forget the bad...

Read more..

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