SPEC Blog

  Our arrival at the South Pole The day was an absolute crazy one from the start and ended with such a great celebration. We started in the morning at our normal time: 7 AM wake up, 7:30 breakfast, 9:00 tent down, and then 9:30 set off on our journey with temperatures around......

  Today, on 15 January 2018, Robert and Barney Swan reached the South Pole. For Barney the journey took 56 days, 600nm and as much courage as he could muster. At just 23 years old, this was an epic journey for a young man with......

  Today was a great day to lead. The weather was cold but sunny with lots of shadows and bright spots to help keep us moving straight. We did four pulls, six nautical miles. I had the good fortune of being the lead for the......

  A great day today covering over 10 miles in 6 ‘pulls’. We had the steepest inclines that we’ve had to deal with so far but everyone did really well although there was a bit more huffing and puffing and the breaks were much appreciated. ......

  Congratulation Robert Swan O.B.E. On Saturday January 11 1986 at 14.03pm Robert Swan, Roger Mear and Gareth Woods, arrived at the South Geographic Pole. They had skied for 70 days and a total of 872.99nm. No one had heard anything from them since the......

  We moved slower this morning. Taking in these last few days of the Expedition. It is so wonderful to be with Robert Swan on this day. 32 years ago he was standing at the Geographic South Pole after their 70 day ski journey from......

  January 10, 2018 SPEC and Last Degree Teams Unite! Today we rendezvoused with the SPEC Team – what a blast to see Rob and Barney reunited!  It was a great father-son reunion.  I am in awe of how quickly the SPEC Team can get......

  From Keith Sauls Failed Coups and Successful Takeovers; We awoke to a full scale rebellion by three of four stoves refusing to boil water. Ultimately the stoves list, and tents went down for a (near) on time departure. A more friendly takeover was wildly......

  We started our day on January 8 with an 8:00 am breakfast of bacon and eggs…fuel for our five and a half sled pulls that covered 8.88 nm. We started our trek with cloudy skies, no wind, and fairly mild temperatures.  In fact, Rob said it......

  We had a good day today 12.2nm. We are getting closer to the South Pole and to the Last Degree Team, who we should meet up with in the next couple of days. My feet are still giving me trouble and I hope the......

  Here we are on Day #6 of our Last Degree Expedition with Robert Swan. We had a leisurely start to the day. Breakfast at 8:30: eggs and bacon… awesome. Who would believe breakfast was more than a granola bar at this latitude? Once we packed......

  Today we got buzzed by the Basler BT-67 aircraft as it flew overhead to drop the Last Degree Team at 89° S. This conversion from the older DC3 model to an updated system, is actually a remanufacturing process. The whole process takes roughly 6 months......

  Today is Day 3 of The SPEC Last Degree Expedition. We are comprised of folks from across the globe – eager to join Barney, Kyle, and Martin – for the last 60 nautical miles (starting at the 89th parallel) as they end their historic......

  We skied 10nm today in very sticky conditions. When the snow is sticky due to the lower temperatures it makes skiing more difficult as it feel as though your skis are picking up all the snow on the bottom of them. It is a......

  Today a flight left Punta Arenas, Chile bound for Union Glacier, Antarctica. Aboard the flight are 6 intrepid explorers who will join Robert and the SPEC Team to ski the Last Degree with them to the Geographic South Pole.  Tonight I would like to introduce you......

Well, as you might imagine, we are getting fairly tired of our standard rations. But tonight for Hogmanay (New Year’s Eve for all those that don’t have Scottish descendants!). It’s been another long day but tonight we’re looking forward to enjoying a small dram of......

  A rough one today with the sastrugi getting the better of us. The mileage is dropping but the effort is full on. It takes all our energy to get through these days. The journey is all uphill and we were walking into a head......

  We are gaining altitude with each passing day. However it is not a straight up hill. We are crawling are way across giant waves in the glacier. It is always daunting to see a big rise growing on the horizon, knowing that we have......

  Tonight I thought we would take a moment to remind ourselves WHY…the SPEC Team are skiing across Antarctica. It’s the highest, driest, coldest and windiest place on earth…east of the sun, west of the moon and south of everything else. Our mission is that......

  Many of the schools following us have asked for some Antarctic Trivia….here we go There are mountains under the ice – In 1958, scientists made a startling discovery under the ice in Antarctica: mountains! The Gamburstev Mountains were discovered when scientists trekking across ice two......

  Whilst technology, communication, and content creation are key parts of this journey, it feels like this expedition is becoming more of a mind/body challenge. Whilst technology, communication, and content creation are key parts of this journey, it feels like this expedition is becoming more......

Not much update today. We are re packed, well fed, well rested and ready for the journey ahead. Lots of long discussions today about logistics, distance and the time we have remaining. We must increase our the number of nautical miles we travel each day,......

  As you know, we have reached The Mountains and taken the opportunity to rest and recover. This way point represents close to halfway. The team was far more tired than we thought after the past non-stop 25 days. There is nothing here but a......

  Today may have been the first “down day” that we have had since starting the SPEC Expedition. The intention was to edit, categorize and upload all images and videos of the trek so far. Technology was not on our side and neither were the atmospherics. We......

We have reached Thiel Mountains late this evening. We are half way to the South Pole. It is a great feeling, to know that we have reached this milestone. We travelled 8.8 nm today with some additional stops to test and record some of the......

We are nearing Thiel Mountains and can see them far in the distance on our right side. Today we skied 10.3nm. An epic day for all of us but for Dad in particular. He really dug deep into his being to make this distance and......

10:47 miles felt like a long way today. High winds and lenticular clouds came out of nowhere in the early afternoon. Blasting straight down our jackets and into our faces. Making snippets of conversation between skiing and snack breaks livens up the mood. Kyle and Martin......

Today we floated yet again through this crazy landscape of ice and sky which now seems so familiar. We’ve all become snow and ice experts and have learned to read which textures glide well and where you are likely to break through the surface stopping......

We have been marching daily for almost three weeks straight. Aside from a two hour sleep in and a couple of extra hours a few afternoons ago- it has been nonstop. Celebrating Martin’s birthday yesterday marked a day to remember! Aside from that and a......

The sun was out today for Martin’s birthday. He is such an incredible human being. He is originally from North Wales, in the UK but moved with his family to Colorado. He leaves a little 3 month old son Elliot at home, to come here......

We took a shorter day today… thought we might deserve a little later start and sometime to talk as a group, repair equipment, refine some of the technology and discuss the next week or so of travel. It was wonderful….. Yesterday was the first night......

With no wind today, this icy continent appeared almost friendly. The Team were jolly, making jokes and acting as though Christmas had come early. The snow conditions are still rough though with patches of high sastrugi slowing us down and yes….that sled still hitting me......

Today started off well with little wind…though it started picking up before our first break. By the time we reached lunch it was back to 35 knots on the nose. Our speed drops and we covered only 9.6nm today. I think back to my Footsteps......

Kyle Here…….Today you get to hear a little from me. What an experience to be on this expedition. I have been fortunate enough to travel the world as a videographer and settled with my wife in Norway. However, Antarctica has a magnetic quality that pulls......

These past three days have challenged all of us. At its worst 40 knot gusts blew straight into our faces. Ice coating everything our breath comes in contact with. Having bare skin exposed even for a few minutes brings numbing and pain. Layers Layer Layers…......

Today we had a later start… this was incredible. Today the skies were blue again, but Mother Nature continues to test us. The wind was blowing at about 15 knots but the gusts were measured as high as 45knts. With temperatures already at minus 20°C,......

I am sure we are skiing backwards! Today the sun was out but the wind blew at 35 knots with gusts up to 45 knots. In 9 hours we covered 8nm. It was slow but the biggest problem was the sastrugi (wavelike ridges on the surface of......

Truly knackered after a long day of wind. Coldest day 100%. Serious climb over glacier buckle, provided some solid hold ups with the sleds.  Powder and snow mix made for hard skiing. Everyone is well fed and ready for an early night. Disconnect to reconnect......

Another overcast day with walloping winds, knocking over the sleds and us, as we try to force our way forward.  The sastrugi is higher now and without contrast you can fall over or trip before you have time to notice. We were tired when we......

I have come to realize that I don’t miss all the “noise” from the outside world. I am slower than the others, which is not a bad thing, if I am 30 minutes behind the others, then then camp is set up and the hot......

Has it only been one week? This morning we woke to white out conditions. Navigating was a challenge but the horizon still had some blue that showed the way south. Without that blue, up, down, sideways all looked the same. It has been a challenge......

We woke this morning with a storm brewing to the south. When I open the tent flap to look outside the Western Mountaineering sleeping bag beckons me …stay, but we need to keep the pace up if we want to reach the South Pole. Also,......

We are I think finding our daily routine in our sled bound world. Pitching the tent, cooking, and managing our precious 15 minute breaks between marches are all becoming a little more structured. The wind today was a reminder of what awaits us as we......

I hope all of our friends and partners in the USA had a fun Thanksgiving yesterday and were able to spend quality time with their families and friends. I did the same… spending the day with Barney, though the evening meal was not quite as......

The sun was visible a few times today to remind us that the Mather Nature is in control. No wind but still the thick, soft snow that slows the sled and makes pulling so much harder on the body was our path south. We covered......

Day 2 on this long Antarctica journey and we are slowly….very slowly settling into our daily routine. We covered 6km today and it was tough. The weather Gods were not as favorable as yesterday and we awoke to overcast skies and temperatures warming up to......

Today was something special. We loaded our sleds and marched onto the glacier for the first time, as a team. It was a gripping reality to feel the weight on our bodies, the harness digging into our skin. Being next to Kyle, Martin, and Papa......

The past two days have been a full attack. From finalizing our food into 60 separate bundles, packing our sleds, and testing as much tech as possible, time seems to be slipping past very quickly. Twenty-four hour daylight definitely helps to confuse the linear perspective......

We embrace the last moments of darkness before the sun erupts from the “land of fire” to the East.   Our dear friend Alejo, bids us farewell between street dogs, and blooming lupins. Others from around the world, share excitement as we embark onto the......

Bringing together the technology to launch the first polar expedition to survive off renewable energy has been a monumental task. After testing the tech in December 2016 at Union Glacier, Antarctica- the equipment has been modified and readied for the mammoth 600-mile journey ahead.  ......

Getting ready to ski 60 days to the South Pole has been a compounded journey over the past few years. Whilst managing the logistics, outreach, and sponsorship surrounding the venture has taken up most of the team’s time- training mind and body has been just......