Uphill Struggle

Day 10: S82° 16' 21", W051° 02' 18" Altitude: 439m Daily distance: 13.4MI Distance to go: 921MI

I’m currently parked on the Ford Ice Piedmont, just under 12km from the bottom of the Wujek Ridge, the steep climb that will take me up through the Forrestal Range, the Pensacola Mountains and then up again to the Antarctic Plateau, which averages around 2,500m above sea level. I climbed 260 vertical metres today, so the uphill section has started. The weather was fantastic again, the only downside being the sneaking feeling that I’m on borrowed time, and that the wind and the blizzard are counting down for their return.

I’ll ski the 12km to the Wujek Ridge tomorrow and camp early so I can rest for the afternoon – and repack my sledge and make a few running repairs – before starting the climb with fresh legs the next day.

The mountains of the Dufek Massif have slowly come into focus over the past two days and now (despite the impression my terrible selfie gives) appear quiet close. They’re stunning too, and there’s always something particularly precious about a view like this that’s been earned, in my case with each laboured slow turn of the focus ring. They also – it struck me today – must have looked pretty much like this since before the dawn of humanity. I’ve seen nothing man-made and nothing living for ten days now, and as I slide my skis further away from civilisation, there’s something about the scale and the imperious majesty of this place that puts humanity into a unique perspective.

“Is Brexit still happening?” I jabbered at Pip on the satellite phone this evening. “I’m not telling you any news”, she said. “And besides, do you honestly miss it?” I decided I didn’t.

Ben Saunders (@polarben)



Enjoy following your progress. I know it’s early but what would be your average fuel usage be per day? If I can remember correctly you melted snow for 4 litres per day? Thanks for taking time to respond.


Kevin Wright


Hi Ben, that’s good another good day and something to see and get a bearing on. Pip is right the normal news is just the same as ever but your news each day really means something to us guys who are following you. Interesting about the sledge/pulk repairs. Do you actually carry any spare parts for them or any other parts of your kit to ensure it all keeps you going.? Off to sleep now and hope the weather keeps good for you. Godspeed Kev.


Konrad Bartelski


Good reading your daily updates. Glad that the weather is holding. Just got news that my trip is cancelled this time around. The refurbished boat didn’t get the authorities nod. Needs more work, so maybe in 12 months…so must get down there 👇
Enjoy the space


Paul (previously of Downe Arms)


Ben, when you started todays blog & say ‘parked’ – you didn’t pack one of those Landrover things in with your gear did you? Its obviously not the case or you would be there by now! Good luck with the challenge, we’re following with great interest. Best regards Paul & Jane




Hi Ben,

Really wonderful to follow your journey. Out of curiosity, how do you charge your satellite phone? Do you carry extra batteries?

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