Day 10: The Antarctic bares her teeth

Dr. Heather Ross
The team celebrates after a long day of skiing. Dr. Heather Ross and her team are on day 10 of their journey to the South Pole.

We did 8.5 miles today. We are currently at south 89.26.818, west 82.311.165. Temperature: -30C, but feels like -40C or -50C with windchill.

Certainly we had a much bigger flavour today than what we’ve been seeing over the last few days. It’s about -30 degrees Celsius today and with the wind chill, it’s in the –40 to -50 range. The wind was coming initially from the south and then from the southwest. Really changed the whole feeling of the day.

Because of the cold and because of the wind, we opted to only do four pushes and three stops, meaning each push was longer and the stops were shorter

This takes me to one of the single most important things that happens when you’re on a trip like this, and that is systems.


It is critically important to know where everything is in your sled and that you are highly efficient to reduce your energy output.

Layers are critical in terms of dressing so that you can open, vent feet and close up, and keep body heat in.

On a day like today, which was very, very cold, I had four layers on the bottom and four layers on the top. I had a balaclava as well as a cold avengers face mask, a buff, and I had three sets of mitts. With this, I was able to keep myself warm and prevent chapping from the wind, which I started to feel on my legs and therefore at one of the breaks I actually added a fourth layer.

Certainly now you have a much better idea of what Roald Amundsen and Robert Falcon Scott went through in their incredible race to be the first to the South Pole in 1911/1912.

Amundsen, as everyone knows, was the first to achieve the South Pole and was able to get his crew out safely in its entirety. Robert Falcon Scott also achieved the pole but unfortunately his entire team perished on the return journey.

It’s not hard to imagine how difficult it would be at that time period.

Right now, we have the most advanced gear available. We have high-tech satellite systems for safety, we have GPS. Totally different in 1911/1912.

They would have navigated with a sextant. They also would have looked at the position of the sun. It’s remarkable that they ever actually achieved the pole.

We know they did because the tent that Amundsen erected at the pole is still there, although it’s currently under many metres of snow.

Truly heroic, epic adventurers and my hat goes off to them in light of the challenges that we face today.

Everyone continues to do well and we look forward to talking tomorrow.

A big shout out to Rhonda and Dr. T – great news you got transplanted!


Thank you to the followers of the blog and Facebook page for your questions. Here were some we received today, followed by Dr. Ross’ answers.

How is Diego’s skiing technique coming along?

Olympic caliber!

How do you monitor your breathing with the low altitude?

We have an oximeter, which tells us our oxygen levels and heart rate.

How much further to go?

Approximately 34 nautical miles away

How many more days at this pace?

Four days, pending the weather.

Dr. Heather Ross is travelling to the South Pole to raise awareness for heart disease.

Follow her Journey to the Bottom of the Earth exclusively on Yahoo! Canada.