Day 8: Test Your Limits team covers six nautical miles en route to South Pole

Coordinates: S 89 degrees 10.250 by W 83 degrees 27.755. Temperature: -20, no wind.

It was an incredibly warm night even though it was about -25 or -30 degrees Celsius outside. Because of the radiance and thermal energy from the sun, it got so hot in the tent I was sleeping on top of my sleeping bag in my skivvies.

We woke up to a gorgeous day; a traditional blue bird day. You could see forever. When you look out on the incredible expanse, you recognize that you really are just stuffed in this immense polar cap.

Looking at it, I said to Keith, “why did you choose this career?”, and his answer was, “because it was easy.” I think he was using his usual sarcasm.

Started out with tea with the boys and then we got on with the day.

On the trail. It’s very easy to see that when you look out on the never-ending stretch of polar cap, it really plays with your head. By the time you’ve done pi to the power of seven and calculated that number, you realize you still have still got six hours of skiing and pulling left to do.

Keith, who is a bear of a man, is pulling a sled that probably weighs about 70 kilos. The rest of us are pulling sleds that are about 45 kilos.

the team sets up camp after a long trek along the polar ice cap.Each sled contains your own kit and also the team gear you require. For example, I’m carrying, for my tent with Keith, food and our cooking system. Keith is carrying the tent system, the stove and the fuel. That’s just an example of how you set it up.

The way the day is structured is you walk in pushes and take breaks. Each push lasts about an hour to an hour and 15 minutes and traditionally would cover between 1.2 to 1.5 nautical miles.

The sense when you look out on the horizon is that you’re perpetually going uphill. That in itself is a little bit disheartening. Nonetheless, we did well today, covering just over 6 nautical miles and are now at south 89.10.250 miles.

Everyone’s cooking dinner in their own tents tonight. We’re having food from a bag – it’s all been dehydrated. I’m having chicken with rice and Keith is having sweet and sour pork with rice. Basically, we keep the food really light and then you add two cups of water and let it sit.

Everyone’s doing well – oxygen saturations all the way around are fine. The team was tired today. It was a longer pull than we did yesterday and people still are trying to get acclimatized, but overall, a really impressive performance by everybody.

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.

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About Dr. Ross

One of Toronto’s top cardiologists is heading to the South Pole, and Yahoo Canada News is following every step of the voyage.


Dr. Heather Ross, Director of the Heart Failure Program at the Peter Munk Cardiac Centre and the Medical Director of the Cardiac Transplant Program, is venturing to the pole to raise awareness for heart failure research, cardiac transplantation and heart health.


Follow along starting Jan. 1 as Dr. Ross blogs her journey to the bottom of the Earth.


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Got a question for Dr. Heather Ross while she's on her South Pole journey? Send her a question by clicking above or emailing AskDrRoss@yahoo.ca and she'll reply in a future blog post!