A joint celebration in Patriot Hills

Published 22.01 in category South Pole 2008

Both groups are now back in Patriot Hills! Yesterday I followed Svante, Andrew, Rudi, Helen and Adrian part of their very final stretch, in to the South Pole. When we arrived, in between the aeroplanes that were landing, taking of the summer to fly in as much fuel and equipment as possible to this base, we were suddenly in the midst of many people. It was a huge transition for the five remaining in Svante’s group.

They received a well-deserved coffee and cakes in the cantina at the South Pole Base, and then a guided tour of some of the scientific research projects. One of them is the IceCube Neutrino Project led by my good friend Svein Lidström, where they drill 2500 metres down into the ice, depositing sensor that become embedded there. What they’re searching for is some sort of traces after neutrinos, remnants of The Big Bang. This research is very much at the trial stage, so the researches are not entirely sure what they are looking for. The scientists gave an exciting introduction to how they drill so deeply and how they work.

We spent a night at the South Pole. This afternoon the aeroplane picked us up at three o’clock local time. When we landed in Patriot Hills, a huge celebration dinner, complete with Champagne, awaited us. It was great for the two groups to meet again, after being separated for almost a week. There was victory in the air, as you can tell by the photo – and there was great food and good wine. We celebrated into the wee hours of the night. Both groups have had success, making to the South Pole despite challenges. It’s impressive that they overcame all the difficulties and managed so well.

Now everyone is safe here in Patriot Hills, and we send greeting to John and everyone who has followed us. All that remains is to wait for the aeroplane that is due to arrive tomorrow, to fly us back to Punta Arenas. Nothing can ever be taken for granted, but is at the mercy of the Antarctic weather and winds. We’ll give you an update on how that goes tomorrow.

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