Expedition Questions

Now that the expedition is over, there are still many questions to be

At Union Glacier
At Union Glacier

answered. Sorry I was not able to get to them during the trek!

Questions from Roy and Debbie Takeda on the expedition

Would you consider doing it again? If so, how much additional corporate sponsorship?

That’s something I’ve debated for the past month and the answer is still no. There are plenty of things I’m chasing after, like the Expedition Grand Slam and being a person who has done the full distance rather than a last degree trip or just flying to the pole. For me, just flying to a pole, checking your GPS and flying home isn’t too much of an expedition, though it can be an adventure.

Also, I am considering the North Pole as a solo, too. Though I’d rather do this as a team based on the increased risks in the Arctic, I’ve not come to a good conclusion yet. Yes, I will pursue mutually beneficial relationships with corporate sponsors for my future expeditions.

Since you will complete your expedition soon, would it be easier to obtain corporate sponsorship for a second expedition to the south pole?

Ready for flight to Ronne Ice Shelf
Ready for flight to Ronne Ice Shelf

Yes, I’ve been told it’s much easier to work with sponsors once you have completed a major expedition on your own, such as a pole or an 8,000m peak.

What would you change in your physical preparation for the expedition?

I will definitely purchase a pair of skate skis on sale. That is one thing I think will help me next time. Towing the tire was still the best but adding the skis to it will enhance the reality of the workout. Also, I’ll go all out on leg weight lifting workout. I did some but in retrospect, not as much as I could.
But first I need to get completely healed from my Antarctic trip.

What would you change in the equipment/clothing you purchase or take?

I’ll have an avalanche rated shovel and it’ll have to be modified for the north pole. There are other items unique to there, like firearms, that are unnecessary elsewhere due to the wildlife.

What changes would make in your diet?

Endless bags of food
Endless bags of food

The amount of chocolate will be dramatically reduced & replacedI still don’t like eating it.

Would you do it at a different time of the year? Maybe a little earlier or later in the summer season down there?

No, there is no choice but to trek during the time of year I did. Both earlier and later are not possible at the poles due to the weather and transportation restrictions.

If you don’t do this expedition again, would you consider a different expedition in the future to some other location?

Yes, I’m evaluating expeditions to the arctic and Denali.

If you don’t do this expedition again, what advice would you give to someone that would like to follow in your foot steps and attempt the solo unassisted expedition to the south pole?

Desk of stuff at Condor del Plata
Desk of stuff at Condor del Plata

You have to travel six sessions of 75 minutes with 10-15 minute breaks. When going through sastrugi, you have to plow directly through it, not around it. Don’t bother putting skis on Paris sleds, they’re a hindrance unless you’re doing a last degree ski. And, most importantly – pray for good conditions. All of us this year were thrashed by crazy conditions.

Which time zone did you start your expedition in, i.e. pacific time zone, mountain time zone, or do any of the time zones as we know of them have any bearing down there?

I started in Santiago, Chile time. The only bearing for a time zone there is for calling into ALE and the home base. As the sun is up 24 hours a day, the only desirable time requirement is to have the sun at your back, limiting your time zone choices.

Will you cross both international date lines during your expedition?

When I was at the South Pole, I walked around the pole enough times to relive my 38th birthday plus a few spare days.  So I crossed the international dateline many, many times.  As I got closer to the pole, my longitude began varying wildly, as only the slightest movement east or west would alter multiple degrees of latitude.  It was the weirdest thing every, as I’m used to North America where things are relatively consistent.

Update – This was my third attempt to answer all of these questions!  The first got me half-way through, then I had the entire blog database go down, then my iPhone wordpress app ate all my answers.  What a production.

Nervous?

Looking back 2 days before shipping to Antarctica

From my expedition manager,

“I know. It’s getting crunch time. You must have a lot going on. Are you nervous?”

My reply,

“More like thinking about 100 things to do, not do, what to do, will the food be enough, better to carry more & go slow than starve & go fast? Wish I had a better tent stuff sack now that I see the loading. Terrible fatigue from no sleep from my mind spinning. I’m looking forward to Antarctica so I can get a physical fatigue nite of sleep. Haha!”

Batteries & satellite phones

Today is pressing question, among other things, is how many batteries to take. The batteries that were purchased by my supporters and sponsors have already been installed and distributed. However, I need back up. Lots of it.

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I can either take the charger and six nickel metal hydride (Ni-MH) batteries or I can take an equivalent extra 24 lithium batteries.

The one big concern is of course if the lithiums all die, I’ve got nothing left. That wouldn’t be good. But, the Ni-MH batteries do not perform that well at low temperatures. Also with the sun so low on the horizon, I can’t get a lot of power out of my solar cells to run heavy charging.

So, it is always a little delicate dance. I don’t want to run out of equipment and gear and power, but I don’t want to carry pounds and pounds of stuff I can’t use otherwise.

Also, I will be testing my satellite phones today to make sure they all integrated in. The Sim cards are active and everything seems to be working, it’s just figuring out how to get all the dialing done correctly. That way I can make sure to contact my supporters and sponsors from the South Pole.

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Sled bag

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I have bolted the straps from one of my sponsors, snowsled.com, to my Paris sleds. These straps prevent the entire bag from sliding out of the sled in case I tip it over or in the worst case, the sled falls through crevasse.

If my sled were to fall through crevasse and take all my gear with it, I would be in major trouble.

So, with a few straps bolted to the sled, this thing would be dangling in space. Hopefully it wouldn’t take me with it, though. But, since I have two sleds, that is hopefully less likely.

Idaho Falls Shopping

Road tripped yesterday to Idaho Falls to do some gearing up. Jackson has some resources, but a town of 8,000 people just won’t have everything to prepare an expedition.

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Anything can be ordered online with enough time. However, certain things have to be sized, inspected and handled in person.

Time has begun to run short. I must ship everything out of Salt Lake on October 1. Five weeks isn’t a lot of time to finish things up!

Week 2

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve arrived in Jackson and I’m beginning to get the feel of things. The thing I’m feeling tonite is a scraped shin from a bungled attempt to evacuate a mosquito onslaught.

Picking up a barbecue pork sandwich from Bubba’s, the locals’ place, I thought it a good idea to head over to the local ski mountain and enjoy the transition from dusk to night while chowing down. The simple plan unfolded nicely, as the potato salad perfectly complemented the generous mass of shredded pork, all while enjoying looking at Snow King.

My southern California training then literally bit me, half way through the meal.

Having a pile of meat in the open at dusk near the forest was a virtual invitation to an awaiting mosquito squadron. Within moments, I was assaulted.

With a sigh, I mushed the food back into its styrofoam container, then jumped back into the truck. In my haste, I hopped in too aggressively. This translated into crushing my shin against a cutout in the dashboard, thus grinding an inch off my lower leg.

It’s amazing what a few bugs will drive you to do when you’re from a place with none. The distraction is incredible and the resultant pain is a reminder I’m not in Kansas any more.

An educational end to Friday the 13th?