Daniel D'Hotman Blog 2

Today was the third day of the Last Degree as we begin our journey from 89 degrees South to the Pole. Our team of 7 has been gradually increasing mileage; we travelled 8.8 miles today (7.5 nautical miles) with temperatures around -20. A warm day in Antarctica!

The most difficult aspect of this journey from a physical standpoint is the altitude. Whilst the Polar plateau is around 3000m above sea level, a gravitational vortex at the Pole means the altitude can feel more like 4500m. What does this mean for us? Less oxygen, which in turn makes everything more difficult. To be precise, it equates to around 50-75% of the oxygen we experience at sea level. I was fortunate enough to train for this at altitude centres in Melbourne and Vancouver. But in Antarctica, the altitude is combined with temperatures reaching -40 and bitter winds of 30 knots, all together making for a gruelling day.

As we walk over the great white plane of the Poler plateau, I find myself reflecting on the inherent difficulties associated with Polar travel. Whether it be getting dressed, going to the bathroom, or even getting a drink of water, Antarctica makes everything a mighty challenge. What Barney, Kyle and Martin have gone through in travelling more than 50 days and 500 miles across this desolate landscape is truly remarkable. I'm looking forward to meeting up with my close friend Barney soon, and celebrating with him as he completes an historic feat - the first expedition to the South Pole using only renewable energy.

This expedition has also prompted me to reflect on a number of aspects of leadership, particularly from our guides. We have two guides: Devon, a rugged Canadian, and Johanna, a Norwegian who holds the record for the fastest solo trip to the South Pole (700 miles in 38 days!). Every day Devon and Johanna balance the different skills and desires of our group against overall progress to the expedition goal of reaching the Pole, which means they have to know when to push us harder and when to take a break. This is a fascinating dynamic that plays out in the harshest environment on earth, where making the wrong decision can lead to exhaustion, injury, and potential evacuation by helicopter.

Finally, we must remember that this mission does not end when we reach the South Pole. All of us have a role to play in translating Barney and the SPEC team's bravery into tangible change through the upcoming ClimateForce campaign. If you would like to help clean up 326 million tonnes of carbon, please visit 2041.com for real solutions that can be implemented in your life.

All the best and talk soon.

Daniel D'Hotman

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