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Ice adventure - skiing the last degree

May 03, 2013

Adventurer and Cranleigh director Andrew Bayly’s passion for Antarctica led to a month long expedition climbing several peaks and skiing the last degree to the South Pole.

After several month’s training that included pulling a tyre behind him on a harness up and down the country roads where he lives, Andrew set off for Punta Arenas in Chile, the first stop on his adventure.

“The frozen wastes of Antarctica are only accessible two months a year for climbing and skiing the last degree to the South Pole. When stepping off the plane at Union Glacier we were visually assaulted by the colours,” says Andrew.

Climbing 16,00ft Vinson Massif, the biggest summit in Antarctica, was the first mission.

After getting to the third base camps, Andrew was only 200 metres from the top when he had to pull out because of a back injury. Not to be beaten he recovered and climbed three other peaks; one unclimbed peak, that will be named Mt Frost after it is ratified by the Geographic Society.

Another ride in a much smaller plane dropped Andrew and a new group of adventurers at the start of their 60 mile (111km) walk, known as the last degree, on skis towing a sled with their equipment to the South Pole.

“At the destination there was nothing but desolation and silence.”

The team found it difficult navigating in the endless white wastes. “We had to take frequent grid references with GPs devices and hope we were walking in the right direction.”

On the polar plateau, Andrew says the best day was cloudless, windless and –25 degrees.

“Walking was a grind and every step is a drag because of the cold and altitude. Physically I used 5,500 calories every day, while only eating 4,500 calories.”

After reaching the South Pole we are now wondering what Andrew’s next adventure may be!

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