Simon Murray & Pen Hadow

DAY 58, Wednesday 28th January

After 58 days Simon Murray and Pen Hadow have finally reached the pole safely. They are the last expedition on the field. They returned by Twin Otter the same day.
Read more, communiqué n° 14

DAY 53, Friday 23rd January
Mission Basecamp report / Distance travelled on 23rd 14.4 statute miles / Total distance travelled to date: 602.4 statute miles / Distance to the Pole: 77.7 statute miles
Pen and Simon have started to notice a number of strange phenomena during their trekking sessions. Sometimes the air becomes heavy with water vapour, which in these cold conditions freezes almost instantaneously, creating millions of tiny ice crystals in the surrounding atmosphere. In Pen's own words, "they look like an endless shower of diamonds". Perhaps the most impressive sight of all, however, has been the atmospheric optical phenomenon known as a parhelion. Parhelia occur when the sun and its refracted rays are viewed through a thin cloud of ice crystals. The effect is similar to that of a rainbow. Today's parhelion took the form of two rings (one inner ring, one outer) surrounding the sun, like two separate bands of light.
Read more, communiqué n° 13

DAY 49, Monday 19th January
Day 47 (Saturday January 17th) mission base camp report
Pen and Simon spent today dragging their sledges up to 8,240 feet. The terrain over the last 24 hours has become less extreme than in previous days, but the me still found themselves facing large areas of troublesome sastrugi. After 14 days of constant uphill grind, Pen and Simon have decided that tomorrow will be a rest day. Some people might question their motives for doing this when they are so close to the pole, but there are a number of factors that have contributed to their decision.
Read more, communiqué n° 12

DAY 43, Tuesday 13th January
Mission Basecamp report
Distance travelled on 13th: 14.84 statute miles / Total distance travelled to date: 475.8 statute miles / Distance to the Pole: 204.31 statute miles
Pen and Simon’s route is now peppered with four foot high walls of sastrugi which need to be climbed over in order to make further progress towards the Pole. Furthermore, the snow surface in between each wall has the consistency of treacle.
Read more, communiqué n° 11

DAY 42, Mondau 12th January
At the moment Pen and Simon are experiencing serious problems with one of their sledges. Several weeks ago a runner came off Simon’s sled and despite their best efforts, the men have been unable to fix it since.
Today’s snow conditions were exceptionally slushy, which created an incredible amount of drag on Simon’s sledge. To combat this problem, Simon and Pen swapped sleds. However, even Pen could not comfortably pull Simon’s damaged sledge, whilst Simon struggled with Pen’s, on account of the extra weight in it. As an alternative solution, they tried linking the two sledges together and dragging them in tandem...
Read more, communiqué n° 10

DAY 35, Wednesday 5th January
The walking today was much easier than in recent weeks, on account of the better snow conditions underfoot. The higher altitudes, compared with the proximity to the pole, have resulted in much cooler temperatures, which now drop as low as -20 degrees Celsius during the day. This, combined with a biting wind, has ensured that the snow is now firm enough to walk over without continually sinking in.
Read more, communiqué n° 9

DAY 31, Friday January 2nd
The last two days have seen Pen and Simon knee deep in snow, as they continually break through the thin crust of ice covering the ground and sink into the soft snow underneath. This makes walking an extremely slow and laborious process and the pair of them are physically and mentally exhausted by the end of each day. There are two saving graces to this situation, however.
Firstly, the terrain has temporarily flattened out. Pen and Simon are now no longer trekking constantly uphill and instead find themselves walking along a reasonably flat plateau, running through a high, ice-encrusted valley.
Read more, communiqué n° 8

DAY 25, Monday December 26th
Their position : 83°27'S / 78°05' W

Over 200 miles travelled to date
Position reached on December 24:
83 degrees, 12 minutes and 57 seconds South 78 degrees, 00 minutes and 10 minutes West / Distance travelled on 24th 14.77 statute miles / Total distance travelled 212.02 statute miles / Distance to the Pole 468.10 miles
As you can see, on Christmas Eve our intrepid explorers travelled nearly 15 miles and have now successfully completed 200 miles on ice.
Simon and Pen say an enormous THANK YOU for all of the kind seasonal messages of goodwill and support that warm their hearts. Feel free to post them a message on the 'Talk to Team' section of this website.

DAY 21, Monday December 22nd
Their position : 82°44'S / 77°28' W
All OK
/ Yesterday, they move during the night

DAY 19, Saturday December 20th
Their position : 82°34'S / 77°25' W
All OK

Day 16 - December 17th
Today proved to be another good day for Pen and Simon, although they are aware that there are potentially tough times ahead of them. The weather has been unusually kind to them for about a week now and they are conscious that this could change at any minute. At the South Pole, 535 miles away, researchers based there are currently experiencing temperatures of –35 degrees Celsius and winds of 35 mph.
Their positions on December 17 eve : 82°13'S / 77°11'W
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Day 15 - December 16 2003
Distance sledged today = 13.5 miles / Distance remaining to pole = 548.5 miles.
Today proved to be a very tough day for Pen and Simon. They covered almost 13½ miles and ascended a further 300 feet over the space of 9 hours. In order to achieve such results, however, they had to push themselves mentally and physically.
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Decembre 13th - Day 12 / Jennifer and Simon Murray meet in Antarctica
Love in a very cold climate as polar couple reunite. World record-breaking helicopter pilot Jennifer Murray (63) has just paid a flying visit to her intrepid husband, Simon Murray (also 63) who is trekking to the South Geographic Pole with veteran polar explorer Pen Hadow (41).
Since the early days of planning for the Polar First challenge, Jennifer has said that she wanted to be at the South Pole on the December 17 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first powered flight.
Jennifer and her co-pilot Colin Bodhill started their pole-to-pole flight in October and on Tuesday December 9, Jennifer became the first pilot of a single-engine helicopter to cross the treacherous Drake Passage that spans the open water between the southern most tip of South America (Ushuaia, Argentina) and north Antarctica.
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Decembre 9 & 10th - Days 8 & 9 / Distance sledged (statute miles) = 10.7. Distance remaining to pole (statute miles) = 613.31. Days 8 and 9 have seen a distinct change in the weather. Clear blue skies, bright sunshine and very mild winds have meant that trekking during the day has suddenly become more enjoyable.
The latest obstacle is the thick snow, which has remained soft and clinging on account of the warmer temperatures. This in turn creates extra drag on the sledge, making it much more difficult to pull.
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Decembre 8th - Day 7 / Distance sledged today (statute miles) = 9.7. Distance remaining to pole (statute miles) = 632.3. Today Pen and Simon started out full of hope. The sun was shining brightly, there was little if any wind and the terrain ahead seemed to be moderately flat.
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Decembre 7th - Day 6 / 9 miles covered today skying 7 hours and 20 minutes. Distance remaining to pole (statute miles) = 642. Today the weather took a turn for the better. It was a good, sunny day with unlimited visibility, which made the trekking that much more enjoyable. There was a modest southerly wind, but nothing so nearly as ferocious as the winds of the last few days.
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First Press Communiqués / November 30th / Men begin an Antarctic trip of a lifetime
At noon today GMT (November 30), experienced explorer Pen Hadow (41) and the British businessman Simon Murray (63) arrived at Patriot Hills at 80ºS in Antarctica. Last night the men left Punta Arenas in Southern Chile in a massive Russian Ilyushin 76-TB jet for the four and a half hour flight to the small ‘blue ice’ runway in North Antarctica.
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