Dispatches From the South Pole, Entry 2: Packing Up

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on November 21, 2011

The Polar Vision team leaves Chile for Antarctica tomorrow to begin their expedition. In this entry, team member Richard Smith goes over their final preparations.

Preparation is key and to be honest, that’s all we’ve been doing for a long time, preparing for Polar Vision.

Previously, preparation meant meeting with potential sponsors, planning, logistics and marketing the expedition to our networks, sponsors and the media. Now, it’s a lot more practical, today for example we have sliced about 30 pounds of butter, 30 pounds of cheese, and 45 salami sausages to ensure we have some degree of variety in our diet. We’ll have a proper breakfast and a proper dinner each day, but between meals we can’t just keep going on M&M’s alone.

We’re gearing up to fly to Antarctica at some point on Tuesday, this means all our food, clothes and equipment has to be ready, in bags, labeled and waiting by the plane in anticipation. There is so much to still be thinking about at this stage to ensure that we don’t forget the small, but crucial things. Things such as the eye mask to ensure sleep (it’s sunny 24 hours a day there), the phone numbers of the people we have promised to call from Antarctica, or the cable to recharge the camera.

When we get onto the continent it will, strangely, be more relaxing, as there will be little more that we can do by that stage. From there on our hard work will be walking the nearly 600 miles to the South Pole, but the hard work for our superstar team of ‘Support crew’ will just be beginning.

This team of six people will be helping us administer our website, Facebook page, Twitter account, our fundraising, as well as helping us coordinate our phone call schedule with the various schools and charities that we are working with. They’re comprised of family and friends, many of whom we met in our time at business school at Tuck and Haas and we’re really grateful as they all have busy jobs and they are giving their time and expertise to help us out.

Andrew wants me to give a shout out to the folks in the Veterans club at Haas who have been particularly supportive, but we truly are relying pretty heavily on all of them, otherwise no one would be able to follow the story and that is a big part of what Polar Vision is all about.

It’s now 2 am on Sunday and we’ve finished with today’s work, but we have more to do tomorrow. Briefings, kit repair, more bag packing, emails and phone calls, and if our preparation goes according to plan, we may even squeeze a last beer in before we head out on Tuesday. Hopefully the next update will be from Antarctica.

In late September we introduced you to team Polar Vision, Alan Lock, Richard Smith, and Andrew Jensen, three recent MBA grads who are trekking to the South Pole to raise awareness for visual impairment. While on their journey, the team will be filing periodic blog posts. This is their second post.

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