Dispatches From the South Pole, Entry 11: The Additional Challenge

Posted by: Geoff Gloeckler on January 10, 2012

After 39 days on the ice, the Polar Vision team made it to the South Pole on January 3. As the team members begin to re-acclimate to ‘normal’ life, we have asked each to give us a recap of the experience. The second of these entries comes from Alan Lock.

Well, it’s all over. I am writing this sitting in a hotel in Santiago. My flight was cancelled and so my attempt to get back to the UK is turning to a mini expedition of its own.

Anyway, I am trying to reflect on the last two months and the challenges we all faced. I obviously had an additional challenge, and dealing with it was the main element of the expedition for me. As expected the biggest challenge was the terrain, where my condition made the hazardous ice formations—sastrugi—a potential minefield of ankle twisting gaps and ledges. It’s hard to explain how the macular degeneration (MD) makes this trickier, but it’s essentially like wading through a milky mist, not knowing what your ski will come down on. Yet, I was never too concerned knowing Hannah, Rich, and Andrew were guiding me. I am not sure whether it was 100 percent faith, but I figured none of them wanted to haul my pulk if i was injured, so that would be incentive enough.

As I alluded to in other posts, the MD also made me a frustrated onlooker when it came to cooking, navigation, or any tasks that involved detail. Knowing that I used to be able to do these things made it worse still, thought as they say, it’s the team effort that counts.

Finally, the feeling of being at the end is still sinking in. All the training, planning, toughening…and then the strange feeling of it being over. For sure we are over the moon, and bowled over by peoples’ support to us and our charities, but I guess the main feeling is a combination of relief that we did it, and a feeling of humility we were fortunate enough to have the opportunity.

Thanks again to all for the support over the last six weeks. Cheers!

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 eleventh post.

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