23rd Jan 2009 – After months of preparation and arduous training and the struggle of pulling heavy loads of equipment, fuel and food throughout the race, we skied, like Captain Robert Scott nearly 100 years before us, with great anticipation and emotion up to the South Pole. The Tibetan flag spoke of the spirit of peace for the world. Our GPS read S 89?59.999’. The wind-chill temperature was -42C.
Captain Scott had been greeted by the sight of the Norwegian flag and the bitter knowledge that he had been beaten on this the first race to the South Pole. His dreams were shattered.
We were greeted warmly by Stian and Rune the two young Norwegians who had brilliantly won this the first race to the South Pole since Scott and Amundsen. Our dreams were fulfilled. We had been racing to help the Earth. We were carrying with us 1,300 personal messages of peace and pledges for the environment to speak out here a couple of days later as a focus for peace and harmony on the planet. This is in the Tibetan way of flying prayer flags from the highest and furthest places of the Earth to help all beings.
In addition we had spoken them out with representatives from 6 different nations on New Year’s Eve at 72?S at the end of our 100 mile training leg. The ceremony had taken nearly 3 hours huddled around prayer flags in a draughty mess tent. Our ultimate hope was for the survival of the Earth and all beings. As 2008 became 2009 the blowing blizzard became a raging storm and the howling wind threatened to eat everything in its path sending shifting snow to bury us alive. We thought of Tibetans escaping over the Himalayas, especially the children, with no tent to shelter in and knew a little of their terror. Certainly our heartfelt New Year’s Resolution was indeed to survive.
Unlike Captain Scott, we did survive! We were able to accomplish our mission, carry the Tibetan flag to the South Pole and express the peace messages. We felt so honoured that we had been allowed to tiptoe across this stunningly beautiful wilderness that graces the end of our Earth; to experience the solitude of nothing but ice to the curve of the horizon 360?around; the warmth of the sun when the temperature is -50?C; the promise of no darkness; the joy of rainbow sparkling ice crystals dancing in the air; to know the ceaseless play of wind and snow, snow and wind; and to feel the fragility and preciousness of life on the edge…
We would like to thank sincerely all those who wonderfully supported and encouraged us with their peace messages and pledges for the environment, by sending emails and by tuning in with their thoughts for peace. We are continuing to have a special tune-in for peace on the 6th of every month at 6pm for 6 mins. Do please join us and help make the process more effective.
It means a lot to us to make a difference at a practical level too, so thank you so very much to all who have been able to donate charity sponsorship. We are raising funds principally for our ‘Climb For Tibet’ schools in Tibet programme with the Tibet Relief Fund. Tibetans need a huge amount of support at this moment.
More than survival?