HOW WE’RE DOING IT
We fly via Madrid to Santiago in Chile, then we catch the local one flight per week to Port Stanley in the Falkland Islands to arrive on the 24th September 2016. At the harbour we rendezvous with the skipper of the boat that will sail us down across the Southern Ocean to South Georgia approximately 750 miles. The boat is called Pelagic and is one of two boats run by Skip Novak, for an interesting insight to some of the work Skip does and some edge of the seats images check out his website www.pelagic.co.UK. We then have several days getting acclimatised to the weather conditions on the island as well as checking out a variety of wildlife colonies and visiting a few of the historically important sites on the island. Upon making a rendezvous with our mountain leaders Stephen Venables and Crag Jones who will have just completed a climbing expedition on South Georgia we then head off to tackle the Shackleton Traverse. To do this we’ll be ski touring across the island to meet up with Pelagic and then against a foul wind we'll beat back up to the Falkland Islands to catch our return flights on the 29th October 2016.
So how do you get 4 non explorer types to step up to the challenge... Well, safely of course with lots and lots of training.
Training started on 17th October 2015 with Aileen and Cian on a weekend climbing course with Nathan Kingerlee from Outdoors Ireland at the Gap of Dunloe. A grand weekend in glorious weather got everyone inspired and off to a flying start. Then followed a mountain skills weekend at Loch Guitane near Killarney for the four intrepid amateurs with Nathan, another brilliant weekend but a warning about our distinctly average personnel equipment and limited experience was evident. Nothing wrong with our enthusiasm though. In between organised training we worked on our fitness and got some decent walks in on the Macgillucuddy Reeks. Cian decided to have a crack at a climbing leaders course over 2 long weekends with Nathan at the Gap of Dunloe and then on to the cliffs at Dingle, rumour has it the rain came down in torrents or so it seemed to us when we glanced out of the window on the way to make another cup of tea. Early December saw us all together again so for an afternoon’s brisk walk we headed off to Goulane and the Old Kenmare Road to walk up Peakeen. Now it’s only a hill but very steep in places, wet and boggy now coupled with the fact the cloud had dropped almost to Windy Gap the navigation and route choice was important, it’s so easy to muck things up if your being complacent. Fortunately we got down safe and sound and in time for Aileen to head in to work. Next up was a day’s training with ice axes, crampons and roped up around Mangerton with Nathan, the snow having come down the boys had a cracking day out. We were joined by a friend who hoped to catch a bit of footage of the team doing some winter training. That brought the curtain down on the training in Ireland for the winter, now it was off to the Tatra Mountains in Poland for some serious skiing and mountain skills training with Gaz from White Sides Holidays, Zakopane, Poland. Gulp.