Date: 11/30/03
Latitude: 89.70 degrees South
Longitude: 117.31 degrees East
Temperature: −33°C( −27°F)
Wind speed: 12 knots
Wind Chill: −48°C( −54°F)
Wind direction: Grid 089
Elevation: 9450 feet
Kilometers traveled: 60

Notes on daily life:
By Dan

Today is the big day; we have actually begun the traverse. After a quick brunch and a few last minute tasks we left the comfort of South Pole station and headed out into the white expanse of the East Antarctic Plateau. Quite a crowd gathered to wave us off, even the National Geographic TV crew came by to shoot some footage. It was a little sad to say goodbye to all our new friends, but the excitement of beginning the trip soon took over.

After an hour or so we could no longer see the South Pole station and we were surrounded by the seemingly endless, flat, white landscape of the gigantic Antarctic Ice Sheet. Almost as soon as we were out of site of the station both trains started to get bogged down. The top few feet of surface snow were extremely soft and sugary, very similar to the conditions we experienced last year. We were all slightly worried by this turn of events, but we grabbed shovels and dutifully dug the CATs out of the holes that they had created. This occurrence became more and more common over the following 40 km or so, leading us to wonder if we would be able to continue on at all.

Then, as luck would have it, about 50 km out from South Pole station in the direction of AGO4 the surface conditions improved and the trains stopped sinking into the snow. We continued to drive for another few hours and made some good progress, but by 11:00pm we were all very tired and hungry. Thankfully, Andrea cooked up some delicious chicken and rice with onions and peppers. The meal raised all our spirits and we turned in for some well−earned rest.