Kunming resident Jin Feibao is one of the highest-profile outdoor adventurers in China. He has summited Mount Everest with his brother Jin Feibiao and is now approaching the South Pole with an international team. Summiting Mount McKinley is one of the next projects on Jin's agenda for this year.
In the coming days, we will run updates on Jin Feibao's progress in reaching the South Pole under some of the earth's most extreme conditions. Today we are republishing his reports from January 13-15, at the end of which his group is already more than one-third of the way to the South Pole, with another 70 km to go. Some members of Jin's team are beginning to experience difficulties, but he is maintaining a positive attitude.
January 13: 98 km from the South Pole
"Today, the weather changed, the wind is very strong, the visibility is only 4 meters, the temperature is about 40C below zero, so David (the tour guide) decided that we should stay in our tents, waiting for the storm to pass. So, we got a day to rest.
"It's extremely cold outside our tents, even the GPS can not work in such freezing environment. I have to take my GPS back into my tent can it wake up to life again. When GPS doesn't work, I have to depend on the gradienter to judge the direction. The gradienter is a small ball-like instrument which I hang in front of my chest, so I can check my direction frequently when trekking.
"Peeing is not difficult, because I have a big bottle, I can pee into this bottle inside my tent, then seal the waste in a plastic bag and put it outside on my sled. But shitting is really torture, I have to go outside my tent, dig out a big snow hole, more than one meter deep, then do the job inside the hole. This way, I will not be blown away by strong wind, after the release, seal the plastic bag and take it to my sled.
"Today, I realized that my face has minor frostbite because the strong wind drove the snow and ice off the ground to hit my face, like it was hit by many mini bullets. So, I decided to use a scarf to wrap up my face and ears first, then put my big goggles on the scarf to fix it in place. This way, my face will be protected when trekking."
January 14: 84.2 km from the South Pole
"Today, the strong wind has stopped, but we are covered in endless fog, the temperature dropped to 41C below zero, the visibility is only 10 meters.
"However, we trekked 13.8 km in 7 hours, much faster than our first day. With the help of GPS, we headed south, we can not differentiate between sky and land, everything is the same gray in such fog, like we are marching into a time tunnel.
"I have to keep thinking something else, such as my hometown Kunming - the warm sunshine, colorful flowers, Stone Forest, over-the-bridge rice noodles, the exhibitions I have enjoyed with my friends in Yunnan Provincial Museum, etc. These kind of imaginings and pleasant memories help me to keep putting one leg in front of the other and help me to pass the boring times on the way.
"Today, my face has been well protected by the scarf, so I can say that I have saved my face. But other team members' faces have become frostbitten. So, when we stopped, I told them my way of dealing with it.
"After 7 hours of trekking and skiing, David told us that we have covered 13.8 km. Now we are only 84.2 km away from the South Pole. Everyone is very happy. So we stopped to set up our camp. Other team members all looked exhausted, but David and I were not so tired, so we helped the other teams set up their tents first, then we started to set up our tent.
"With everything settled, we started to cook water, then used the boiled water to cook the instant rice. Dinner is always better than lunch, our lunch is always chocolate bars. In such a place, eating is only for surviving, not for enjoyment."
January 15: 70.4 km from the South Pole
"Today, we finally marched out of the time tunnel (the fog area) and saw the blue sky again, so we trekked faster than yesterday. In 7 hours, we covered 14.5 km. Up to now, we have already trekked 40.3 km, covering more than 1/3 of the 110 km distance [to the South Pole].
"But today is a very hard day for the man with us from Boston walked very slow, so we had to stop frequently on the way to wait for him to catch up. Later we realized that he had nearly used up all his strength. It was impossible for him to keep up with our pace.
"So, we decided to help him, to divide his burden - the luggage on his sled, about 40 kg, - to the rest of us, so, each one of us has to add about 10 kg weight on our sleds. But we have not complained, we know that we are a team, and we should not leave anyone behind. We should march to the South Pole together. This is the critical time when teamwork will show its power.
"Today, my neck is sore and painful. When we stopped to set up our camp after 7 hours of trekking, I found my neck could hardly move, I guess it's because I kept walking with the same posture for too long, when I was thinking how to deal with this neck pain, the man from Frankfurt handed me a small bottle of oil, I took it and found out that it is a kind of medical oil made in China. We both laughed. In China, this oil is very popular, used for treat mosquito bites and car sickness. I didn't expect that I will use it in Antarctica.
"Thank you, teamwork!"
GoKunming will continue to provide updates by Jin Feibao as he closes in on the South Pole.© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.