By Chris Powell
On Dec. 14, the South Pole Energy Challenge team reached the halfway point of their expedition. The team has faced grueling conditions, including extreme winds and freezing temperatures. After Wednesday, they will start to lose sunlight, in which temperatures will plummet even lower. However, the team’s pace of just less than 10 nautical miles per day is behind the pace needed to reach the South Pole on schedule.
Facing these upcoming challenges, Robert Swan, the leader of the South Pole Energy Challenge, announced his difficult decision to return to Base Camp at Union Glacier to allow the team to move faster and reach the pole before the season closes and conditions worsen. Robert will rejoin the team when they reach the 89th Parallel to complete the last 60 miles of the expedition.
Robert’s son, Barney, and the rest of the team is continuing their trek with the goal of being the first expedition to reach the South Pole using nothing but sustainable, renewable energy. Luckily, Robert is in good health and will continue to play a lead role in the expedition. He is determined that his team completes this historic challenge and raise awareness toward the need for more cleaner energy.
I applaud Robert’s courage to make this decision. As he said in an audio message, “This is the South Pole Energy Challenge, not the Robert Swan Challenge. For the first time, Antarctica beat me.”
While I am sure he is disappointed, he is stepping away for the benefit and safety of his team and the success of the expedition. He realized he could not physically meet the 12-to-14 hours of daily walking to end the expedition before the season ends. It takes guts to know when you have to step away for the greater good. I’m happy to know Robert is safe and made the decision not to risk his health or possibly sustain injury. It is the right thing to do for the challenge and I am looking forward to walking with him to the South Pole.
Commvault remains committed to this valiant and important effort and is proud to be the official Data Partner of 2041.com and the South Pole Energy Challenge. Robert’s determination to make sure the expedition completes its goal will continue to inspire me as I continue training and preparing for this amazing journey.
I wish Barney Swan and the rest of team the best of luck as they continue to make their way to the South Pole.