“Max, take a photo of yourself before you start putting on weight” said to me ALE part owner Peter McDowell at Punta Arenas airport when he saw me stepping off the Ilyushin with some 10kg less in the early hours of December 31st 2007.

tags: maxime chaya, peter mcdowell, punta arenas, airport, ilyushin 76, chile, bank audi, audi saradar group

The Ilyushin 76’s navigation (lower) cockpit in the early hours of the morning of December 31st 2007 as we near Punta Arenas coming from Patriot Hills. It was our first comeback to civilisation in close to 8 weeks, and the first time we see “darkness” again in as many days.

tags: ilyushin 76, cockpit, punta arenas, chile

Goodbye Antarctica...
Last photo at the Pole before boarding the ALE Twin Otter to Patriot Hills on Sunday December 30th.

With all the problems you faced in the early stages, and ultimately that of your boot failing, you were able to hang in there and finish in style. You sure are a tough cookie, as all Ghurka officers must be. Well done on your third pole my friend. I enjoyed sharing this one with you, and good luck with your next challenge whatever it maybe.

I don’t think you need me to tell you that you are a great guide. You led this one perfectly taking all the right decisions at the right time with zero faults. Thank you for your much-appreciated help in the latter stages of the expedition, and good luck with your next adventure. As Sharon and Dad righteously put it: “keep kickin’ ass! “.

We spent some great moments together, both inside the tent when the storm was raging, and out on the ice battling the elements and sharing the hardship. We’ve had interesting conversations fueled by different points of view, and I keep good memories of it all. You had your share of problems on this expedition, and I am pleased that you were able to keep faith in yourself and God to make it to the Pole. Well done on the successful completion of your 16 month odyssey, and I wish you equal success on your next endeavour, especially if it happens to be a nine month one!

You and I had good times during this expedition and bad ones as well. During the latter, I always considered that you weren’t really Hans, but someone else that you temporarily slip into when your mood isn’t just right. In my mind, I called you Gerhard during these moments, and I have quickly forgotten him to keep only the good memory of the smiling, cheerful, and friendly Hans that you really are.

As for you Fink,
My link to the outside world during this expedition, what can I say?
Your input and the job you did were magnificent.
It was your idea to start that blog and a jolly good one it was!
I cannot imagine how different and dull all of this would have been if it weren’t for the3poles.com and your creativity.
On behalf of myself, Bank Audi and all those who logged into thethreepoles.com, some 750,000 times since November 1st, a great big THANK YOU!
And let’s keep in touch until March 2009 for an equally thrilling adventure at the opposite end of the planet!

To every single one across the globe that logged onto the threepoles.com, and especially those who shouted out words of support and encouragement, there is nothing I can say or write now which will express the extent of my gratitude to you.
You were the wind beneath my wings, the air inside my lungs, and the blood flowing through my veins. How could I possibly fail with all that overwhelming support ??? I owe this second pole to you, and I want you all to promise me the same kind of awesome backing when I attempt my third Pole up North in March/April 2009 God willing .

And last, but with no means least, my sincere thanks, gratitude and appreciation to my partner. It takes two to tango, and without you, your vision, courage and trust, I wouldn’t be where I am I today.
You sure made me GROW BEYOND MY POTENTIAL… way beyond…
Thank you Bank Audi, thank you Bank Audi colleagues, be it at Plaza Bab Idriss, or elsewhere in Lebanon and the region, and thank you Bank Audi Executive Committee members for giving me your blessing and the green light for this ambitious project.

I congratulate everyone at Bank Audi for this second Pole, and wish you the best of luck with the third.

tags: goodbye, antarctica, devon mcdiarmid, adrian hayes, hans foss, evelyne binsack, south pole, maxime chaya, bank audi

French and Swiss climbers celebrating their Vinson summit success at Patriot Hills.

tags: patriot hills, vinson summit

Ronnie, ALE Chef serving a main course dish. It began with sparkling Champagne and an assortment of French cheeses, followed by an exquisite Fish Soup (bisque), and a main course comprising Beef filet with a rich ham sauce , spinach quiche, potato and ham souflet, and sauteed vegetables, served with our choice of red or white wine. Dessert came in the form of rich Vanilla ice cream with a red wild fruit sauce. Truthfully, the best meal I had for a very long time…

tags: ronnie finsaas, patriot hills

After 47 days of undernourishment -or rather overspending of calories- I am delighted to see the fabulous meal that Ronnie Finsaas cooked-up to celebrate our South Pole success. I sincerely cannot remember appreciating a meal that much. Everything was excellent, from the fish soup, to the meat and vegetables and desert. I don’t want to take away any merit from Ronnie who is a great Chef (and kite skier), but a saying comes to mind here: “Hunger is the best of cooks”…

tags: maxime chaya, ronnie finsaas, bank audi, audi saradar group, patriot hills, kitchen