Until recently communication while on expedition was a difficult and unreliable process. When I climbed Mount Logan in 1999 we carried with us a big, heavy and awkward VHF radio. The battery was weak due to the cold and we had to put out a long wire antenna strung between our ski poles. It never did work and for 30 days we had no contact with the outside world.
The early polar explorers would be gone from home for years at a time with no communication back home. Nobody knew anything until they got back and if they never returned it was a mystery what happened.
In 2001 when I went to climb Cho Oyu (sixth highest mountain in world) in Tibet we brought an early model satellite phone with us. It was big and heavy and we had to smuggle it into Tibet as they were banned by law at that time. Once at camp we unpacked the phone, but were never able to figure out how to work it. There was a Swiss team there with a working satellite phone that I could use for $10/minute. One 15-minute call home cost me $150. Ouch!
On Everest I had a PDA/Sat phone system that allowed me to make calls and send email back home. I was able to post regular blogs and this was my first real opportunity to have consistent contact with the outside world. It was fun to write at the end of each day and tell my story to others on the web. In return I received many messages from followers and even connected with a grade school class and became pen pals with the students.
For my South Pole expedition I will be using a DeLorme inReach system that I got from the helpful team at www.Roadpost.com . This easy and inexpensive system allows me to send and receive email and text messages and will even provide my current location on a map of Antarctica. I will pair this with a Bluetooth keyboard to make it easier to type long dispatches and a solar charging system from GoalZero.
Once activated I will post a link on this blog where the map can be found and I will begin to post regular blogs once the expedition begins on November 15.