They battled against the harshest conditions for 15 years, fought 70mph winds and crossed some of the world's most treacherous landscapes.
But this Wednesday, a British-led ski team has broken the world record for the shortest time to reach the South Pole.
Expedition leader Patrick Woodhead said: "At Christmas we are going to party. And for once we know it is going to be the greatest party for hundreds of miles."
Only 14 nautical miles from his target Mr Woodhead, 28, talking exclusively to the Evening Standard, added: "We are knackered and have sore feet but we are over the moon." He and his fellow skiers will celebrate after reaching the most south-westerly point in the world after 37 days.
On 16 November they set off from the Ross Ice Shelf to begin the Invesco Perpetual Challenge. The first leg was the 345-mile trip to the Pole. Two teams - one skiers and the other in Land Rovers - wanted not only to reach the South Pole but to make the fastest-ever crossing of the whole continent.
With Londoner Mr Woodhead are fellow Britons Alastair Vere Nicoll, 30, and David de Rothschild, 26, plus Canadian Paul Landry, 45.
Now they face a 750-mile journey to the coast, using kites to pull them along. They expect to take two weeks