While the rest of us enjoyed a nice holiday break and celebrated the new year, polar explorers at both ends of the planet continued their long journeys to reach their respective poles, and in some cases beyond. Two updates from ThePoles.com give the highlights from recent days.
At the South Pole, two teams did indeed ring in the New Year with a celebration at the Pole. A team from Norway, following in the rather large footsteps or Roald Amundsen, arrived at the South Pole on December 31st, planting their countries flag once more. Meanwhile, a multi-country team reached the same point a few days earlier, and dotted it with flags of their own. Amongst them were Adrian Hayes who achieved his “Third Pole” and Max Chaya who achieved his second. Congrats guys!
Reports from the other teams are that the awful conditions continue for most of them. The Beyond Endurance Team reports that they are “frustrated” with the on going white out conditions, which has made visibility nearly impossible for days. The weather conditions have also made it impossible for pick-ups at Patriot Hills, where several teams have been stranded for several days, but are taking advantage of the time to relax and recoup some.
On the other end of the planet, conditions are quite different, as the Winter North Pole Expedition has gotten underway. Russians Matvey Shparo and Boris Smolin set off on the 22nd of December, and have already had to face large open sections of water where the ice hasn’t formed yet, and faced down a polar bear who was more interested in rummaging through their gear and eating their supplies. After using some signal flares, they were able to scare him away, but the situation goes to underscore how different the two poles are, as no one gets stalked by rabid penguins while skiing to the South Pole.
Expect more news from up North over the coming weeks, as the men go for the first all-winter Pole, while down South we should be seeing more teams making their way to their final destination, while others are going for a full traverse. These stories of adventure should kick off the new year in grand style.
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