Antarctic Update: Off And Running!

All kinds of news from the Antarctic today, as teams finally get underway from Patriot Hills.

Armin Wirth and Dieter Staudinger were the first out on the ice, departing from Neumayer Station of course. They’ve been on the ice for more than a week now, and their latest dispatch says that as they have moved further into the interior, the sastrugis have begun to become an issue, slowing them down and forcing them to “manhaul” their sleds. The winds have not been sufficient for kiting, and they expect the next few days to be physically demanding as they pull their sleds forward. Remember, the sleds are at their heaviest right now for most of these explorers, and they’ll get lighter as they approach the Pole and more of their supplies are used up.

Todd Carmichael is officially underway as well, having set out from Patriot Hills yesterday. The first day sounds a bit rough, according to his dispatches, as he has already experienced issues with his sat phone and managed to break a binding on his boot as well. Stopping to fix the boot cost him time, but he still managed a very good 8 miles on his first day of traveling. The dispatch also notes how heavy the sled is at the moment and that some of the most challenging skiing is just ahead.

The Shackleton Centenary Team has reached the Shackleton Hut, on Cape Royds. The boys are happy to be starting their journey after five years of planning, training, and preparation. In their latest audio dispatch, Henry Worsley reports that they had a good break in the weather, allowing them to arrive at the cape on schedule. They’ll now rest there today and set off tomorrow, getting their journey officially underway.

Mark Langridge began his solo Antarctic expedition yesterday as well, getting underway in what he describes as “hideous” conditions. Leaving from Patriot Hills, Mark will make his way to the west to the Wilson Nunateks, before turning south along the 80º meridian and on towards the Pole. His latest audio dispatch comes with a “parental language warning” as he gets a bit salty when describing his first day out. Mark’s website is great for tracking his progress by the way, and should be fun to watch over the coming weeks.

Finally, ExWeb has posted an interesting interview with Sarah McNair-Landry, who has also just begun her own expedition, guiding a group of four from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. Sarah is, at the age of 22, quite an experienced polar explorer and guide, and in the interview she talks about her background, why she got into polar exploration (Hint: family ties!), and her favorite polar locations. It’s a very good read, and it’s amazing all of the things she’s seen and done already.

Kraig Becker

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