Antarctic Update: Skiers Out of Neumayer

patriot has an Antarctic update for us today, with the news that Armin and Dieter have left Neumayer and explorers are now arriving from Chile.

Armin Wirth and Dieter Staudinger set out from Neumayer Station a few days back, and had it easy going for the first few days, when strong winds meant they could kite-ski and make good time. On Day 3 that came to an end however, as there was no wind, and the duo were left to pulling their 120kg (265 pound) sleds behind them. Day 4 brought bad weather, with high winds and whiteout conditions, making it tough going, but their latest update on their blog says that the weather has cleared and they now press on in -20ºC conditions.

Bad weather also prevented ALE from making flights from Punta Arenas to Patriot Hills for a few days, but conditions have improved and they’ve now begun their shuttle runs. The slight delays mean smaller windows for some of these explorers to accomplish their goals. For instance, Mark Langridge’s crew has it worked out that he’ll now have to go an extra 350 meters a day, or roughly ten more minutes, to stay on his schedule. Mark is setting of a solo, unsupported trek to the Pole.

Meanwhile, Todd Carmichael has updated his website proclaiming “I’M ON THE ICE!”. Todd has also arrived in Patriot HIlls, greeted by -15ºC weather and no wind. Todd is also setting out on a solo and unsupported journey to the South Pole, hoping to become the first American to achieve that distinction.

Mike Horn, who is continuing his Pangaea Expedition, intended to sail to Antarctica, then scale an ice wall to begin his journey on the Peninsula, has run into a snag, mostly due to expensive logistics. He’ll now fly into Patriot Hills as well, where he’ll also make a trek to the Pole.

The Shackleton Centenary Team has also hopped on the Twin Otter ALE aircraft, and was delivered to Patriot Hills as well. They’ll stay there for the night before jumping back on a plane tomorrow for a nine hour ride to the Shackleton Hut, at Cape Royds, where they’ll begin their expedition. You can hear their first audio dispatch by clicking here.

Expect even more news now that the flights have resumed. Lots of explorers, their teams, and climbers will be headed to the ice over the next few weeks. The Himalaya has gone quiet, the Antarctic is heating up.

Kraig Becker

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