Antarctic Update: Todd Crosses 81st Degree, Now On Foot!

Updates from the Antarctic continue, with a lot happening down south as teams and solo explorers forge ahead.

Todd Carmichael continues his solo and unsupported speed attempt on the South Pole, although that attempt took a major hit yesterday. Two days back Todd crossed the 81st latitude, marking a bit of a milestone on his march to 90º S, but a broken binding on his boot forced him to give up his skis and move forward on foot. He broke a similar binding last week and managed to fix it, but doesn’t have any means of fixing this one at the moment. On foot, Todd still logged 12 nautical miles, and spent the day thinking of a way to mend the binding, something he thinks he has solved. Hopefully he’ll be back on the skis soon. (As a side note, I can’t imagine how hard it was to pull that sled on foot for 12 nm in cold weather and high winds!)

The Shakelton Centenary Team took their first “weekly lie in” which consisted of an extra 2 hours in the sleeping bag for rest, and then proceeded to log 8.2 nautical miles. They report the first real adverse conditions of their journey, as they faced severe winds from the south that impeded their progress, but overall they’re happy with the way things are going so far.

The Aloha Antarctica team of Armin Wirth and Dieter Staudinger report that the past three days have been clear, cold, and calm. Some of the teams out of Patriot Hills would love that forecast, but Armin and Dieter set out from Neumayer Station, and were hoping to use their kites more as they attempt an Antarctic crossing. With calm weather and zero winds they’re reduced to skiing like everyone else, logging far fewer miles on their journey. Today they notched just 22km, or roughly 13 miles, but on their best kiting day they covered 80km or about 50 miles.

There have been few updates from other teams since my last post. For instance, there has been no word from Mark Langridge, who is or Thomas Davenport since Wednesday. Presumably they are doing well and moving ahead, but perhaps technical difficulties are making it impossible for them to check in right now. The Impossible-2-Possible South Pole Quest 2008 Team has made an update, however, as the team has reached Punta Arenas and will soon head out to Patriot HIlls.

There was a bit of sad news though, as Peter Valusiak had to be evacuated from the ice because his mother has suffered a stroke. Peter is now rushing home to be with her. He had set out to do a 120-day expedition from Novo to McMurdo vis the South Pole. Godspeed Peter, and our thoughts are with you and your family at this time.

More updates as they come in!

Kraig Becker

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