Antarctic Update: Todd Still On Foot,

With the weekend behind us there is plenty to catch-up on down on the frozen continent.

Todd Carmichael continues his solo, unsupported expedition to the South Pole, although his dreams of a speed record seem to be dashed thanks to broken bindings on his boots. The American has managed to repair the bindings, but feels that those repairs are temporary at best and won’t hold up for the remaining 400+ miles of his journey. As a result, the plan is to continue forward on foot and only use the skis in deep snow. This will make for a very long, and arduous, trip to the Pole for Todd. I just hope he has enough supplies with him to remain “unsupported”. He does continue to make good time however, despite being on foot, and has now passed 82º S. A very impressive accomplishment.

The Shackleton Centenary Team continues to plug away, also putting up good mileage. They reported great conditions through the weekend, but that changed today with cold and windy conditions setting in, but 11 days in, they’ve managed to cover over 108 nautical miles. In their Day 10 audio dispatch, they discuss sleeping conditions, as they are averaging 10 hours of sleep per day, and the noises they are hearing while sledging, which is, not much. Mostly howling winds, and little of anything else. Their dispatches are also a nice source of history, as they often align what’s happening with the boys today with what Shackleton was experiencing a hundred years ago on the same date.

Mark Langridge sent some updates over the weekend as well, making good daily progress amidst improving weather, although winds did begin to pick up on Sunday. He passed the 81st degree on Friday, and is happy with his progress so far, although his home team does report that his tent already smells of his pipe smoke, and they can’t imagine what it’s going to be like in another 70 days, which is the amount of time Mark expects to be out on the ice on his “There and Back Again” journey.

The Aloha Antarctica Team of Armin and Dieter elected to take a day off yesterday. They’ve already been out on the ice for 17 days, and it’s begun to take it’s toll. With poor weather in the region, making it a day unfit for even kiting, they decided to stay in the tent and rest up some. They’re also reporting a feeling of loneliness and despair, even comparing it to a scene from The Lord of the Rings, that has come over them. I imagine this is not uncommon on the desolate trek to the South Pole, as there isn’t much to see or do to break the monotony along the way. They should both be glad they have one another however, as it must be even more lonely to be going solo.

Thomas Davenport, who is part of the North Winds Polar Expedition Team, updated his dispatches after several days of silence, to report an almost other worldly quality to the landscapes he is currently skiing through. He and the team are making good progress with great weather, and they too have passed the 81st degree.

We haven’t heard much from other teams in the past few days. We do know that the South Pole 2008 team, the South Pole Quest Team, and Mike Horn are all in Punta Arenas, but as to whether or not they’ve left for Patriot Hills has yet to be determined. Hopefully they’ll all update us soon with more news.

Kraig Becker

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