First up, Mark Langridge has indeed finished his journey to the South Pole, arriving yesterday after 49 days on the ice. He is now resting at the Pole and awaiting a pick-up flight to return him to Patriot Hills. Mark arrived at his destination with 10 days of food and fuel remaining, having consumed just 7 liters of fuel over the course of his entire journey.
The Shackleton Centenary Expedition spent their 48th day on the ice battling conditions on the Polar Plateau. They covered another 13.8 nautical miles in bitterly cold weather, and it was so bad in fact that team member Will Gow had to cut the balaclava off at the end of the day, as the cloth had stuck to his beard. The team is now projecting that they’ll arrive at the Pole on the 9th of January.
The South Pole Quest Team continues their trek as well, having now crossed the 87th degree. Today they covered 18 nautical miles, but not without a few medical issues. One team member, Kevin Vallely, suffered altitude sickness throughout the day, but still pressed ahead with the other guys. Meanwhile, Ray Zahab had to perform emergency surgery, of a sort, on a nasty blister on his foot. The surgery was deemed a success, and it has improved Ray’s outlook dramatically.
Mike Horn sends New Year’s wishes back to the world from the 86th parallel. He reports that a massive storm is brewing, but that he thinks that the worst is probably behind him, and he’s now looking forward to 2009 and continuing the Pangaea Expedition.
On a different note, ExWeb is reporting that Duncan Chessell, Jamie McGuiness and their team have put up a new route on Mt. Vinson, the highest peak in Antarctica. Bad weather had confined the team to their tents for a week, but when a break came at last they made their move, climbing up to high camp, before going to the summit over the course of a couple of days. Summit day was reportedly non-technical, but very demanding, with the ascent taking nearly 9 hours. With Vinson out of the way, the team intends to turn their attention on a few other peaks in the area before they head home. Good luck guys!
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