Antarctic Update: Others At The Pole!

With one holiday behind us, an the New Year looming, it’s time to get updated on everything happening down in Antarctica, where most of the teams celebrated the Christmas (or Hanukkah, or Boxing Day) like every other day, with the skis on, their head down, and the compass pointed South.

Well, not everyone spent the holidays like that. Todd Carmichael was a Pole a few days before Christmas, and actually flew back to Patriot Hills on Christmas Day. His journey is now over, and new speed record holder to the South Pole, is back in Philadelphia, where he’s likely to sleep for week, before booking a much deserved vacation to some place tropical. Welcome home Todd!

The Shackleton Centenary Team has suffered through a couple of horrific days on the ice, with whiteout conditions marking their first days on Polar Plateau. Combine that with a fine snow, and it has made the going tough for boys, as their sleds are harder to pull through those conditions. As of yesterday, the team was five days behind the schedule set by Shackleton 100 years ago, but they’re hoping to make up the ground in the days ahead.

Mark Langridge is having a better go of it, and is expected to reach the Pole today, his 46th day on the ice. He has also been struggling in high winds, cold temperatures and whiteout conditions, but this morning it was sunny and clear. A fitting way to reach the bottom of the world. Congrats on the completion of your journey as well Mark! Job well done!

Speaking of reaching the Pole, the Finnish Team did just that back on Christmas Eve, and they celebrated and rested on Christmas Day, before jetting off to Patriot Hills on the 26th, and then turing their attention home, where they are now, presumably, resting comfortably. I’d like to send my congratulations to Kari Poppis Suomela and Pasi Ikonen, the first team from Finland to ever reach the South Pole. You’re an inspiration to us all!

The South Pole Quest Team continues to make good time, knocking off large chunks of mileage each day, but the hallmark of the their expedition, at least for those of us following along at home, is how they continue to educate us about the logistics of a South Pole expedition. I’ve alluded to them answering questions in the past, but their most recent dispatches discuss the distribution of the gear as well. I look forward to reading their site each day, as they always have some good answer to lot of obvious and not so obvious questions.

Finally, Mike Horn reports that conditions have not been great for him either, as he has had to contend with whiteout conditions and the same fine snow that has made it tough going for others. He also reports coming across the tracks of two others making their way to the Pole. They seem to be about two days ahead of him, and it’s a bit unnerving for Mike, who is use to traveling solo most of the time. He has passed the halfway point now, however, and is on course to reach the South Pole on schedule in a few weeks time.

Kraig Becker

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