Antarctica 2009: Kaspersky Commonwealth Team Heads South!

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There was lots of activity down in Antarctica over the weekend, as steady progress was made by the teams. Weather conditions fluctuated wildly though, but that is to be expected this time of year, and the explorers seem to be settling into their routines as they begin their long journey to the pole.

The Kaspersky Commonwealth Team officially got that journey underway, as they finished up their shake down run, and officially turned south today, with their skis pointed towards the Pole. In their first day out from Patriot Hills, they knocked off a solid 8.1 miles over six hours of travel, in great weather and over all ice conditions. The seven women are all in good spirits, despite the fact that most of them have never done anything remotely like this before.

Meanwhile, Eric Larsen is now a week into his expedition, and continues to make good time as well, covering 13.1 miles yesterday, bringing their total 121 miles so far. Over the weekend he reported whiteout conditions at times, but it doesn’t seem to have dampened the team’s spirits in any way. Be sure to check out Eric’s most recent dispatch, which provides us with some great definitions of terms you’ll be hearing from the explorers in the days ahead. Simple things like what a sastrugi is and what “TIAB” means. Good stuff!

Ryan Waters and Cecilie Skog are continuing on their unsupported journey to the Pole as well, but took a half day today in order to stay fresh and rested. They still managed to complete 7.3 miles in that time, and are now skiing on the Antarctic ice shelf, which is an important milestone for this duo, who began their journey on Berkner Island.

Finally, it seems that Meagan McGrath will depart for Patriot Hills today, weather permitting. Her most recent audio dispatch is from Friday, when she let us all know that she made it to Punta Arenas, despite having some issues with her bags, but was soon on her way, and joined by family and friends, who are there to see her off. Expect updates from the ice to begin soon, as she begins her journey to the South Pole as well.

Kraig Becker

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