While things have quieted down a bit at the South Pole, now that the rush of teams have moved through, there is still plenty of action to be had at the bottom of the world, where some explorers are heading home and others are still continuing their expeditions.
One such team consists of Ryan Waters and Cecilie Skog, who reached the Pole back on New Year’s Eve and spent some time resting at the research station there. But their journey didn’t end when they reached 90ºS. In fact, it was the half-way point of the expedition which will see them making a traverse of the entire continent. Ryan and Cecilie have now turned north once again, and are on the 57th day of their journey. In their last update, they were camping at 3019 meters (9904 feet) as they approached the Titan Dome, which tops out at 3100m (10,170 feet) in the Queen Maude Mountains. The duo have a long way to go yet, and admit to being tired, cold, and hungry most of the time, but the battle is more mental than physical at this point, as the struggle against the harsh Antarctic conditions.
Meagan McGrath is still making her way south, with her eyes firmly set on reaching the Pole. In her most recent update she reported that she was struggling against the worst conditions she’s faced yet, including lots of big sastrugi and high winds, both of which have slowed her progress. She says that she has been having long days recently, as she sets a daily goal for mileage, and doesn’t stop until she reaches it, which means she could be going several extra hours each day as she struggles to hit her target distance.
The other major teams have begun their journey home, such as the Kaspersky Commonwealth Expedition. After spending a few days in Patriot Hills, they’ve now flown back to Punta Arenas, Chile and are preparing to say their goodbyes and go their separate ways once again. Before that happens however, there will be a welcome home party on Monday, January 11th at 6:30 PM at the Commonwealth Club, 25 Northumberland Avenue, London. Everyone is invited, and it’s an opportunity to ask the team about their amazing adventure. If you’d like to attend, you can send your RSVP to [email protected]. Wish I could go!
Eric Larsen, along with Bill and Dongsheng, are also back in Punta Arenas, and making the final preparation to head home as well. Eric has written an excellent piece on their journey that not only encompasses the hardships of travel in the Antarctic, but also the beauty of the place as well. He talks about the fact that the team was at the Pole for less than 24 hours, and then in a flash they were whisked back to the Pole, and the journey was done, before they knew it. He uses the word “bittersweet” to describe his feelings, and his insights are very interesting to read.
Finally, the Shackleton’s Unfinished Journey Team is also off the ice and back in Chile too. They’re setting out for home today, and will be arriving in Heathrow at 10 AM local time tomorrow.
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