It has been a few days since I posted an update on the events taking place in the Antarctic, and while we’re all busy preparing for the holidays ahead, the explorers are still concentrating on the task at hand, which is namely heading staying on course and heading south.
Chris Foot has been doing a very good job of that so far, as he continues to make good progress towards the Pole. He is now 21 days into his march, and is topping 16 nautical miles per day. As a result, yesterday he went over the 84ºS mark, which was another milestone on the journey. In his latest audio dispatch, Chris says the weather has been good the past few days, although temperatures are on the cool side, but he is happy with the way things are going for the most part. You’ll recall that Foot is hoping to complete the first trip to the Pole and then back again to Hercules Inlet, completely solo and unsupported.
Willem ter Horst and guide Hannah McKeand are also picking up speed as they head south. They knocked off more than 15nm yesterday in their best day so far. The two took turns leading the expedition after Willem’s ski bindings started to give him trouble. Turns out, they weren’t damaged however, and he was able to continue on skis on a nearly perfect day in Antarctica. With the weather cooperating, the duo hopes to keep making solid progress towards the Pole, although right now they’re more focused on their next supply drop and rest day, which is still about another 90 miles away.
The group of teachers that are part of the Fuchs Foundation who have been in the Antarctic for the past few weeks conducting research and experiments are now back at the Union Glacier base, where they’ll soon be making their way back to Punta Arenas, and eventually home. They kept themselves busy by manning a checkpoint for the Antarctic Ice Marathon, which is currently underway at the bottom of the world. It seems that this team has really been enjoying their time in the Antarctic.
The Moon-Regan Transantarctic Expedition may have completed their crossing of the continent, but the team is still making its way back to Union Glacier, where they’ll be picked up by ALE and given a lift back to Argentina. Reading their blog, it seems that the boys will be happy to be back in civilization, and get a break from one another, as three-weeks out on the ice has started to take its toll, as evidenced by a recent spat between two of the drivers of the support vehicles over which direction to go. It seems like tempers are a bit short after spending many, many hours huddled inside their trucks the past few weeks.
Finally, Alan Arnette is back in Colorado, and will no doubt be sharing insights from his Vinson climb soon. He posted this thoughtful piece to his blog a few days back, remarking on how much he enjoyed his stay in Antarctica, where he completed the first of his Seven Summits climbs by topping otu on Mt. Vinson. He also shared the YouTube video below, which does a great job of showing us all what the Union Glacier base is really like.
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