Antarctica 2010: Arriving At The Pole

While I was away, playing in the snows of Montana and Yellowstone, the Antarctic skiers continued their long journey to the South Pole. For one, it was the end of the line, while another should reach that goal today. A third explorer still has his eyes on the prize and a possible speed record.

As I mentioned last week, Chris Foot gave up on his attempt to become the first person to ski from Hercules Inlet to the Pole and back again. The weather simply didn’t cooperate with Chris at the beginning of his expedition, and the delays made it impossible for him to complete the expedition in a timely fashion. As a result, he called it quits when he reached the South Pole, which he did last Thursday. He then updated us on his condition on Friday and was planning on flying out yesterday. Presuming the weather held, and he got his lift off the frozen continent, he should soon be making his way home to the U.K., where he already has a busy schedule of events planned.

Congrats to Chris for reaching the South Pole on skis. Job well done!

Willem ter Horst will soon be joining Chris in the short list of people who have journeyed to the South Pole. He, along with guide Hannah McKeand, should arrive today provided the weather holds out. They have a tough 15+ nautical mile slog to complete to get there, but both Willem and Hannah seem ready to cross the finish line after 47 days out on the ice. For Hannah, this is her third trip to the Pole, which probably seems like familiar ground by now, but for Willem it will be a fantastic achievement that he has worked very hard to reach. Expect an update later in the day with news of their arrival.

Finally, Norwegian skier Christian Eide is still steaming towards the Pole as fast as possible as well. He has now been out on the ice for 22 days and is rapidly approaching the 89th degree. Barring any strange accidents or complete equipment failures, it seems inevitable now that he’ll break the speed record currently held by Todd Carmichael. Christian needs to complete his journey in less than 39 days, 7 hours, and 49 minutes to set the new mark, and at his current pace, with just one degree to go, it seems that he’ll smash that record.

Stay tuned for more on both Willem reaching the end of his journey and Christian’s continued pursuit of history.