In yesterday’s update I mentioned a number of teams that had reached the South Pole at last, but also noted there were plenty of of other updates to come. Today I’ll touch on a few of the other explorers out on the ice who are continuing their own expeditions through the Antarctic.
One of those explorers is Norwegian Aleksander Gamme, who is attempting to become the first person to make the journey from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back again. Aleksander completed the first leg of that journey on December 26th, but he didn’t linger long at the Pole and started the return journey the next day. He knows that he is racing the clock and is hoping to get back to where he started before the last plane leaves on January 27th. He is currently covering roughly 30km (18.6 miles) per day and is feeling good. You may recall that Cas and Jonesy are also hoping to make a there-and-back-again journey from Hercules, but they are currently running a few days behind Aleksander. The two Aussies reached the Pole on New Year’s Day, and have already started their return trip as well.
The two teams in the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race continue their long, slow trek to the Pole. The Amundsen squad are actually starting to close in on their target, and now have less than 95 nautical miles to go until they hit 90ºS. At their current pace, they’ll likely reach the finish line early next week, while their mates on the Scott Team are now looking at an arrival around the 18th or 19th of the month. Both teams report horrible weather today, with high winds creating complete whiteout conditions. Typically that would be a good excuse for a rest day in the tent, but since they’re running behind schedule, rest days are now at a premium. Supplies are a bit light as well, and they’ll be rationing their remaining food until the very end.
One team that has long since come and gone from the Pole is Dixie Dansercoer and Sam Deltour. The boys are now 43 days into their planned three month long expedition, and now have covered more than 2695km (1674 miles) in their traverse of the continent. They’ve hit a spell of high winds, which are the bane of the skiers but are very welcome to the kiters, so they’ve picked up their pace quite a bit and are now covering as much as 120km (74.5 miles) per day. Yesterday was cause for celebration, as Sam turned 27 and the men shared a couple of candy bars in his honor.
Finally, Felicity Aston is well on her way to Hercules Inlet after starting on the Ross Ice Shelf and swinging by the South Pole. She has crossed the 86th parallel and is making good progress, although high winds and rough sastrugi have been physically punishing of late. Hercules is located at 80ºS, so obviously she still has a long way to go before she’s done, but the Brit remains upbeat and undaunted in her efforts to become the first woman to traverse the continent solo.
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