Antarctica 2011: Cas and Jonesy Off The Ice

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After spending more than three months out on the ice, Aussies Cas and Jonesy, as well as Norwegian skier Aleksander Gamme, have now left Antarctica and are safely back in Chile. The three men completed their expeditions late last week, and have been waiting for a pick-up ever since, but bad weather and treacherous conditions left them sitting at ALE’s Union Glacier Camp for several extra days. Now, they’re back in Chile, enjoying a comfortable bed and warmer weather, before making their way back home.

The news of their departure from Antarctica means that only Dixie Dansercoer and Sam Deltour remain on the continent, continuing their epic journey by kite-ski. They’ve now been out on the ice for 72 days and have covered more than 5000km (3106 miles) and aren’t ready to leave yet. How exactly they’ll be getting out from Antarctica remains to be seen however, as they plan to end their expedition at the Novo Station, which they’ll reach by skiing across the Lazarev Ice Shelf. The last plane from Novo, a Russian research base, is scheduled for February 28th, but according to ExWeb, that flight is completely full. That means Dixie and Sam will need to catch an earlier flight, but exactly when they’ll be leaving has yet to be decided. Stay tuned for updates.

It has been an amazing season in the Antarctic. Not only have we seen our first two successful unsupported expeditions from Hercules to the South Pole and back, but we’ve also had Felicity Aston’s solo traverse of the continent and Dixie and Sam’s distance record. All in all, it has been a very successful year for explorers at the bottom of the world. We’ll see if the North Polar season can rebound from last year and have a similar level of success.

Kraig Becker