Antarctica 2012: Legends Team At The Pole


Not much has changed since yesterday’s Antarctic update. Most of the skiers are still days away from reaching the South Pole and weather conditions across the area remain relatively stable. But one team wrapped up their expedition this morning and are already on their way home, while another skier prepares to launch his journey at last.

It was the In The Footsteps of Legends team that completed their South Pole expedition this morning, arriving at 90ºS after 16 days of travel. The group launched their endeavor from 88ºS, crossing the final two degrees as part of an effort to raise funds for charity. The team was led by veteran polar explorers  David Hempleman-Adams and Justin Packshaw, who were joined by a number of British veterans who  had been injured in the line of duty while serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It had been a few days since the team last updated their progress, but we knew that they were closing in on their goal by the end of last week. It seems they skied extra hours yesterday in order to arrive early today. They’re now on their way back to Union Glacier via a Twin Otters aircraft and as soon as the weather permits, they’ll return to Chile as well.

While that squad is wrapping up their expedition and basking in the glow of their success, adventurer Richard Parks is set to get underway. If weather permits, he should fly to the Union Glacier camp sometime today and begin his solo and unsupported expedition tomorrow or Thursday. Richard will be departing from Hercules Inlet and will cover the entire 700 mile (1126 km) distance on foot.

Over on Vinson, the RMI team, led by Dave Hahn, took a break yesterday after spending the weekend hauling gear up to High Camp. They hope to be rested enough to go back up the mountain today or tomorrow and begin their summit bid. That will all depend on the weather of course, and Dave reports that conditions are good right now with low winds and relatively warm temperatures. Visibility on the upper slopes of the mountain isn’t all that great, but that doesn’t seem to be much of concern. The forecast says things should stay about the same over the next few days, which means another round of summits could be imminent.

Finally, Aaron Linsdau made solid progress yesterday, covering 11 nautical miles (20.3 km) amidst ongoing ground whiteouts. In addition to his other nagging injuries and equipment failures, he is now dealing with a reoccurring problem with is left big toe. He’s doing the best he can to treat it with the medical supplies that he has, but I have a feeling this will be one of those issues that won’t go away until he can come home and properly heal. For now he is still focused on reaching the South Pole and has thankfully started to improve his distances covered.

That’s it for Antarctica today. More to follow soon.

Kraig Becker