Antarctica 2012: And Then There Was One…

richard parks new challenge an 1 100km solo skiing expedition across antarctica to the south pole 292727162

The Antarctic season is all but wrapped up now, with just one lone skier still out on the ice. It has been another long season with plenty of trials and tribulations for the explorers and climbers who ventured to the bottom of the world to push their personal limits beyond what they thought possible. Soon the weather will take a permanent turn and our attention will begin to turn north. But there are still a few days left before we put a cap on what has been an interesting season on the frozen continent.

Our lone skier is Richard Parks of course, who continues his journey to the South Pole today. Richard is now in a race against the clock as he is hoping to reach 90ºS before the last plane out. He still has some distance to go however and plenty of challenges to overcome. Those challenges are a bit easier now that he has picked up his supply drop, which is providing him with some extra food for the final push. With renewed focus, he hit the trail once again and has started to increase his mileage to where he was earlier in the expedition when he would routinely knock off 30 km (18.6 miles) per day.

In his most recent dispatches, Richard says that he is still struggling with sastrugi which continue to make life difficult. But he estimated that he had another 20-30 km (12.4-18.6 miles) to go before he would be clear of the nasty ice ridges that plagued all of the skiers this season. If that estimate was correct, he should have cleared the sastrugi zone yesterday, which will hopefully allow him to progress even faster.

Meanwhile, Aaron Linsdau checked in from the Union Glacier camp yesterday where he was waiting for a flight back to Punta Arenas. He wrapped up his long journey to the South Pole earlier in the week and is now ready to head back to civilization. He should be back in Chile today and is probably enjoying the comforts of modern life once again. As you can imagine, he lost a lot of weight while out on the ice for 80+ days, so treating himself to some good good and plenty of snacks is probably in order. After that, he’ll start making plans to return home to the U.S. for a much deserved rest.

That’s all for today. I’ll be watching Richard’s progress closely has he closes in on the end. That should happen sometime early next week.

Kraig Becker