Antarctica 2015: Outer Edge Polar Challenge Set to Begin at Last


Just when it appeared that the curtain was preparing to fall on the 2015 Antarctic season, we have another expedition that is preparing to get underway, and it is one that we’ve been hearing bout for a long time, but it is finally getting off the ground.

On February 7, Australian Charles Werb will set out for the South Pole in a specially built sled that is designed to capture the wind and sail along at a quick pace on top of the ice. His expedition is called the Outer Edge Polar Challenge, and we first told you about it way back in May of 2014. At that time, it was expected to take place in December of that year, but due to changes in plans and team members, it has gotten delayed and rescheduled on more than one occasion. Now, it is ready to go at long last.

Werb will set out from the Novolazareskaya Antarctic Station by truck and will cover the first 400 km (248 miles) by motorized vehicle. From there, he’ll then get into his sled to travel the remaining 300 km (186 miles) using the wind to propel him along. He expects it will take him roughly 7-14 days to complete the journey depending on the weather and wind conditions.

The Aussie adventurer is undertaking the Polar Challenge in an effort to raise funds for research to battle Leukemia, a form of cancer that manifests itself in a person’s blood. He’ll also be carrying a number of scientific experiments with him as well, which will be used to conduct lesson plans and curriculum for school kids back home.

Charles will leave Brisbane on February 4 and make his way to Cape Town, South Africa, which serves as the gateway to the Nova station. He’ll then spend a day or two getting acclimatized ahead of his February 7 departure date. Weather could cause some delays in those plans however, so we’ll just have to watch to see exactly when he gets underway.

Meanwhile, the last South Pole skier – Emma Kelty – is nearing her goal. She started the day with 12.5 nautical miles (23 km /14.3 miles) to go before she reaches 90ºS. She and her guide should be able to knock that off today, and are expected to arrive in the early evening at the Amundsen-Scott Station. From there, she’ll hop a flight back to Union Glacier and prepare to head home. But before that can happen, she still has one very long and difficult day out on the ice.

That’s all for now. I’ll share more news as it unfolds.

Kraig Becker