The final days of the 2016 Antarctic season are truly upon us now, as the last plane scheduled to leave the frozen continent – weather permitting of course – will fly out today or tomorrow, bringing an end to an eventful few months there. As the final days tick away, two more skiers have completed their expeditions at long last, and are now preparing to head home.
Finnish adventurer Risto Hallikainen has finished his return journey to Hercules Inlet, arriving back at that point on January 24, 71 days after he began his round-trip journey via the South Pole. Along the way, he covered 2260 km (1404 miles), becoming the first Finn to make the there-and-back-again Antarctic trip. After camping at Hercules briefly, he was picked up and flown back to Union Glacier, where he should be on the last flight out to Punta Arenas, Chile.
Similarly, ExWeb is reporting that Polish solo skier Malgorzata Wojtaczka has reached the South Pole as well, brining an end to her expedition, which also began at Hercules Inlet. She started on November 18, and reached 90ºS on yesterday, on January 25. Her expedition took 69 days.
I tried to follow Malgorzata throughout her journey, but didn’t end up reporting on her progress much, mostly because updates were few and far between. It is good to know that she has now arrived safely, and will be flying back to Union Glacier from the Pole as well.
Also awaiting the final flight out is the British Military Team, which also completed a traverse of the Antarctic continent. The boys arrived back at Union Glacier a few days ago, and are now eager to start making their way home. They spent 67 days out on the ice, covering the journey to the South Pole and the return trip across the Shackleton Glacier. After resting up, they’re eager to return to the U.K.
Finally, Mike Horn will soon be the last of the skiers out on the ice. As everyone else prepares to leave aboard an ALE aircraft, he continues to kite-ski across the continent to meet his waiting ship. The winds have returned to help push him along, but he still has some miles yet to cover before he’s done. From there, he’ll sail into the South Pacific where other adventures await. Eventually he’ll make his way north though, where he hopes to traverse the Arctic icecap in similar fashion. You know we’ll be following that adventure closely too.
That’s all for today. More updates over the next few days as the news warrants.
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