Antarctica 2017: Weather Keeps Expeditions Grounded

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Just a quick update from the Antarctic today, where weather is delaying the start of some of the expeditions. While both the Ice Maidens and Norwegians Astrid Furholt and Jan Sverre Sivertsen are eager to get started with their expeditions, poor weather has kept them stranded at the Union Glacier camp. But, there is hope that they will fly to their respective starting points soon, allowing them to truly get underway at long last.

The Ice Maidens are made up of a group of six British women who are hoping to become the first all-female squad to ski to the South Pole. They’ll start at Hercules Inlet and ski the “normal” route to 90ºS, covering some 1700 km (1056 miles) in the process. Each of the ladies on the team are all serving in the British Military or the Reserves as well, and will receive two supply drops while en route, but will otherwise be self-sufficient out on the ice.

Meanwhile, the Norwegians are taking on a daunting task of their own as they follow the historic route of national hero Roald Amundsen to the South Pole and back. Their route will cross 2050 km (1273 miles), starting and ending on the Ross Ice Shelf, which they hope to complete in 70 days. If successful, Astrid will also become the first female explorer to complete this route.

British polar explorer Ben Saunders has been out on the ice for a few days now and is already making steady progress. It hasn’t been an easy start to the expedition however, without whiteout conditions, crevasses, and other challenges welcoming him back to the Antarctic. You can read about his expedition thus far by clicking here.

The next flight to Union Glacier is set to take place next week, with even more teams arriving on the ice. Hopefully by then, those waiting at the camp will have been dropped off and will be well on their way. Things are definitely starting to get interesting on the frozen continent.

Kraig Becker