Just two days after Colin O’Brady became the first person to ski solo and unassisted across Antarctica, the American has been joined in that exclusive club by British polar explorer Lou Rudd. Today, Rudd completed his own traverse of the frozen continent, wrapping up his journey just a few hours ago.
The details of Rudd’s final push to the coast along the Ross Ice Shelf are still coming in, but apparently he finished with a total distance of about 950 miles (1528 km), becoming the first Briton to make the crossing solo and unassisted. He also becomes the first person to traverse the continent twice, as Lou was part of the 2016-2017 Spear 17 expedition, which was a team effort. He may also now hold the record for long distance sled in the Antarctic as well, racking up more than 2800 miles (4506 km) over the course of his various adventures there.
For his part, O’Brady waited for Rudd to arrive at the finish line and welcome him there. While the two were striving for the same goal, they weren’t exactly bitter rivals about it. Both offered encouraging words to one another and were happy to be chasing the same goals. I’m sure Lou will be happy to see Colin waiting for him and the two will share some good stories and a meal or two together while they wait to be picked up.
The weather will dictate when both O’Brady and Rudd will get retrieved from the ice, but if things go as planned they’ll be on their way back to Union Glacier tomorrow or the next day. From there, it’s back to Punta Arenas, Chile and then on home. I’m sure there will be plenty more to share from both men. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to have them sit down together somewhere for a shared interview to get their perspective on what they just accomplished.
Congrats to Lou on reaching the finish line. Well done mate. Now for some much deserved rest for you too.
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