Antarctica 2018: End of Season in Sight with More South Pole Arrivals

After a week in the Caribbean I’m back home and ramping things up here at The Adventure Blog once again. While I was away there wasn’t a ton to report from the Antarctica, although there are a few updates to share. Most notably, the end of the expedition season is now in sight with only a handful of skiers still out on the ice. In fact, it is possible that things could wrap up later this week, bringing an early end to a very unique austral summer in the Antarctic.

Over the weekend, French skier Matthieu Tordeur completed his journey to the South Pole, arriving at that point after 51 days of skiing. Tordeur’s expedition was not only hampered by the tough Antarctic conditions this year, but also a bum knee that plagued him the final days of his journey. Despite suffering an injury while en route to the Pole he managed to push on, reaching 90ºS when a number of other skiers gave up and went home. Over the weekend, as he neared the end of the journey, he also announced that a documentary of the expedition will be coming later this year.

Japanese skier Masatatsu Abe is also closing in on the end. He crossed the 88th parallel early last week and was working his way through the sastrugi zone there before moving on to the 89th degree later. He should reach the South Pole later this week, bringing an end to an expedition that has been longer and more difficult than he had imagined. Like Tordeur, he has endured the challenges and will soon be rewarded with the finish line.

Abe may be the final full-distance skier to reach the South Pole this year. With a number of them giving up and going home, I believe that he is currently the only one out on the ice. There are still some “last degree” guided expeditions that are making their way south, but for the most part things are winding down very quickly. This is in contrast to recent years when it seemed as if the final skiers were racing the clock to finish up before the Antarctic summer slipped away. Right now, it seems that the ALE staff and support teams could potentially be closing things down early.

Finally, we have an update on the condition of British endurance athlete Jenny Davis, who you may recall was evacuated from the ice last week with what was thought to be appendicitis. After being examined by doctors back in Punta Arenas it was determined that she was actually suffering from a bowel infection and peritonism, which is an inflammation of the inner lining of the abdomen. This was serious enough that the evacuation was still necessary however, as you may recall that Antarctic skier Henry Worsley passed away three years ago after he was rescued from the ice. At the time, he was suffering from peritonitis, which eventually took his life. Thankfully Jenny is safe and on the mend. She is also reportedly already thinking about her return to the Antarctic to finish what she started.

That’s all for now. More updates soon.

Kraig Becker