Explorer completes historic Antarctic trek

American Colin O’Brady has completed the first-ever solo, unsupported, unaided crossing of Antarctica. According to his website, which has been tracking his GPS signal since he departed November 3, 2018, he has arrived at the Ross Ice Shelf on the Pacific Ocean.

Using solely his own muscle power, O’Brady skied 932 miles pulling a 300-pound sled over 54 frigid days across the coldest, windiest, most remote continent on Earth, crossing from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean via the South Pole. After a remarkable 80-mile continuous push over the last two days, almost five times his strenuous daily average, he emerged from the TransAntarctic Mountains onto the Ross Ice Shelf a little before 1 p.m. EST, December 26 and stamped his name into the annals of polar lore.

In the final week of this long and perilous journey, O’Brady and Louis Rudd, 49, the British Army captain attempting the same feat, had battled life-threatening wind chills and whiteout conditions. With their thinning bodies shrinking from the effort—Rudd estimates he’s lost five inches off his already trim waist—they charged for 13 hours a day into a frozen, swirling world of white. Visibility was often so bad they could not see the ground in front of them.

It was near the TransAntarctic Mountains that Rudd’s friend Henry Worsley, who nearly completed the same quest in 2017, was flown out on an emergency rescue and later perished. “I thought about Henry a lot today…I’m carrying Henry’s flag, his family crest flag, that Joanna has very kindly lent me, that he carried on all his journeys, and it’s really important to me that, this time, the flag goes all the way, and completes the journey right to the end.”

And now it has.

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