In a reminder that there are still frontiers left to explore and challenges to overcome, American Colin O’Brady, 33, completed his solo trip across Antarctica on yesterday. As the second person to successfully make the crossing alone, and the first under his own power, he commemorated the occasion in part with updates to Twitter and Instagram. He has been sharing his experience with his supporters and shared the accomplishment as well.
The trek began on November 3. He traveled 921 miles, crossing the South Pole on December 12.
The trip has been made successfully once before, in 1997. That was by Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, but Ousland used kites and wind power to sail part of the way across the frozen landscape. O’Brady made the trip using nothing but a pair of cross-country skis and pulling a sled containing the essentials for tundra survival.
Per the Japan Times,
“As I was boiling water for my morning oatmeal, a seemingly impossible question popped into my head,” O’Brady wrote on Instagram. “I wonder, would be possible to do one straight continuous push all the way to the end?
“By the time I was lacing up my boots the impossible plan had become a solidified goal,” he said. “I’m going to push on and try to finish all 80 miles to the end in one go.”
He proceeded to do exactly that, pressing forward for 32 hours without sleep to cross more than 77 miles to the end of the course.
Although O’Brady is the only person to make a successful unassisted crossing, he is not expected to be alone with that accomplishment for very long. He left the starting point at the same time as British Army Captain Louis Rudd, 49, with the pair engaged in a friendly race. Rudd is closing in on the finish line as well, and is expected to arrive in two days.