Polar Wrap-up: Norwegian Rune reaches the South Pole, a chilly swim and youngest summit for Brits

Posted: Dec 21, 2005 06:20 pm EST

(ThePoles.com) Norwegian explorer Rune Gjeldnes reached the South Pole yesterday. Yet this ultimate goal for most Antarctica explorers' is only half way there for Rune.

The Spaniards are also going really fast and have probably reached the Vostok base at the time of publishing this. Much slower of course, are the Venezuelan troopers, hauling their heavy sleds without help of kites, pulling all their provisions for the longest unsupported SP traverse this year (10 degrees). Hvitserk are doing good too - 2 degrees shorter than the Venezuelans, but exploring new grounds in turn.

A kid became the youngest British Vinson summiteer and heads for Everest next.

And a reader and contributor from South Africa alerted ExWeb to a rather remarkable swim off Antarctica's coast: British swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh plunged into the icy waters off the Antarctic Peninsula to smash the world record for the most southern long distance swim ever undertaken. Wearing only speedo trunks, goggles and a swimming cap, Lewis swam 1 kilometer (0.6 miles) in 0°C (32°F) water.

Lewis took 18 minutes and 10 seconds to complete the 1km (0.6 miles) swim and was supported by a 10 person team based aboard the MV "Polar Star". Head of the team, Professor Tim Noakes said:

"Lewis is able to survive in these waters due to a combination of factors. When he enters the water, his core body temperature is extremely high (38.4°C) and he is able to maintain this temperature for up to 15 minutes in ice cold water. To my knowledge, this capacity has not been previously described. But most importantly he has an iron will and is genetically suited to handling extreme cold," read the press release. Brrr...

Antarctic crossing teams

Runes solo Antarctic crossing: Waypoint at South Pole!

Rune reached the Geographical South Pole yesterday, 20th of December, at 12.46 GMT. Rune has covered 2200 Km alone and without re supplies during his 45 days in Antarctica. This is his first expedition to the South Pole. Ahead - 2400 km more to the coast.

Spanish trans-Antarctic expedition: Rocket-speed

Were going fast as a bullet, reported team leader Ramón Larramendi. Yesterday they covered 181 km in 12 hours. After crossing some tough patches with tall sastrugi, the team has found a smooth area on their way to Vostok base, which they hope to reach today.

South Pole teams

Proyecto Cumbre: Just six more degrees!

Strong wind forced us to start the day walking instead of skiing, reported the team. Luckily, conditions improved, and we put the skis back on two hours later. By the end of the day, we had covered 22,6 km and reached the 84th degree just six more degrees to go before we reach the Pole.

Antarctica climbing teams

Jagged Globes Vinson team: Youngest summiteer Everest next

British teenager Rhys Jones (19yrs) succeeded in climbing Vinson on 17th December as part of Jagged Globe expedition. Rhys is the youngest British kid to climb the mountain, taking the title from fellow Brit, Jake Meyer. Like all those on Vinson, the team was trapped for 6 days by storms and very low temperatures before summit day in perfect weather the calm after the storm.

The 19 year old mountaineer is attempting a world record as the youngest 6th summit. Rhys will be climbing Everest (the remaining seventh) in spring 2006.

Runes website

Spanish Trans-Antarctic expedition Larramendis site (Spanish/English)

Norwegian Hvitserks SP teams dispatches

Hvitserks expeditions (Norwegian)

Proyecto Cumbre SP expedition (Spanish/English)

Omega Foundation - Antarctica 2005

Arios Alone Across Alaska (Italian)

Airborne Ranger Club of Finland NP expedition (Finnish)

Alpine Ascents International

7Summits Club Vinson team

Jagged Globe

Both the Spaniards and the Venezuelans report tall sastrugi since two days back. Live image over Contact 3.0 of a Sastrugi, courtesy of Proyecto Cumbre (click to enlarge).
The Venezuelans have reached the 84th degree, but they still have a long way to go to the South Pole. Check the expedition's tracker on their website, atuomated over Contact 3.0 GEO (click to enlarge).
The kid bagged the sixth. At 19, Rhys Jones, from Jagged Globe became the youngest British Vinson summiteer on December 17. File image of climbers on Vinson summit, by D. Hamilton, courtesy of Jagged Globe (click to enlarge).
Rune Gjeldnes traversed with kites from Novo to Terra Nova and set a new 4804 km record.

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