Cecilie and Ryan phoned ExplorersWeb from their tent on the Ross Ice Shelf. Tired and skinny, but very happy and admiring the view on the mountains on the Antarctic continent, they spoke about how hard the last three days were and the challenges of the expedition.
ExWebs Correne Coetzer was on the other side of the satellite connection.
ExplorersWeb: Congratulations an well done. How do you feel?
Ryan: We are relaxing at the moment and we are feeling good. We got here yesterday evening. The weather is bad at Patriot Hills so we are waiting.
ExplorersWeb: How much food do you have left to stay there?
Ryan: We have food for a couple of more days.
ExplorersWeb: What was the most difficult part of the expedition?
Ryan: The mental part was the most difficult part. It was so many days of constant skiing and at times it was hard.
Regarding the route, the last three days coming down the glacier was the most difficult. It was hard and interesting with some cool navigation and all kinds of route finding challenges.
We had aerial photos and used different information that we got from people. It was like a mini expedition on its own.
ExplorersWeb: Where are you camping now and how does it look like?
Ryan: We are camping on the Ross Sea. It is beautiful. The mountains are at the coast in both directions as I look outside. We are camping about 20-25 km away from land.
ExplorersWeb: Do you have any physical injuries or frostbite?
Ryan: Physically we stayed healthy. There was some minor stuff like infections in a cut and we had to take antibiotics. Cecilie had part of her tooth broken off and we gave it a temporary filling. Aside that, we had the constant bruises and pain in the body from the shoulders to the knees.
ExplorersWeb: Do you think it would be possible to carry on to McMurdo?
Ryan: It would be possible, but the real challenge would be the sled weight in the beginning of the trip. Berkner Island to the South Pole is pretty challenging.
At one point we were thinking of that route to McMurdo, but we couldnt get a ship out.
But let me give the phone to Cecilie.
ExplorersWeb: How does it feel to be part of history?
Cecilie: Laughing. We had 70 fantastic days and are so thankful to go and had a good time. We are excited.
ExplorersWeb: Rolf wanted to do this expedition. How much did you think about him and how much did he play a part?
Cecilie: There were many days that we were thinking about him. He has been part of the trip the whole way. He skied the glacier in 2001 and we used his information and maps. Some days it has been hard.
The last three days were amazing beautiful mountains and challenging route finding as Ryan said. We skied 17 to 18 hours. The days were most fantastic but also scary.
ExplorersWeb: Did you see many crevasses?
Cecilie: Oh, many, but we had a good description and maps and aerial photos. We were all looking and finding our way. It was hard work. It is an enormous glacier.
ExplorersWeb: Did you loose much weight?
Cecilie: Oh yes, I am so skinny. Before the trip I weighed about 58/59 kg and I lost about 14-15 kilos.
ExplorersWeb: How was your food?
Cecilie: Our food was great, but you know one cant take enough food for such a long trip. Now we are eating like crazy. We eat 2-3 lunches and half an hour later we are hungry again.
I would like to thank ExplorersWeb for your interest and coverage. Lots of people said they followed us on ThePoles.com.
Arriving at the Ross Ice Shelf on January 21, nearly a century after Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole in 1911, American Ryan Waters, 36, and Norwegian Cecilie Skog, 35, have achieved the first unassisted crossing of Antarctica. They skied 70 days from Berkner Island to the Axel Heiberg Glacier via the Geographic South Pole.
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