(Newsdesk) "All of a sudden this is over, just like that. Out," Aaron Linsdau reported upon arrival at the South Pole on January 21st after skiing 80 days from Hercules Inlet. The night before the Pole he said he was "tired, excited, nervous, after 10 years of planning, thinking, dreaming and doing, I just gotta crank out another 8 milesish tomorrow."
Richard Parks called ALE for a food drop. With a resupply he loses his solo status, which requires no outside assistance.
Aaron Linsdau - Hercules Inlet start
Aaron's last two days' voice dispatches wrap-up:
January 19th: Day 78: Distance traveled 6 miles, time 6 hours, distance to South Pole 14 miles.
"It was complete white-out for over 5 hours at 30 knot either head on or slightly off access wind, holy moly, plus I had my goggles iced up so it was pretty much as Alf said, zen travel, so I activated my little game of counting steps and then counting sets of 60 steps up to 80 or so and that's a session. And every, when it's white out, play with my chest harness with compass because in 60 steps I'm stumbling on a little sastrugi, getting shoved around by the wind, instead of heading south you could actually start heading southwest in as little as 60 steps."
"It's unbelievably disorienting, kinda funny cause you get that same thing that pilots have sometimes where you don't actually believe your instruments, you look your compass, you're like, no way I'm heading east, that's crap and then you wiggle around wiggle around, oh, or you think, oh the wind has shifted, wow, that's an incredible shift, yea no not quite."
January 20th: Day 79. Distance traveled 8.4 miles, time 9.5 hours, elevation 9,100 feet, distance to South Pole 7 miles, way point 4.8 miles.
"One bummer is I can actually see the station now but I can't get to it at all because there's a high voltage transmission line that runs right through that area so you actually have to take quite a detour which is a real bummer, meaning I'm gonna end up having a full, full day tomorrow."
"I was fully navigating on instruments; that sucked. Needless to say It was quite challenging, you pretty much stumble around, look at your instrument, look up, ski 60 seconds, look down, oh man, totally crazy."
He ended his voice dispatch: "Other than that just tired, excited, nervous, after 10 years of planning, thinking, dreaming and doing, I just gotta crank out another 8 milesish tomorrow, oh boy."
January 21st: "Camp position South 90 degrees. West, east it really doesn't matter."
Aaron skied in a white-out most of the last day. He hopes the plane from Union Glacier will be able to pick him up on January 22nd. He is camping out at the designated campsite at the South Pole, alone as ANI has already broke up camp for the season.
ANI South Pole Camp
Have a look at the blog of Jeffrey Donenfeld working at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with the United States Antarctic Program where he posted some photos of the ANI camp one kilometer from the South Pole Station. The camp has been set up the past few years to accommodate the skiers and other ANI clients at the Pole.
Also written by Donenfeld is an article in The Antarctic Sun about the ceremony when the Geographic South Pole marker was moved to its freshly surveyed position, on January 1st. The nearly three kilometer thick ice sheet at the Pole is moving about 10 meters per years due to ice flow and therefore its position is re-surveyed every January 1st. Every year South Pole winter-over staff design and make a new marker.
The ALE/ANI Antarctic season ski season closes with the last Ilyushin-76 flight from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier scheduled for January 27th (weather permitting) when the last skiers, climbers, cargo, waste and staff will be flown out to Chile by this large cargo plane.
A "solo" ski requires unassisted status (no resupplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything supplies received from any person) and no following of vehicle tracks (vehicle drivers navigating the way).
The Hercules Inlet route starts at 80°S and covers a distance of 1130 km in a straight line to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.
The start point at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner route) covers a distance of 890 km in a straight line to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.
1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km
1 nm = 1.151 miles
1 knot = 1.852 km/h
1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles
Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet
A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.
South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position:
Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South
Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E).
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79° 45'S, 083° 14'W).
Gateway port Christchurch, New Zealand:
To USA science station McMurdo, and other
Expeditions/adventures/projects with RSS feeds can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.
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