Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Antarctica 2014: Final Team Reaches the Coast

The 2014 Antarctic season is nearly over, and the last plane is scheduled to fly out of Union Glacier tomorrow, weather permitting. The final few weeks have not been easy for the last team out on the ice, as they have raced against the clock to get back to Hercules Inlet in time for departure. Their struggle was compounded by poor weather, deep snow, and harsh winds, but today they have completed their journey, and are now ready to head home at last.

The trio of Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel, and guide Are Johnson, have completed a 2045 km (1270 mile) round trip journey from the coast to the South Pole, and back again. Their expedition took them 74 days to complete, and has left them exhausted, but extremely proud and satisfied with their efforts.  The final dispatch announcing their arrival at Hercules was posted earlier today and it reads as follows:
74 days, 2045km. A lot of new records set. 45km in 18hrs the last day... 
A lot more on the blog in the days to come. (Text-pics) just have to sleep a little first.. 
Thanks to all of you who have followed the blog. 
Cheers from Are

As you can see, they had an extremely tough final day skiing 45 km (28 miles) over an 18 hour stretch just to get to the finish line. They are reportedly very low on food and extremely weary, and are now in their tent resting while they wait for a plane to come pick them up. That aircraft will shuttle the team, and their gear, back to Union Glacier where they'll catch another flight out to Punta Arenas, Chile before they head home.

Congratulations to Stéphanie, Jérémie, and Are for an amazing adventure. Their efforts in harsh conditions on the frozen continent are an inspiration to all. Hopefully they'll soon get plenty of good food and have a warm bed to sleep in before returning home.

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