Friday, January 02, 2015

Antarctica 2014: Skier Evacuated From the Ice

I'll be making just a few posts today as we head into a long post-holiday weekend. But there are a few stories that I want to share none the less, including some updates from Antarctica where one skier has called for an evacuation. 

ExWeb is reporting that Swiss skier Vincent Piguot, who is traveling to the South Pole with a guided team, has asked to be picked up from the ice. Vincent is part of a group that includes guide Robert Smith, and teammates Paula Reid, Arabella Slinger, and Julian Thomas. According to the report, Vincent isn't in an emergency situation, he simply can't take the grind that comes along with skiing for miles across the frozen landscapes of the Antarctic day in and day out. The team has stopped for a few days to wait for a plane to come pick him up, while the rest of the group will continue on towards 90ºS. 

Elsewhere, Frédérick Dion continues his journey to Hercules Inlet. After visiting both the Pole of Inaccessibility and the Geographic South Pole, he now heading towards the coast, where he will complete his traverse of the Antarctic continent which began at the Russian Novo Station. A few days ago he managed to knock off 143 km (88 miles) in a single day, and as of his last update, he had about 607 km (377 miles) yet to go. Yesterday he enjoyed the New Year with a rest, but he should be back on the trail today. 

Fellow kite-skier Faysal Henneche continues to struggle to catch the wind however, although he has now elected to try a different strategy. Faysal is attempted to use longer ropes on his kite, with the hope that it will allow him to float the sail a bit higher, and pick up some breezes that have eluded him so far. This brings some risks with it, but at this point of the expedition he is more concerned with making progress. As of his most recent dispatch, Faysal should have crossed the 80th degree by now, which means he still has 10 degrees to go before he is done. That is still a long way to travel, and the days of the Antarctic season are starting to run short. 

That's all for today. Next week I'll get back to a regular posting schedule, and share updates on more of the skiers in the Antarctic. 

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