Australians make Antarctic history

Jan 27, 2012
A handout photo taken and released by You Can on December 31, shows Australians Justin Jones (L), 28, and James Castrission, 29, displaying the Australian flag at the South Pole sphere which marked the half-way point of their 2,270 km unaided expedition from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back.

Two Australian adventurers have made Antarctic history by becoming the first team to travel unaided to the South Pole and back, surviving three months of "extreme hardship", they said on Friday.

James Castrission, a 29-year-old accountant, and Justin Jones, 28 and a scientist, skied 2,270 kilometres (1,400 miles) to complete the arduous trek, overcoming fatigue, injuries and hallucinations from and food.

"It's an absolutely fantastic feeling, I can't describe the elation I am feeling right now," said Castrission after reaching home base late Thursday.

"It has been nearly three months of extreme hardship and at times simply surviving this adventure has been our goal.

"It's great to finish this trek on Australia Day (January 26) too and we can't wait to step onto the tarmac at Sydney Airport next week."

The pair reached the Pole on December 31 and en route passed the previous longest polar skiing trip without airdrops or sails. That record was set in 2009 when Norwegian Cecilie Skog and American Ryan Waters covered 1,800 kilometres.

Both men beefed up by about 20 kilograms (45 pounds) each in preparation for the gruelling trip, during which they towed 160 kilograms of gear.

They were eating the calorie equivalent of 15 beef burgers a day until caused delays in reaching the , forcing them to ration their .

They ended up losing 55 kilograms in weight between them.

"Despite the blisters, ulcers, soreness and fatigue I feel fantastic," said Jones.

"This trek has been the most mentally and physically demanding thing I have ever done but it feels worth it.

"I know the enormity of what we have achieved probably won't sink in until we are back home, however I'm now just looking forward to a nice hot meal and sleeping in a comfortable bed."

Over the past 89 days they endured heavy snowfall and winds of up to 70 kilometres per hour while the has been minus 25 Celsius (minus 13 Fahrenheit).

The men are now awaiting a flight out of Antarctica, which will take them to Chile to undergo medical examinations before returning to Australia next week.

They are familiar with extremes, have previously battled giant seas, sickness, sharks and food shortages during a 62-day world record crossing of the Tasman Sea in a kayak in 2007-2008 -- a 3,300-kilometre journey.

Explore further: Satellites sees a question mark in Tropical Storm Ana

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Australian adventurers in South Pole quest

Oct 03, 2011

Two Australian adventurers who made history by kayaking unassisted to New Zealand set off on Monday hoping to bag a new record by walking from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole and back.

Resupplied North Pole explorers resume trek

Mar 20, 2009

Three British explorers fighting to survive a gruelling trek to the North Pole finally resumed their journey Friday after receiving vital supplies of food, fuel and equipment, organizers said.

Visitors crowd South Pole for anniversary of conquest

Dec 12, 2011

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will join dozens of adventurers at the South Pole this week to mark the 100th anniversary of countryman Roald Amundsen's groundbreaking expedition to the frozen continent.

Woman to begin Antarctic crossing, awaits weather

Nov 21, 2011

(AP) -- A 33-year-old British adventurer preparing for a historic solo crossing of Antarctica was waiting at a base camp for the weather to improve on Sunday in order to begin her long journey on skis.

Flight dispatched with supplies for North Pole team

Mar 18, 2009

A plane set off Wednesday during a break in bad weather to re-supply three stranded British researchers, who are trapped and fighting to survive in the North Pole, organizers of the aid effort said.

Recommended for you

NASA image: Fires in the Egypt River Delta

10 hours ago

This NASA satellite image is of the Egyptian River Delta. Actively burning areas, detected by MODIS's thermal bands, are outlined in red. Each hot spot, which appears as a red mark, is an area where the thermal ...

Terra Satellite sees Tropical Storm Ana over Hawaii

10 hours ago

Tropical Storm Ana made a slow track west of the Hawaiian islands over the last couple of days, and by Oct. 20 was moving westward away from the main Hawaiian islands and heading toward the northwest Hawaiian ...

User comments : 0