American Man Makes History By Being The First To Travel Across Antarctica Solo

Neetu Chandak | Education and Politics Reporter

An American man made history Wednesday after successfully traveling across Antarctica without any support or resupply.

Portland, Oregon, resident Colin O’Brady, 33, traveled 930 miles over 54 days, The Associated Press reported Thursday.

 

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Day 54: FINISH LINE!!! I did it! The Impossible First ✅. 32 hours and 30 minutes after leaving my last camp early Christmas morning, I covered the remaining ~80 miles in one continuous “Antarctica Ultramarathon” push to the finish line. The wooden post in the background of this picture marks the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctica’s land mass ends and the sea ice begins. As I pulled my sled over this invisible line, I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided. While the last 32 hours were some of the most challenging hours of my life, they have quite honestly been some of the best moments I have ever experienced. I was locked in a deep flow state the entire time, equally focused on the end goal, while allowing my mind to recount the profound lessons of this journey. I’m delirious writing this as I haven’t slept yet. There is so much to process and integrate and there will be many more posts to acknowledge the incredible group of people who supported this project. But for now, I want to simply recognize my #1 who I, of course, called immediately upon finishing. I burst into tears making this call. I was never alone out there. @jennabesaw you walked every step with me and guided me with your courage and strength. WE DID IT!! We turned our dream into reality and proved that The Impossible First is indeed possible. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” – Nelson Mandela. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

A post shared by Colin O’Brady (@colinobrady) on


“As I pulled my sled over this invisible line, I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided,” O’Brady wrote on a Wednesday Instagram post. “While the last 32 hours were some of the most challenging hours of my life, they have quite honestly been some of the best moments I have ever experienced.”

Others have traveled across Antarctica, but generally with some sort of support, like being able to resupply or have kites to move them forward, according to The AP.

O’Brady started his journey with nearly 400 pounds of gear that was pulled on a sled. He faced other challenges besides walking in the frigid weather that often went below -20 degrees Celsius. He battled 30 mile per hour winds for eight hours on Nov. 18. O’Brady also traveled in a whiteout on Nov. 14.

“I’m usually uncomfortable all day, from the second I step outside and the -25 degree temp stings my face,” O’Brady wrote on a Nov. 26 Instagram post.

 

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Day 47: THIS TOO SHALL PASS. After having my best day of the expedition yesterday, I nearly had my worst day today. I went to battle hard with my personal demons today. My anxiety started building last night after listening to a huge wind storm grow outside. The rattling of my tent kept me up and I began to get more and more nervous knowing I had to go out in it. I did my usual morning routine and then stepped into the madness. As expected, it was brutal. Blowing snow, sub zero temps and zero visibility. I packed off and headed out into the whiteout. I just entered a part of the route known as “Sastrugui National Park” aptly named for having the biggest sastrugui on the route. Pretty much the worse place to find yourself not being able to see where you are going. Due to the massive sastrugi, it’s also the one stretch where no plane can land so you are in dire straights if an emergency occurs. That really started playing on my mind after I fell hard 5 times in the first hour. What if I broke a bone or a ski? Maybe I should stop? I bargained with myself and finally decided I had to set my tent back up, less than two hours into the day. I told myself in my tent if I wanted to keep going that I could put on my long skins for better grip on the uneven surface and then continue. But I knew the effort it would take to put up the tent in a storm, it’s unlikely I was going any further. I fought to get the tent up, got inside with my skis, skins and stove, and put on my long skins. It was now decision time. Go back out? The voice in my head told me to stop, wait out the storm, rest. But the other voice told me I needed to keep moving forward or I’ll run out of food. My mind was ripping me apart. I closed my eyes and decided to meditate for a couple minutes repeating my favorite mantra: “This too shall pass.” One way or another I’d find my way out of this. Calmed and with renewed resolve I got back outside, fought to get my tent down and packed and continued onward. The storm outside never got any better, in fact it got progressively worse. However I managed to calm the storm in my mind and knock out 21.5 miles today. A great day all things considered.

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British explorer Henry Worsley tried to travel Antarctica alone in 2016, The AP reported. He died, however, due to exhaustion. English adventurer Louis Rudd was competing against O’Brady to be the first person to travel across Antarctica solo in honor of Worsley.

O’Brady will wait for Rudd to finish.

“His intention is to wait for Louis and have kind of a celebratory moment with the only other person on the planet to have accomplished this same thing,” O’Brady’s wife, Jenna Besaw said, according to The AP.

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