O’Brady First to South Pole
The race for a first solo, unassisted, unsupported traverse of Antarctica is heating up. Temperatures on the coldest continent have been consistently mild, creating soft, deep snow and making for sluggish progress.
Both Rudd and O'Brady have taken a bit of a beating on the climb up to the polar plateau, 8,700ft above their starting point at sea-level. On November 30, Rudd fell over the crest of a 2ft sastrugi (a ridge of hard snow created by the wind) and snapped the tip of a ski. He was fortunate to avoid being crushed by his heavy pulk, which caught on the ridge. In white-out conditions O'Brady also took a couple of tumbles, damaging some equipment but avoiding serious injury.
Over the last two weeks, O'Brady has stretched his lead over Rudd from 41km to 48km. Earlier today he reached the South Pole and celebrated by taking some photos before kicking on. With nearly 600km to go, and no resupplies, it's important to keep up the pace.
Rudd is still 20km from the South Pole, slogging through the deep snow for 11 hours per day as he looks to close the gap.