The start of November traditionally marks the beginning of the Antarctic expedition season, when teams of explorers, adventurers and research scientists head to the frozen continent during its warmest and most hospitable months. Warm and hospitable are relative terms in Antarctica, of course, as even in the spring temperatures can drop to -50°F and high winds make whiteout conditions common.
Amongst those making the journey this year are American Aaron Linsdau, a 24-year-old adventurer from San Diego who hopes to complete a 1430-mile journey on foot from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole and back. Aaron arrived in Antarctica, from Punta Arenas, Chile, two days ago, and since then he has been testing his gear and organizing his supplies ahead of his departure. He hopes to get underway today and when he does he’ll spend the first few weeks climbing from sea level to the top of the Antarctic Plateau, gaining approximately 9800 feet in the process. That slow climb will be made all the more challenging by the persistently brutal weather conditions and the 330-pound sled he’ll be dragging along behind him. Aaron’s expedition is a solo and unsupported one, which means he won’t be receiving supply drops at any point along the way. Because of this he’ll have to carry all of his equipment, including enough food for upwards of 90 days, with him at all times.
If successful, Aaron will be the first American to complete this journey, and just the fourth person to do so overall. Last year, Australians James Castrisson and Justin Jones, along with Norwegian explorer Aleksander Gamme, became the first men to make the round-trip journey from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back. Until their breakthrough success, all other attempts had failed.Linsdau is hoping he can add his name to that list by finishing his journey in approximately 85 days. During that time he’ll be burning upwards of 6000 calories per day, so bringing lots of caloric foods with will be a high priority. Aaron’s energy bar of choice? A stick of butter. In the weeks ahead he’ll be eating them like candy bars as he attempts to keep his weight and energy levels up.
[Photo credit: Bosonic dressing via WikiMedia]