Polar explorer reaches first of “three poles”

Back in mid-November we posted a story about Eric Larsen and his Save the Poles Expedition, in which the intrepid explorer is planning to become the first person to reach the “three poles” in a single calendar year. In this case, the three poles refers to both the North and South Geographic Poles, as well as the summit of Mount Everest, which is sometimes referred to as the Earth’s Third Pole.

When we last checked in with Eric, he and his two companions, Bill Hanlon and Dongsheng Liu, were just setting out from Patriot Hills along the Antarctic coast. They had 500 miles of skiing, across some of the most inhospitable terrain on the planet, ahead of them, while dragging heavy sleds carrying all of their gear and supplies behind them.

This past Saturday, after 47 days out on the ice, Eric and his team finally reached the South Pole, completing the first leg of his year long adventure. In an audio dispatch from the bottom of the world, Eric reported that they arrived at the Amundsen-Scott Research Station amidst great weather and following a very long day of skiing. In fact, the team actually extended their normal day by a few hours in order to finish up the last five miles of the journey.

Eric, Bill, and Dongsheng will now spend a couple of days resting at the Pole before they are picked up by plane and flown back to Patriot Hill, and eventually Punta Arenas, Chile, before heading home. But Eric won’t have long to rest, as he’ll soon be off on the next leg of his expedition, heading towards the North Pole this spring, and then finishing up on Everest in the fall.

The Save the Poled Expedition isn’t just a challenging adventure. Larsen hopes to promote clean, alternate energy solutions, while pushing strategies to reduce carbon emissions. He is also collecting scientific data as he travels, recording the impact of global climate change on the fragile environments he is visiting as well. And if successful, Eric will not only become the first person to visit the three poles in a single year, he’ll be the first American to complete that hat trick too.