Norwegian explorer Christian Eide has set a new speed record for traveling to the South Pole on skis, smashing the previous record by more than two weeks and setting a new standard for Antarctic expeditions to follow.
Eide set out from Hercules Inlet, located along the Antarctic coast, on December 20th of last year and proceeded due south towards the Pole, a journey of more than 700 miles. Averaging 29 miles per day over some of the harshest and most extreme terrain on the planet, the skier completed the trip in just 24 days, 1 hour, and 13 minutes, battling whiteout conditions and subzero temperatures along the way.
The previous speed record was held by American Todd Carmichael, who made the same journey back in 2008. Carmichael completed his expedition in 39 days, 7 hours, and 49 minutes, which at the time seemed like a very impressive accomplishment. Eide’s new speed mark raises the bar substantially, and is likely to be a record that will remain unbroken for years to come.
To further put Eide’s accomplishment into perspective, when explorer Roald Amundsen, who was also Norwegian, became the first person to reach the South Pole back in 1911 it took him 58 days to make the journey. He also had the benefit of doing so by dogsled. Now, a century later, we have modern day explorers covering the same distance in less than half the time and under their own power no less.
We’ve come a long way in a hundred years.
[Photo credit: Christian Eide]