Australians make Antarctic history

2012-01-27 11:27
Sydney - Two Australian adventurers have made Antarctic history by becoming the first team to travel unaided to the South Pole and back, surviving three months of "extreme hardship", they said on Friday.

James Castrission, a 29-year-old accountant, and Justin Jones, 28 and a scientist, skied 2 270km to complete the arduous trek, overcoming fatigue, injuries and hallucinations from lack of sleep and food.

"It's an absolutely fantastic feeling, I can't describe the elation I am feeling right now," said Castrission after reaching home base late on Thursday.

"It has been nearly three months of extreme hardship and at times simply surviving this adventure has been our goal.

"It's great to finish this trek on Australia Day [January 26] too and we can't wait to step onto the tarmac at Sydney Airport next week."

Weight

The pair reached the Pole on December 31 and en route passed the previous longest polar skiing trip without airdrops or sails. That record was set in 2009 when Norwegian Cecilie Skog and American Ryan Waters covered 1 800km.

Both men beefed up by about 20kg each in preparation for the gruelling trip, during which they towed 160kg of gear.

They were eating the calorie equivalent of 15 beef burgers a day until bad weather caused delays in reaching the South Pole, forcing them to ration their food supplies.

They ended up losing 55kg in weight between them.

"Despite the blisters, ulcers, soreness and fatigue I feel fantastic," said Jones.

"This trek has been the most mentally and physically demanding thing I have ever done but it feels worth it.

"I know the enormity of what we have achieved probably won't sink in until we are back home, however I'm now just looking forward to a nice hot meal and sleeping in a comfortable bed."

Over the past 89 days, they endured heavy snowfall and winds of up to 70km/h while the average temperature has been -25°C.

The men are now awaiting a flight out of Antarctica, which will take them to Chile to undergo medical examinations before returning to Australia next week.

They are familiar with extremes, have previously battled giant seas, sickness, sharks and food shortages during a 62-day world record crossing of the Tasman Sea in a kayak in 2007 - 2008 - a 3 300km journey.
Read more on:    environment

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.