Antarctica 2017: Spectre and the Ice Maidens Wrap Up

The remaining two expeditions wrap up their journeys, enduring a final white-out before heading home.

After an eventful last update in which Ben Saunders aborted his expedition and the Spectre team survived a high speed crash, our 2 remaining groups were both eyeing their respective finish lines. You can catch up with all last weeks action here.

The Spectre Expedition

The Spectre team had been treated to some favourable winds in early January, allowing them to make full use of their kites, flying along at up to 45kmph and covering some serious ground.

As they approached the final couple of days of the expedition they hoped to get some good quality video footage using the kites, but in a final irony their plans were disrupted by an extended white-out. After 40 hours cooped up in their tents the weather finally cleared and the team covered another 31km in 3 hours of “chilled kiting”.

The next day, their 50th of the expedition and 57th in Antarctica, proved to be the big one, with the team finally returning to Union Glacier camp. This last day was a trying one, with highly erratic winds and a long slog up the final col before the finish line.

In total the Spectre team had covered 1,600km by kite and a further 100km man-hauling their pulks. Plus, of course, accomplishing their main objective and summiting the Spectre, the mountain that Leo had called at the outset of this mission “the most remote on earth”.

The Ice Maidens

The Ice Maiden team also had their eyes trained on the finish line as they approached Hercules Inlet.

The team had been consistently churning out 39km days over the course of their journey and had settled in to the rhythm enough to regard this pace as comfortable. However as the kilometres ticked down they started to raise their daily total in an effort to bank some extra distance in case of bad weather conditions. It was fortunate that they did, as, like the Spectre team, they hit a final white-out within touching distance of their destination.

After a tent bound wait the team were able to ski the final degree of their expedition, from 80 to 79 degrees, and thus complete their Antarctic crossing. The team celebrated by trying some pulk tobogganing and with a bottle of champagne that had been left for them courtesy of Ben Saunders.

Congratulations to the Ice Maidens and the Spectre expedition on their achievements, and we wish them safe journeys home.

Previous / Links:

Antarctica 2017: Ben Saunders Aborts, Spectre and the Madiens Soldier On

Antarctica 2017: Summer Holidays and South Pole Milestones

Leo Houlding’s Spectre

Solo Trans-Antarctic Kicks Off

All-Female Ice Maiden Team to Cross Antarctica