Antarctica: Running Out of Time

In this week’s update, Preet Chandi arrives at the Pole, Justin Packshaw and Jamie Facer-Childs inch closer, and Masatatsu Abe’s expedition balances on a knife’s edge.

Packshaw and Facer-Childs

Packshaw and Facer-Childs have made a bit more progress since our last update, edging their way to the Pole, as the map below indicates.

Photo: Cashing the Light 2021


They have covered 1,958km, but the wind let them down once again yesterday. “Not a breath of wind when we stirred this morning, which was pretty much what forecasts had predicted. We decided that we would manhaul to keep some miles coming in and because we need them due to the lean state of our food supplies.”

The pair have struggled to stay on course, fighting with too much wind, too little wind, and wind from the wrong direction.

Martin Hewitt and Lou Rudd

Hewitt’s Achilles held up enough to complete a last-degree ski to the Pole. Rudd and Hewitt arrived at the Pole on the centenary of the death of Sir Ernest Shackleton. They will rest for a few days and then head to Mount Vinson.

Lou Rudd (left) and Martin Hewitt. Photo: The Adaptive Grand Slam

Solo Expeditions

Preet Chandi has finished her solo expedition from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. Chandi completed the 1,126km in only 40 days. “Feeling so many emotions right now. I knew nothing about the polar world three years ago and it feels so surreal to finally be here,” she wrote.

Masatatsu Abe is still slogging his way to the Pole from a unique starting point on the Ross Ice Shelf. He has not been able to match Chandi’s pace. Abe has covered 743km and is on day 48 of his expedition.

He may be running out of time. Abe still needs to cross the Transantarctic Mountains and reach a pickup point before ALE dismantles their camps.

“I’ve come as far as I can, but it’s extremely difficult to reach the South Pole,” Abe wrote in a recent post. “Bad conditions overlapped too much. I’m already full of wounds, but I’ll move forward, even one step. to the time limit.”

We’ll see how much further he can go before logistical difficulties stop him.

Martin Walsh is a freelance writer and wildlife photographer based in Da Lat, Vietnam. A history graduate from the University of Nottingham, Martin's career arc is something of a smörgåsbord. A largely unsuccessful basketball coach in Zimbabwe and the Indian Himalaya, a reluctant business lobbyist in London, and an interior design project manager in Saigon. He has been fortunate enough to see some of the world. Highlights include tracking tigers on foot in Nepal, white-water rafting the Nile, bumbling his way from London to Istanbul on a bicycle, feeding wild hyenas with his face in Ethiopia, and accidentally interviewing Hezbollah in Lebanon. His areas of expertise include adventure travel, hiking, wildlife, and half-forgotten early 2000s indie-rock bands.

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Sander van Dam
Sander van Dam
4 months ago

Thanks for the update again Martin, I’m following the Antarctic season and it looks like nature doesn’t treat the explorers very well this year, but that’s the thing with nature, you can’t predict it. Good to see some finishers however…looking fwd to your next post.


[…] week, Preet Chandi finished her Hercules Inlet to South Pole route. This week, Justin Packshaw and Jamie Facer-Childs have made it […]