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Slam-dunk: Cecilie and Ryan bag polar history

Posted: Jan 21, 2010 09:40 pm EST

Arriving at the Ross Ice Shelf today, January 21, nearly a century after Roald Amundsen reached the South Pole in 1911, American Ryan Waters, 36, and Norwegian Cecilie Skog, 35, have achieved the first unassisted crossing of Antarctica.

Previous crossings have used wind power to ski-sail across the earths southernmost continent. By using only their own human power, the pair have written a new chapter in Antarctic history.

Cecilie Skog, the only woman to summit Everest, K2 and skied to both poles (unassisted and unsupported), thus realized and old dream of her late husband Rolf Bae, whom she lost on K2 last year.

Veteran mountaineer Ryan Waters in turn has accomplished a spectacular polar achievement. "Hats off," comment Cecilie's fellow Norwegians, "he really deserved the mountainous overdose the Axel Heiberg area is."

Said Tom Sjøgren at Explorersweb.com:

"The first unassisted and unsupported expedition to cross Antarctica. Unassisted and unsupported is the highest form of self-reliance. A "raw" crossing like this has only been done once before across the Arctic Ocean by Rune Gjeldnes and Torry Larsen, and never on Antarctica."

Read more in a previous story posted earlier today.


It's a jackpot! The million-dollar crossing was done today, in a joint Norwegian-US effort. Image over Contact 4.0 courtesy of the two skiers (click to enlarge).