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White Christmas at Antarctica UPDATE

Posted: Dec 24, 2012 01:48 pm EST

(Newsdesk/Update Dec 25) All skiers have hit the ice and except for blisters, vomiting, gear failure, exhaustion and frustration - all is calm this Christmas at Antarctica. Here goes a quick rundown, with a Mount Vinson update!

Aaron Linsdau - Hercules Inlet start

The American, who started off with food for 90 days to do return journey, has experienced gear failure and will try to reach at least the pole now. Almost 2 months out Aaron is hanging in there. Dec 22, day 50, he was at 85.17 with distance to next cache 123 miles. Current elevation 4,600 feet.

Vilborg Arna Gissurardottir - Hercules Inlet start

The solo girl from Iceland checked in 23rd December 2012, Day # 35 from S 85°26.

Roland Krueger - Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf Start

Roland who started from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner Start) on November 23rd has updated his blog following extended 'radio silence'. He's at 85.76.

Richard Parks

After his delay Richard has hit the ice. The blog reports he's been out for 5 days with yesterday his best day so far, "I covered 27.4km/17 miles and the going was good."  Expedition total km/miles travelled to date:  119.2km/74 miles. He plans a fast 35-40 days travel across the 1130km.

Eric Larsen

5 days out Eric and his fatbike struggle on. "All that stretches between me and the South Pole is a whole lot of snow and ice," he reported yesterday.

Vinson Massif (16,050 ft / 4892m)

Update Dec 25: ExWeb's Correne Coetzer called from Vinson BC on December 25 with news that she summited Vinson on Dec 24 along with ANI, climbers from 7-Summits Club and Mountaintrip. Congrats to all!

The big drill

Drilling into a top frozen lake for the first time scientists in West Antarctica will sift through a layer of virgin sediments deposited there at the origins of our planet.

The mission is to understand if Antarctica's sheet has been melted before (should it happen again with climate change) and what extreme conditions life can endure on Earth. On Christmas Eve Dr Dominic Hodgson gave a good brief on it all.

Fast-check details daily on the expedition websites in the link aggregates.

Happy Holidays skiers, scientists and climbers!

A "solo" ski implies unassisted status (no resupplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything supplies received from any person) and no following of vehicle tracks (vehicle drivers navigating the way).

The Hercules Inlet route starts at 80°S and covers a distance of 1130 km to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.
The start point at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner route) is inside 82°S and covers a distance of 890 km to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.

1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km
1 nm = 1.151 miles
1 knot = 1.852 km/h
1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles
Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet
A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.

South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position:
S82°06.696, E055°01.951
Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E).
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79° 45'S, 083° 14'W).
Gateway port Christchurch, New Zealand:
To USA science station McMurdo, and other
(77°50'39"S, 166°40'22"E)

Expeditions/adventures/projects with RSS feeds can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone/iPad and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.

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Quiet Christmas camp at Mount Vinson, Antarctica.
Image by RMI Guides, SOURCE