A Fine First

Published on 22.01.2010 - To the South Pole and beyond…

The Americans Cecilie Skog and Ryan Waters have just made a first successful crossing of the Antarctic continent, unaided.

We had an inkling when their adventure began on the frozen shores of the Ronne Ice Shelf on 13 November that this couple would go far. They didn't waste time with pointless communications, they concentrated on the "job to be done" and were clearly on tip-top form.

Moreover, they had announced that "perhaps", they were going to try to continue after the Pole. One knows of others who would be mocked for their record attempt and for their feat that was hyped by the media and titillated the sponsors. And who would especially have put forward the fact that they were not going - as it is the currently fashion - to use traction sales but to make the trek by dint of their muscles, their courage and their will-power alone.

None of any of that in the Skog/Waters pair's adventure. The modesty in their walking-on-skis approach, the regularity of their effort, the professionalism of the way in which they planned their progress, and the consistency of their daily effort. At the South Pole for example, they stayed only for a few hours.

This therefore is what has led Cecilie Skog and Ryan Waters to continue after the Pole and to try successfully - to get (on 21 January 2010) to the bottom of the Axel Heiberg glacier, where the continent finishes and where the colossal Ross Ice Shelf begins. A fine world first therefore. Let us recall that Cecilie Skog is the only woman to have successfully conquered Everest, K2 and the two poles, both North and South.

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