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Alone in Antarctica? Not for These Two!

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Alone in Antarctica? Not for These Two!

Virginia Wooten, Treasurer

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‘Ex·plor·er’

 

a person who explores an unfamiliar area; an adventurer.
Example: “a polar explorer”

 

And that is precisely what American explorer Colin O’Brady is, and exactly what he did! Colin O’Brady, age 33, is the first person to complete a solo, unsupported trip across Antarctica. His journey was 921 miles total, with the last

77.54 miles in the last 32 hours being completed without stopping. He is the first to do this without being aided by others or wind. But there is a twist!

Three days after completing his journey, he was snug in his tent staying warm against the weather, when he saw a shadowy figure approachingーa figure of a person. Not what he was expecting to see after three months of traveling in solitude in the most isolated part of the world. It was another explorer, Louis Rudd, who had the goal of also being the first person to travel across the continent solo and unassisted. He did do the unimaginable task, but he wasn’t the first; as he approached the Ross Ice Shelf to mark the end of his journey, he saw the belongings of O’Brady in the distance.

O’Brady captured this special encounter in a picture and posted it to his followers on Instagram. It really isn’t every day that someone will ski along across Antarctica, and make a friend who wanted to do the same! O’Brady said in the caption, “Captain Louis Rudd arrived at the finish line this afternoon. I’ve been waiting here to greet him – the only other person on the planet to have completed this crossing. It is amazing to see him and be the first to congratulate him in person! Not to mention it’s quite refreshing to see and speak to another human being after the long, quiet walk the last two months.”

Colin O’Brady perfectly embodies the word “explorer”. His drive and determination to go out and push himself to his limits, not to mention in isolation for two whole months. The adventure he completed all by himself is already a story worth telling, but the fact that another person with the same idea and motivation crossed paths with him 72 hours later makes it that much more exciting.

O’Brady and Rudd have made a point to not discuss their two treks in comparison, saying that one beat the other or one is deemed the “winner”.

“The minute you get drawn into a race scenario, everything you’re doing is dictated by the other person. It changes the whole nature of the expedition. I decided right from the early stages I wasn’t going to get drawn into that. I’ve just come and done my journey,” said O’Brady.

The two men now chit chat away, probably talking more than one should because of their lack of human contact over the past couple of months.  The expedition not only took physical strength for enduring the weather of the southernmost continent, but mental strength for taking on one of the most challenging expeditions known to man. Both now have amazing stories to tell about survival and human endeavor in the years to come.

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Alone in Antarctica? Not for These Two!