American adventurer Colin O'Brady completes world's first solo trek across Antarctica without aid

Two adventurers, one American and the other British, have recently completed solo expeditions across Antarctica unaided and using just skis.
Mr Colin O'Brady reached the South Pole on Dec 12, the 40th day of his journey, after covering a total of 1480km.
Mr Colin O'Brady reached the South Pole on Dec 12, the 40th day of his journey, after covering a total of 1480km.PHOTO: INSTAGRAM/ @COLINOBRADY

WASHINGTON (AFP) - An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.

Mr Colin O'Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,600km crossing of the frozen continent from north to south.

"I accomplished my goal: To become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided," Mr O'Brady wrote in an Instagram post after covering the final 124km in 32 hours.

"While the last 32 hours were some of the most challenging hours of my life, they have quite honestly been some of the best moments I have ever experienced," he wrote.

"I was locked in a deep flow state the entire time, equally focused on the end goal, while allowing my mind to recount the profound lessons of this journey. I'm delirious writing this as I haven't slept yet."

His voyage was tracked by Global Positioning System (GPS), and live updates of the trip were provided daily on his website colinobrady.com.

Mr O'Brady and an Englishman, Army Captain Louis Rudd, 49, set off individually on Nov 3 from Union Glacier in a bid to be the first to complete a solo, unassisted crossing of Antarctica.

Day 50: STRUNG OUT BUT STILL MOVING. I can’t believe I been out here all alone for 50 days. Even having lived it, I can’t quite wrap my mind around it. This wind storm still has not subsided so I spent another day getting beat down. Fingers crossed I catch a break on the weather soon. I’ve been writing a lot about the mental game as it’s clearly the most crucial part of this challenge (or any challenge for that matter). However today I want to honor my body and health. I wholeheartedly believe that nothing in life is more important that being healthy. Without that it’s hard to do or do fully. I’m so fortunate to have parents that instilled that in me from a young age, teaching me the importance of healthy eating and exercise. My dad is an organic farmer so I guess you could say it’s in my blood. Despite feeling exhausted and worn out, I’m grateful for having lived a healthy lifestyle, for without that I’m certain my body would have given up by now. And on the health front, I’m glad to be partnered with @Grandrounds who go above and beyond to guide people to the highest quality healthcare. It’s incredible to know they provide access to medical expertise literally anywhere on the planet! #GrandRounds #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

In 1996-97, Norwegian polar explorer Borge Ousland made the first solo crossing of Antarctica but he was wind-aided by kites on his voyage.

FINISHING 'IN ONE GO'

Mr O'Brady and Capt Rudd set off on cross-country skis dragging sleds called pulks which weighed nearly 180kg.

Mr O'Brady reached the South Pole on Dec 12, the 40th day of his journey.

He arrived at the finish point on the Ross Ice Shelf on the Pacific Ocean on Wednesday after covering a total of 1,480km.

Capt Rudd is about a day or two behind.

Mr O'Brady said he made the decision over breakfast to finish his journey in one continuous push.

"As I was boiling water for my morning oatmeal, a seemingly impossible question popped into my head," he wrote on Instagram. "I wonder, would (it) be possible to do one straight continuous push all the way to the end?"

"By the time I was lacing up my boots the impossible plan had become a solidified goal," he said. "I'm going to push on and try to finish all 80 miles to the end in one go."

Day 42: DREAMS INTO REALITY. Even though I’m 50 miles past the South Pole now, I can’t help but post one more image from the day I arrived - a dream come true. Plus, today is a very historic date. On December 14, 1911, this day exactly 107 years ago, Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole. Talk about inspiration. That was a true journey into the unknown that took years and years to complete. I finished a bike ride in 2016 and got the spark of inspiration for this project. I immediately came home and wrote it all down on my whiteboard. Since that day I’ve been working everyday to turn this dream into reality; training, fundraising, researching. The key is that each day I took a step toward making my dream a reality even with countless setbacks and mistakes made along the way, I kept trying. I haven’t realized the dream yet. That’s what I’m doing every day out here...taking step after step to make it come true. Whatever you are dreaming of in life, be that in business, art, music, love, entrepreneurship, sports - it can be anything. Stop just dreaming and take the first step. As in the immortal words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it!!” But dreaming alone won’t get you there. If it’s going to work, action is required. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible Shoutout to @samuel.a.harrison for snapping this amazing shot of me. Samuel and another scientist from the South Pole station read about my journey in the @nytimes and came outside to the Pole to cheer me on!
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Day 42: DREAMS INTO REALITY. Even though I’m 50 miles past the South Pole now, I can’t help but post one more image from the day I arrived - a dream come true. Plus, today is a very historic date. On December 14, 1911, this day exactly 107 years ago, Amundsen became the first person to reach the South Pole. Talk about inspiration. That was a true journey into the unknown that took years and years to complete. I finished a bike ride in 2016 and got the spark of inspiration for this project. I immediately came home and wrote it all down on my whiteboard. Since that day I’ve been working everyday to turn this dream into reality; training, fundraising, researching. The key is that each day I took a step toward making my dream a reality even with countless setbacks and mistakes made along the way, I kept trying. I haven’t realized the dream yet. That’s what I’m doing every day out here...taking step after step to make it come true. Whatever you are dreaming of in life, be that in business, art, music, love, entrepreneurship, sports - it can be anything. Stop just dreaming and take the first step. As in the immortal words of Walt Disney, “If you can dream it, you can do it!!” But dreaming alone won’t get you there. If it’s going to work, action is required. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible Shoutout to @samuel.a.harrison for snapping this amazing shot of me. Samuel and another scientist from the South Pole station read about my journey in the @nytimes and came outside to the Pole to cheer me on!

A post shared by Colin O'Brady (@colinobrady) on

The New York Times described Mr O'Brady's effort as among the "most remarkable feats in polar history", ranking alongside the 1911 "Race to the South Pole" between Norway's Roald Amundsen and England's Robert Falcon Scott.

"To complete the final 77.54 miles (124km) in one shot - essentially tacking an ultra marathon onto the 53rd day of an already unprecedented journey - set an even higher bar for anyone who tries to surpass it," the Times wrote.

In 2016, an English army officer, Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley, a friend of Capt Rudd's, died while trying to complete an unassisted solo crossing of Antarctica.