Oregon Man Becomes First To Cross Antarctica Without Assistance

American man becomes first person to cross Antarctica solo, unaided

Endurance athlete Colin O'Brady has become the first person to cross Antarctica solo and without help.

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Colin O'Brady, of Portland, Oregon, made history Wednesday, ending his 930-mile (1,500-kilometer), 54-day journey. The 33-year-old had decided to make a last-minute, final push to complete his journey, he wrote on Instagram.

"32 hours and 30 minutes after leaving my last camp early Christmas morning, I covered the remaining ~80 miles in one continuous 'Antarctica Ultramarathon' push to the finish line," O'Brady wrote.

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Day 54: FINISH LINE!!! I did it! The Impossible First ✅. 32 hours and 30 minutes after leaving my last camp early Christmas morning, I covered the remaining ~80 miles in one continuous “Antarctica Ultramarathon” push to the finish line. The wooden post in the background of this picture marks the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctica’s land mass ends and the sea ice begins. As I pulled my sled over this invisible line, I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided. 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. 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. There is so much to process and integrate and there will be many more posts to acknowledge the incredible group of people who supported this project. But for now, I want to simply recognize my #1 who I, of course, called immediately upon finishing. I burst into tears making this call. I was never alone out there. @jennabesaw you walked every step with me and guided me with your courage and strength. WE DID IT!! We turned our dream into reality and proved that The Impossible First is indeed possible. “It always seems impossible until it’s done.” - Nelson Mandela. #TheImpossibleFirst #BePossible

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

O'Brady began his journey Nov. 3 at the Ronne Ice Shelf, then made his way to the South Pole, and crossed to the Ross Ice Shelf, he said. He documented his trek, which he called "The Impossible First," on Instagram.

The whole way, O'Brady had to lug 375 pounds (170 kilograms) of gear uphill and over sastrugi, wave-like ridges created by wind.

“Not only am I pulling my ... sled all day, but I’m pulling it up and over thousands of these sastrugi speed bumps created by the violent wind,” O'Brady wrote in a Nov. 12 Instagram post. “It’s a frustrating process at times to say the least.”

O'Brady couldn't be reached for comment Wednesday evening, as he was getting some well-deserved sleep by the finish line.

Others have crossed Antarctica, but they either had assistance with reinforced supplies or kites that helped propel them forward, The Associated Press reported.

In 2016, British explorer Henry Worsley attempted to cross Antarctica unaided but had to be rescued and later died of an infection. Fellow explorer Louis Rudd is currently attempting to finish the journey in Worsley's honor. O'Brady plans to stay in Antarctica until Rudd finishes, O'Brady's wife, Jenna Besaw, told the Associated Press.

“His intention is to wait for Louis and have kind of a celebratory moment with the only other person on the planet to have accomplished this same thing," she said.

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