Richard Parks set to complete solo journey to South Pole
After 28 days of skiing alone in Antarctica, covering 1058km/657 miles and skiing a total of 338 hours, Richard Parks is skiing the final kilometers towards the South Pole.
Richard is set to record the fastest-ever solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole by a Brit and the first ever Welsh person to complete a solo, unsupported and unassisted journey to the South Pole. Richard will become the 19th person to ski solo, unassisted and unsupported to the South Pole in over 100 years of polar exploration.
Despite not completing the journey in his target of 23 days, to break Christian Eide’s incredible world record of the fastest unsupported and unassisted solo journey to the South Pole, Parks will become the only other person, alongside Eide to reach the South Pole solo, unsupported and unassisted in 30 days or under. Richard is set to take an incredible 9 days off the existing British record, held by polar explorer Hannah McKeand, who in 2006 reached the pole in 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes.
As of January 2nd, Richard had around 80km/49 miles left to ski and was due to arrive at the South Pole some time on January 3rd. Richard is skiing the final kilometers of his Antarctic journey in some difficulty, as one of his skis broke on New Year’s Eve. Despite making repairs, his ski broke again on New Year’s day making skiing hard work. Yesterday he managed to clock up 31.4km/19 miles and plans to put in two more periods of skiing throughout today and tomorrow before reaching the pole.
Richard has had to show immense mental and physical stamina to complete this solo journey, burning the calorific equivalent of two marathons a day for 28 days since Thursday December 5. Along the way he has faced the traditional brutal Antarctic elements of whiteouts, windchill and sastrugi and has been pulling a pulk, which weighs around 68 kg/150lb.
South Pole Journey Facts
To date only 29 people have skied solo to the South Pole and only 18 people have skied the purest form of solo – unsupported and unassisted – without help from kites, mechanical support, or resupplies.
The first ever solo journey to the South Pole was recorded by Norwegian Erling Kagge from Berkner Island in 1993 in 50 days. The first ever solo journey from Hercules Inlet was by Norwegian Liv Arnesen in 1994. She was also the first woman to ski solo and unsupported to the South Pole, she completed the journey in 50 days.