Just two days after American Colin O’Brady arrived at the Ross Ice Shelf, becoming the first person to cross Antarctica alone and unassisted, Louis Rudd, a former captain in the British army, finished his own bid to cross the frozen continent in the same manner. Both men left the Ronne Ice Shelf November 3, and were in an informal race across the continent.
Feeding themselves was maybe the biggest logistical challenge of the mission. Rudd and O’Brady needed to eat around 10,000 calories per day to replenish their energy levels enough to push through Antarctica’s frigid desert landscape. In an article with The Guardian, Rudd outlined his menu and eating strategy. Where O’Brady went with food planned out by an athletic nutrition strategist, Rudd was a bit more casual, snacking on bulk trail mix and chocolate bars.
In the article, Rudd talks through his food program and the improbability that both adventurers completed the journey. Here’s a brief passage:
“I’m absolutely elated, and relieved that I’ve managed to complete the journey,” Rudd told the Observer in a satellite phone call from his tent, which last night was pitched above the frozen Antarctic coastline. ‘It’s a minor miracle that both of us actually completed this; the odds of both of us doing it were so slim.”
A major inspiration for the 56-day expedition was the loss of his friend, Henry Worsley, a fellow explorer who died while attempting to break the same record nearly three years ago. Rudd carried a flag with Worsley’s family crest on the journey, even though he stripped all other provisions down to such bare essentials that he didn’t carry a change of underwear. “The fact that Henry’s flag made it all the way across, that means a great deal,” he said. He hopes to speak to Worsley’s widow today.
The full piece from The Guardian is available here.