Entries in South Pole (3)


British Teen Youngest Person to Ski to South Pole

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A 16-year-old British schoolgirl has become the youngest person ever to ski her way to the South Pole.

Amelia Hempleman-Adams, daughter of explorer David Hempleman-Adams, joined her dad on the expedition. They skied 97 miles and spent 17 nights on the ice, where temperatures were as low as -58 degrees and there was 24-hour daylight, before they arrived Friday in the early morning.

Amelia called the experience "extraordinary" and told the BBC: "The biggest challenges were the freezing cold, dried food, pulling frozen poo in a sledge, dad's snoring."

The best bit, she said: "Experiencing what dad does on expeditions." She said she wasn't sure whether she'd want to repeat the experience. "I'll have to think about that after a few nights' sleep."

Father and daughter, and their small team left the U.K. on Nov. 18 and arrived in Punta Arenas in southern Chile on Nov. 20. They began the expedition on Nov. 26 from the Farthest Point South, where legendary British explorer Ernest Shackleton turned back in 1909. Amelia carried a picture of Shackleton and a coin that his granddaughter, Alexandra, had given her.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Teen Trains in Freezer for South Pole Trek

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(WILTSHIRE, England) -- Amelia Hempleman-Adam is a tall, slim high-school student with one of the world’s most ambitious adventures ahead of her.

The 16-year-old Brit hopes to become the youngest person to ski the 97 miles to the South Pole. After months of training, hiking the hills around her native Wiltshire, England, skiing in the Alps and sleeping out in a supermarket freezer alongside frozen turkeys, her challenge begins next weekend.

Exploration is in her blood. Her father, David Hempleman-Adams, was the first person in history to reach the geographic and magnetic North and South Poles as well as climb the highest peaks in all seven continents. He has broken umpteen records, on land, water and in the air. He has made 30 Arctic expeditions and has reached the Poles a record fourteen times.

And it’s not the first time he’s dragged one of his offspring along; in 2005, Amelia’s sister Alicia, then fifteen, became the youngest person to trek to the North Pole.

On November 18, David and Amelia will fly to Chile en route to the Union Glacier camp in Antarctica to acclimatize for two weeks before beginning their trek from The Farthest South Point.  With daily averages around -40 to -60 degrees Fahrenheit, Amelia will have to consume 8,000 calories a day to stay warm and maintain her energy, which means “loads of chocolate,” for the candy lover.

While learning to eat, go to the bathroom and get dressed wearing thick gloves, her father has made her practice writing -- after all, she can’t fall behind on her school work.

Her biggest worry?  ”I am not sure if I’ll be able to sleep as it is 24 hour daylight at the South Pole and dad is a terrible snorer,” she told the BBC.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


South Pole Stroke Victim Arrives in New Zealand

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand) -- Renee-Nicole Douceur, a scientist who suffered an apparent stroke at a South Pole research facility in the dead of winter, landed at a New Zealand airport Monday after an emergency evacuation.

Douceur, 58, boarded a U.S. Air Force cargo plane that took off from McMurdo Station in Antarctica and landed at the Christchurch airport at about 5 a.m. ET.

Douceur and a medical attendant were taken from her Amundsen-Scott research station. After landing, she was taken to a hospital in New Zealand. But even when the flight was cleared to evacuate her, there was still danger -- the cabin could not be pressurized because of the thin surrounding air.

After arriving in New Zealand, Douceur said it was a major concern. "I was worried about...whether it could do some more serious damage...or a stroke or who knows what else...They kept the plane at very low altitudes so the aircrew knew what to do if there was something that had happened to me."

She was evacuated seven weeks after suffering what might have been a stroke at the research site. Raytheon operates the site for the National Science Foundation and Douceur said she was stunned when the company told her no special flight would be scheduled for her evacuation because of dangerous flight conditions.

Douceur will receive a CAT Scan and MRI Tuesday morning, and then will move on to Johns Hopkins Medical Center in Maryland.

Rescuing Douceur from her South Pole station was a controversial effort -- it is still winter at the pole, with temperatures as low as 58 degrees below zero at last report. In October, less than a month after the equinox, there is constant twilight. Winds can kick snow hundreds of feet into the air, making it dangerous for a plane to land on the ice.

A cargo plane designated for her rescue headed from Chile toward the South Pole Friday, but blizzard winds and blinding snow prevented the aircraft from landing safely.

The last risky medical evacuation from the South Pole was that of Jerri Nielsen Fitzgerald, a physician who had diagnosed and treated her own breast cancer until she could be flown out in 1999.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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