Antarctica Race CONTROVERSY – Was the Race RIGGED?

There’s a huge controversy brewing in the Antarctic polar exploration community right now. There’s a big question of whether the two men who just completed a crossing from the Messner Start to the base of Leverett Glacier were completely unaided and unassisted or did they have help? According to the rules of exploration, you can have NO outside help of any kind to claim unaided and unassisted. Assistance means mechanized (snow mobiles), kites, dogs, or otherwise. But it also includes navigational assistance, too. For someone to be totally solo, they can’t use other tracks or the graded “road” on the ice from Leverett Glacier to the South Pole. The other claim is the Impossible First. Borge Ousland was the first to cross the entire ice continent. He had a makeshift kite made out of a tarp. Nothing like what people use today. In order to claim a land crossing or start like I did, you have to start on the geographic coast. That’s what everyone has accepted for years. My trip was ~720 miles. My hope was to round trip to the South Pole and back but that didn’t happen. I lost my solo, unassisted and unaided when I had my supplies moved and I ended up traveling along a sled track for a couple of days. Apparently, it’s very common for people to follow the graded ice path from the South Pole to Leverett Glacier. The grading removes all of the sastrugi. That’s a big deal. But what’s a WAY BIGGER DEAL are the flags every 100 yards. This completely eliminates the need for navigation. During a whiteout, you can still move super fast without blundering around by compass with those flags. I fantasized about having a marker on the horizon to follow. I had no idea they existed for some people. When I was in the sled track, I was still blind in whiteouts, so trying to follow the track was far worse. But if I had flags, it would have been 10x easier. I explain all of this in my book Antarctic Tears: https://amzn.to/2SJGdoH I talk about my decision to follow the sled track for a while, what it gave me, and what injuries and problems it caused. I had no idea that people weren’t being totally truthful about their experience. What I couldn’t figure out is how this year’s skiiers’ speed increased after the SP. Then I learned about the grading and flags. Their speed increased a whopping 40% by following this track and the markers. The average speed moving to the pole was 14 miles per day. The average speed moving AWAY from the pole was 20 miles per day. An occasional tailwind and microscopic downhill can’t give you that much advantage. Though the athletic achievement is phenomenal (900+ miles is crazy by any measure), it’s not a fair comparison at all to the other explorers who had no aids. Ah, exploration controversy! I hope I’ve cleared things up a little bit. I want to be open and honest about exactly what happened on my record-setting expedition of 80+ days. I hope everyone else does, too. Articles: Antarctica 2018-2019: First? Traverse? Unassisted? The Controversy Continues   New York Times Article

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There’s a huge controversy brewing in the Antarctic polar exploration community right now. There’s a big question of whether the two men who just completed a crossing from the Messner Start to the base of Leverett Glacier were completely unaided and unassisted or did they have help? According to the rules of exploration, you can have NO outside help of any kind to claim unaided and unassisted. Assistance means mechanized (snow mobiles), kites, dogs, or otherwise. But it also includes navigational assistance, too.

For someone to be totally solo, they can’t use other tracks or the graded “road” on the ice from Leverett Glacier to the South Pole. The other claim is the Impossible First. Borge Ousland was the first to cross the entire ice continent. He had a makeshift kite made out of a tarp. Nothing like what people use today. In order to claim a land crossing or start like I did, you have to start on the geographic coast. That’s what everyone has accepted for years. My trip was ~720 miles. My hope was to round trip to the South Pole and back but that didn’t happen. I lost my solo, unassisted and unaided when I had my supplies moved and I ended up traveling along a sled track for a couple of days.

Apparently, it’s very common for people to follow the graded ice path from the South Pole to Leverett Glacier. The grading removes all of the sastrugi. That’s a big deal. But what’s a WAY BIGGER DEAL are the flags every 100 yards. This completely eliminates the need for navigation. During a whiteout, you can still move super fast without blundering around by compass with those flags. I fantasized about having a marker on the horizon to follow. I had no idea they existed for some people.

live on purpose radio

Experience the worst, have the best time

When I was in the sled track, I was still blind in whiteouts, so trying to follow the track was far worse. But if I had flags, it would have been 10x easier. I explain all of this in my book Antarctic Tears:

https://amzn.to/2SJGdoH

I talk about my decision to follow the sled track for a while, what it gave me, and what injuries and problems it caused. I had no idea that people weren’t being totally truthful about their experience.

What I couldn’t figure out is how this year’s skiiers’ speed increased after the SP. Then I learned about the grading and flags. Their speed increased a whopping 40% by following this track and the markers. The average speed moving to the pole was 14 miles per day. The average speed moving AWAY from the pole was 20 miles per day. An occasional tailwind and microscopic downhill can’t give you that much advantage.

Though the athletic achievement is phenomenal (900+ miles is crazy by any measure), it’s not a fair comparison at all to the other explorers who had no aids.

Ah, exploration controversy! I hope I’ve cleared things up a little bit. I want to be open and honest about exactly what happened on my record-setting expedition of 80+ days. I hope everyone else does, too.

Articles:

Antarctica 2018-2019: First? Traverse? Unassisted? The Controversy Continues

 

New York Times Article

The post Antarctica Race CONTROVERSY – Was the Race RIGGED? appeared first on AARON LINSDAU Motivational Speaker.

Update on the ASTOUNDING RACE Across Antarctica and other explorers

Update on the ASTOUNDING RACE Across Antarctica and other explorers
This week in Antarctica, the weather has turned bad and polar explorers are struggling. Skis are broken, nerves may fray, and people have yet to hit the wall after 40 days. Check out …

Update on the ASTOUNDING RACE Across Antarctica and other explorers

This week in Antarctica, the weather has turned bad and polar explorers are struggling. Skis are broken, nerves may fray, and people have yet to hit the wall after 40 days. Check out to see what’s going on in Antarctica right now.

Check out my upcoming book on expeditions: Adventure Expedition One at

Adventure Expedition One

**************************
Visit Aaron’s website at: http://www.ncexped.com

Check out the video and see what you think. Thank you for watching and please support & subscribe!


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About Aaron Linsdau

Aaron Linsdau is a polar explorer and motivational speaker. He is the second only American to ski alone from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, setting a world record for surviving the longest expedition ever for that trip. Aaron is an Amazon best-selling author, is an expert at overcoming adversity and minimizing risk, and loves improving the lives of others.


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How to make big progress slowly

How do you conquer climbing a mountain or completing a huge project? What’s the best way to go about it? People, including me, like to rush at the last second, taking the heroic approach. But is that the best way to go? In my experience—definitel…

How do you conquer climbing a mountain or completing a huge project? What’s the best way to go about it? People, including me, like to rush at the last second, taking the heroic approach. But is that the best way to go? In my experience—definitely not.

When you try to rush, work through the night, and crank it out, it may seem like you succeeded. That’s not possible to keep up all the time, though. I used to work at places where we did the hero thing, multiple times a quarter. After a while, people started quitting and developing health problems. It was a consistency failure.

The same thing happens when you work out and train for something. It’s much more effective to apply consistent, slow but manageable work. It’s not as glamorous but it’ll get you to the top of the mountain. In this video, I climbed Mt. Glory to 10,130′ and didn’t break a sweat because I went slowly. It wasn’t glorious but I got the job done.

You can too!

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Following Parker Liautaud

Good luck to the final training months for Parker Liautaud, a 19 year old from Palo Alto, for trying to do a mid-range route to the south pole:

http://news.msn.com/us/teen-polar-explorer-will-attempt-to-break-south-pole-record#!

Note – the article is a bit misleading – Christian Eide’s feat of going solo from Hercules Inlet to the SP was 700 miles in 25 days.  No one has come even close to touching his record since 2011.  Parker’s trip, though a long 400 miles, will not compare to Christian’s trip, as a speed record.  The website has a correct assessment of the expedition:

http://www.willisresilience.com/the-expedition/world-record/

I’m looking forward to reading when a solo Parker starts from the Hercules Inlet and best’s Christian’s record – now that will be astonishing!  It looks like Parker has a good many years to do some very impressive things and I look forward to reading about them.

Good luck Parker!

Prep for teaching: Watch at the South Pole

One thing I had been meaning to do for a while was photograph the

Casio G-Shock ProTrek PRW5100 that went to the South Pole
Casio G-Shock ProTrek PRW5100 that went to the South Pole

watch It’s Jackson Time, one of my expedition sponsors, provided me with.  Ted, the owner, was very good and made sure I had an excellent expedition time piece to trek across Antarctica with.

Although the Casio ProTrek PRW5100-1 is no Rolex, it has certain features I loved.  Having analog for checking time at a glance was wonderful.  It had been forever since I had an analog watch and I never realized how much more quickly I could watch my time during skiing.  Also, the analog face does not develop lag like an LCD nor does it turn black when looking at it with polarized glasses.  And, I could leave the watch out and still read it.  LCD-based watches would turn to unreadable mush at -40 deg. F.

One of the purposes for photographing this watch was to fine-tune my product shooting skills for a few classes I’m teaching at the Art Association of Jackson Hole.  I will be teaching four different classes.  Stay tuned for their description, purpose and audience.  I will be targeting intermediate shooters with one course and have a class on strobe (flash) photography.  Hence the above photograph.

The class dates and exact description will be forthcoming.

ProTrek PRW5100 unretouched
ProTrek PRW5100 unretouched, what it looked like after the south pole

Note: The above watch went with me to the South Pole.  It’s a little more beat up than the above shows.  It took a sick amount of Photoshop work to take out most of the dings, scratches, fuzzies, and specs.

Here’s the original image before editing:

Book development

As I’ve been developing and writing my book, I’ve had to refer back to photographs to

Sastrugi near Colossus Hill
Sastrugi near Colossus Hill

clarify certain things. One place I needed to check on was the location of Colossus Hill at S 87º 21′, W 082º 35’. This south-facing slope had ridiculously large sastrugi, bigger than I had encountered up to the that point in the trip.
This photo was taken right near there.

The conditions made for tough going.

“A pathetic voyage”

It’s interesting to read post-mortems about my Antarctica expedition; from

Explorapoles
Explorapoles commentary

Explorapoles:

This young San Diego resident, Aaron Linsdau (38), wanted to become the first American to complete, solo and without any means of assistances (no kites), the classical Hercules Inlet -> South Pole trek – 1 450 miles trip. [actually about 700mi]

Aaron Linsdau (a Carlsbad software engineer) has attempted to be the first American to ski solo and unsupported from the edge of Antarctica to the South Pole and back. But after the worst voyage ever (he had encountered almost evevry setback possible), he made it to the SP [South Pole] but had to give up the idea of the return trip. Consequently, one may say that it was an abandon. And that his expedition is not a successfull one.

See here his pathetic voyage (his daily blog, about 40 pages)

The commentary at the end, about being abandoned and not successful are definitely correct!  I was not successful at completing a round trip.  In fact, I was successful at spending the most time ever getting to the SP.  And I enjoyed every minute of it, no matter how brutal it was.  Originally the expedition was listed as abandoned, suggesting that it was packed in and sent home.  Quite the contrary!

From Explorapoles description of my daily blog:

Here is the daily blog written by American Aaron Lindsau during his voyage : he seems to have endured almost every setback and difficulty possible (coldest temperatures, highest sastrugis, dirtiest snow, strongest winds, worst weather, he had problems with alsmost every part of his equipment, etc.) during his pathetic march to the SP.

As some hold the speed record, he seems to be (on this distance and itinerary at least) the slowest trekker ever. Be ready anyway to read 40 pages of a pathetic voyage.

When you look at it in the high performance perspective, then yes, it was a pathetic attempt.  However, I did not give up.  When that much goes wrong, how many remain in the hunt?

Pathetic Blog
Dramatic and pathetic Blog

Yes, I was not able to make a round trip out of it.  I didn’t plan to kite back, I just planned to ski back.  Slowly learning what others have done, I can see that it was crazy to try something so big for a first major expedition.  Every advantage to overcome every problem I encountered was used.  And, in the end, some things helped and others actually hindered me.

When I read Explorapoles description of the expedition as pathetic, I just had to laugh at myself out loud.  A crippling lung infection, wild conditions, and a stunning list of gear failures made the trek that much more memorable.  As I learned from another explorer this past year, I feel much better to have failed in the trip goal under the worst conditions rather than making it under the easiest conditions.  It’s difficult to explain this and I hope to clarify this more in my book, Antarctic Tears, planned for release at the end of this year.

Expedition Presentation at St. James Lutheran, Imperial Beach, CA

On June 23, 2013, I will be making a presentation on my expedition at St.

St. James Polar Event
St. James Polar Event, in the news letter

James Lutheran Church in Imperial Beach, CA. (866 Imperial Beach Blvd. , Imperial Beach, CA 91932 , http://www.stjamesib.org/).  Click on the picture to the right to see the full flyer.

I understand the event will be coordinated with a pot luck meal as well.  The community is invited to attend the event.

For this presentation, I will give a sampler of the material I will be making for corporate and event clients, too.  This evening will not only be a discussion about what it was like to trek across Antarctica, but also presenting a message of never giving up, accepting change and pursuing one’s dreams.  I’ll also provide a little insight into how I took calculated risks to get the expedition going in spite of naysayers.

Please check with the church by calling at 619.424.6166 for updated information on the event.

I look forward to seeing you there!

Shopping cart full of butter

When you go to Antarctica, you need massive calories.

Shopping cart butter
Shopping cart butter

A shopping cart full of butter is one of the ways to get those calories.  This mountain of butter was only part of the food I took to survive in continent 7.  The checkout couldn’t even ring this many items up on one receipt.  She had to run three credit card transactions for me to buy this.

Abu Gosch in Chile was a great place to purchase these supplies, cheaper than in Punta Arenas.  It just required a taxi ride out and a very understanding taxi driver coming back in.

Taking the hits

Broken ski in the middle of Antarctica
Broken ski in the middle of Antarctica

One day, you’ll be out there 150 miles in the middle of nowhere.  You’ll have no one with you.

Help is in another time zone and you’re having a tough go of it.  And, if you call for help to come in, you’re done.  You’re going home because you voted yourself off the island.  You put years into what you are doing and invested your entire life savings.  Every day, your mind and your body tells you that you should just quit and go home.

“It’s easier, it’s okay, you don’t really have to push through this.  Everyone will understand and no one will blame you.”

But no!  You keep pressing on, even when your mind and body are failing you.  You know that if you just take one more step toward your goal, you’ll be that much closer to making it.  All you just need to keep putting one foot in front of the other.

Then, when you think you’re just keeping yourself together and making progress, it happens.  Something breaks.  Maybe your equipment, maybe your body, maybe someone you love.  And now what?  Something you were absolutely reliant on has failed you.  You break down and cry because you know what this means.  It means what you’ve worked for a decade of your life is going down the drain.

Or is it?

Broken ski in the snow
Broken ski in the snow

So, you get yourself up and evaluate what you have left to work with.  Yes, now it’s going to be even more difficult.  Yes, you thought it was hard before.  And life just delivered a near knock-out blow.  You’re on your knees wailing and making deals to try and get out of it.  Yet, there you are, by yourself.  In the biggest, badest wilderness on Earth.  Or, maybe in your office.  Wherever you are, it will happen.  And it will not be the first time.

This is decision time.  You can call it quits, pack it in, and go home.  You can decide that it’s not worth the effort.  Why are you here in the first place?  Maybe you’re just holding on for retirement.  Just a few more, what, years?  Decades?

What happens when the tough times pass and things settle down, when things aren’t as mean anymore?  There you will be, after quitting.  And the opportunity passes by.  And, others will pass you by.  And you will start to look back and start thinking, “That wasn’t so tough.  I could’ve kept going.  Why did I quit?”  That’s it, you are home and you’ll never have the chance like it again.

Do you want to be laying there, waiting to go to sleep at night, knowing that you didn’t do your absolute all?  How often is the thought of giving up going to haunt you for the rest of your life?  Will you be proud of giving up?  Will you be able to tell your friends, family, and children that, “Yes, it was okay that I gave up.  It was too hard.”

Someone else will find a way to do it.  They stayed up later at night.  They kept going even when their skis broke.  They kept walking.

Yes, the greatest have failed countless times.  Michael Jordan missed 26 game winners.

Lone Sastrugi
Lone Sastrugi

And yet, he was the greatest of his generation.  How can someone miss that many important shots and still be that great?

Because he didn’t quit.  He got up, day after day, and kept grinding it out.  He failed 1000’s of times.  But he succeeded 100 times that.  If you take the easy way out, giving it the old college try, you will fail.  And then you’ll see someone else succeed in your place.

Do you want that as a memory to look back on?  No!  You need to get up, you want to make good on what you wanted to do.  But the only way to do that is to keep coming back to the game.

In Antarctica, my skis broke on my sleds and I knew that making my round trip was over.  And yet I didn’t give up.  I knelt there by my dead sled, wailing, knowing that things had not been going well and now they were going to get worse.  And there was no one to pat my shoulder and tell me it was okay.  I only had me to buck up, tear the thing apart, and keep going.  I couldn’t just stop, set up my tent and call for a pickup.  I knew that I’d have to think and dream about that for the rest of my life.

For me, giving up is the worst nightmare.  Freddy has nothing on the quitting nightmare.

I might get beaten.  I’ve lost a lot in the past and I know I’ll lose more in the future.  But I also know that I’m going to keep coming back.  I’m going to get knocked down.  It’s not how many times you get knocked down but how many times I get up.

You will never regret getting up one more time.