Frederic Dion Completes Record Breaking Solo Journey Through Antarctica

Antarctic adventures seem to be all the rage these days, beginning with Tractor Girl, the woman who drove her tractor all the way to the South Pole, then Omra Samra, who skied across the South Pole, and now Canadian adventurer Frederic Dion. Dion has set a new record by completing a harrowing 4,382 km (or about 2,723 miles) trip from the Antarctic coast to the Hercules Inlet. While the journey had previously been completed twice before, Dion is the first to embark on the journey by himself.

He began his journey at Russia’s Novolazarevskaya base camp before moving on to the South Pole of Inaccessibility, widely believed to be one of the most unforgiving environments on Earth due to plunging temperatures, extreme winds, and dry atmosphere. From the South Pole of Inaccessibility, he continued on to the geographic South Pole on Christmas morning before reaching his final destination of Hercules Inlet 2 days later. His journey altogether took 54 days and 6 hours to complete. Dion took advantage of the extreme winds in the area by wind skiing across the frozen tundra, resulting in the relatively short journey.

Unsurprisingly, Dion faced some difficult challenges along the way. Temperatures regularly reached -50°C (-58°F) and he suffered frost bite as a result. Due to a broken sled, he lost some of his supply of food meant to last 65 days. He almost lost his tent to a fire, nearly ending his journey before completion. At times when the wind was not particularly strong, he was faced with the challenge of cross country skiing with nearly 100lbs on his back, nearly always uphill. Combined with the physical stress he had to endure was the mental challenge of being alone for such a long time with limited contact with the outside world. Before running into fellow skiers on Christmas day, Dion had not seen another human for the past 24 days.

So how does one celebrate becoming the first person to make this solo trip across the Antarctic? “I was greeted with champagne! And took a real shower,” he said in a statement.

What’s next for Frederic Dion? Besides being an adventurer and avid marathon runner, he is an accomplished motivational speaker. Only time will tell where his next adventure will lead him.