Amerikaanse avonturier steekt als eerste persoon ooit Antarctica solo over zonder hulp

De 33-jarige Amerikaan Colin O'Brady
Instagram De 33-jarige Amerikaan Colin O'Brady
De 33-jarige Amerikaan Colin O’Brady heeft een record gevestigd. De dertiger is de eerste persoon ooit die, zonder dat hij daarbij werd geholpen, Antarctica solo overstak. Hij voltooide zijn loodzware tocht van zo’n 1.500 kilometer in amper 53 dagen. 

Colin O’Brady is niet de eerste avonturier die Antarctica alleen doorkruiste, maar anders dan zijn voorgangers werd de Amerikaan onderweg niet bevoorraad of gebruikte hij geen vliegers om zijn materiaal voort te trekken. De Amerikaan, die de route op ski’s aflegde, trok het materiaal achter zich voort op een slee met een totaalgewicht van zo’n 170 kilogram. 

Via het Instagramaccount van O’Brady konden geïnteresseerden zijn reis volgen. Haast dagelijks berichtte de man over zijn bijzondere avontuur. In een van zijn laatste berichten schrijft de Amerikaan dat hij had beslist om de laatste 130 kilometer in een ruk af te leggen. Dat was een pittige uitdaging. Normaal legde O’Brady per dag ongeveer 30 kilometer af.

“Toen ik mijn laarzen aandeed, was het onmogelijke plan een vastgesteld doel geworden. Ik ga het doen”, schreef hij in een bericht op Instagram. “Ik voel dat ik in topvorm ben en ik wil dat gebruiken. Het is een zeldzaam en waardevol gevoel om de flow te vinden.” 
(Lees hieronder verder.)

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Een foto die is geplaatst door null (@colinobrady) op

Tijdens zijn tocht sprak de reiziger via een satelliettelefoon met een journalist van BBC. “Ik ben moe, maar elke dag ga ik toch door”, zei hij vorige week op 20 december nadat hij amper enkele dagen eerder in een sneeuwstorm verzeild raakte. “Ik ben intussen zo veel gewicht verloren dat mijn horloge zelfs afglijdt. Ik denk dat ik zal schrikken als ik mijn lichaam na deze reis in de spiegel kan bekijken.”

Ongeluk

O’Brady is een ervaren avonturier. Het is niet de eerste keer dat hij een voet op Antarctica zette. Daarnaast beklom hij de zeven hoogste bergen op alle continenten en de hoogste pieken in alle vijftig Amerikaanse staten. De man had naar eigen zeggen nooit gedacht dat hem dit zou lukken. In 2008 liep O’Brady tijdens een reis in Thailand ernstig verwondingen op aan zijn benen door een verkeersongeluk. Volgens de dokters zou hij “nooit meer normaal kunnen stappen”, zo schrijft BBC. 

De Amerikaan startte zijn tocht niet alleen. Samen met de 49-jarige Brit Louis Rudd vertrok hij op drie november. De twee hadden elkaar slechts enkele dagen eerder ontmoet in een bar van een hotel in Chili. Nadat ze elkaar hun plan vertelden om Antarctica te doorkruisen, beslisten ze om het tegen elkaar op te nemen. De Brit ligt momenteel een paar dagen achter op O’Brady. 

Antarctica staat bekend als het koudste gebied ter wereld. Het continent is bijna volledig bedekt met een ijskap. In de maand december bedraagt de gemiddelde temperatuur er ongeveer -29 graden Celsius. 

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