Hiking and kayaking in the unforgiving Chilean Antarctic

Expeditionists use Internet to relate details of their unprecedented route across the white continent.

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The two-man Chilean expedition will sound an unusual alarm about the harmful effects of global warming on Antarctica on November 6 when they begin a grueling 3-month, 1,000 mile trek over unexplored land and sea routes across the icy continent.

Cristián Donoso and Mario Sepúlveda will be completely self-sufficient during their odyssey, as they will receive no external support or the help of motorized vehicles. In fact, they will use their kayaks as sleds as they skirt along the edge of the highest peaks of the Andes Mountains, which emerge timidly before definitively disappearing as they approach the South Pole.

The itinerary begins when they sail from the city of Punta Arenas, the southernmost of Chile’s regional capitals, and head southward aboard the Antarctic Dream, a refurbished cruise ship originally used by the Chilean Navy in 1957 to navigate these cold waters. After crossing the Drake Pass, which joins the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, they will debark in Punta Portal on the western side of the peninsula that extends beyond the Antarctic polar circle.

Their plans include establishing a base camp and different food deposits between glaciers and their dangerous crevices, stopping at the existing Chilean and Argentine bases in the area, and finally being picked up in mid-February by the same ship that brought them to these frigid lands.

Conservation and Technology

Cristián Donoso’s impressive biography includes some fifty journeys in the past 16 years that took him to places where no human has ever set foot, as well as the Rolex Award for Enterprise in the Exploration and Discovery category. His colleague Mario Sepúlveda is an expert sportsman, skier, and mountain climber, as well as a former park ranger at Ojos del Salado, the tallest volcano on Earth, located in northern Chile. Both are concerned about the harmful effects of climate change.

Backed by plenty of experience, one of the many challenges that Cristián Donoso and Mario Sepúlveda will face during their superhuman journey dubbed the Andes-Antarctic Expedition will be to create an “in-depth and detailed photographic and audiovisual record of the region’s scenery and wildlife from the non-invasive perspective of navigating by kayak,” they announced.

“This material will be used to create products such as documentaries, books, articles, and web sites that will spread the word on the consequences of global warming on the landscape and wildlife,” of the sector. In accordance with their position on the matter, the temperature in the Antarctic zone increases five times faster than the world average, which in turn was responsible for the collapse of 6,757 square miles of ice platforms and the subsequent threat for numerous species of penguins.

These two daring Chilean expeditionists have promised to transmit their sensations through daily posts of images, audio, and bilingual texts in Spanish and English on their web page. “Visitors to the site can interact with us by sending us messages, which we will receive through the same satellite telephone,” they added.

You can follow the Andes-Antarctic Expedition at this website.

This post is also available in Spanish