Polar explorers reach coldest place on Earth

Three Britons and a Canadian reach Pole of Inaccessibility after 1,032-mile trek through Antarctica
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The Independent Online

Three intrepid British men last night celebrated becoming the first people to reach the coldest place on Earth by downing shots of whisky, after spending more than a month battling against brutal conditions in the Antarctic.

The three, from Gloucestershire, along with Canadian explorer Paul Landry, reached the Pole of Inaccessibility after enduring a torturous 1,032-mile journey late on Friday night.

Rory Sweet, 39, Henry Cookson, 31, and Rupert Longsdon, 34, have used only their own feet and kite power on the route.

Speaking by satellite phone from the pole, Mr Longsdon said last night: "It is hugely exciting to be here and to have completed our mission. We are absolutely shattered. Our bodies have been put through their paces massively. We are exhausted but exhilarated and relieved. I don't think it has really sunk in yet that we are here."

The trek was the equivalent of dragging a sled from London to Helsinki in temperatures that plummet to minus 52C and below.

The team flew from Cape Town, South Africa, to Novo base on 29 November last year before spending six days acclimatising to the harsh conditions. They then embarked on their epic journey, which has taken them over huge ice crevasses, through glacier fields and on to the Antarctic ice plateau at an altitude of 11,500ft.

The quest ended when the men reached the pole, which is the exact centre of the continent and the furthest point from the Antarctic coast.

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