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Two adventurers bidding to become the first women to ski on their own across Antarctica reached the South Pole on Tuesday, pulling in for a full day of rest and fresh supplies after two months on open ice.
Explorers Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen reached the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station after 64 days of skiing and windsailing hampered by bad weather, including whiteouts and a lack of wind to help push their sleds. When the NASA-designed windsails are working, the women can move at 25 miles per hour, but without the sails’ help, the speed is more like 1 mph.
It’s been a long trip and we’re delighted to finally be at this juncture of it, Bancroft said in a satellite phone interview with the Associated Press. "We’re having the time of our lives."
Bancroft, 45, of Scandia, Minn., and Arnesen, 47, of Oslo, Norway, have covered nearly 1,300 miles so far. They were resting on Wednesday and planned to set out on the final 1,000-mile journey Thursday morning.
The two had hoped to begin their trip Nov. 1, but were forced to wait 12 days in South Africa until the Antarctic weather cleared enough to let their plane land. Even with that initial snag, they still hoped to arrive at the pole by Christmas but encountered further delays due to poor weather.
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