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Frostbite Cuts Short Antarctic Journey

Sun., Dec. 31, 1995, midnight

A Norwegian adventurer aborted a record-setting solo ski trek across Antarctica on Saturday, blaming severe frostbite.

Five days after leaving the South Pole for the second lap of the transcontinental trek, Borge Ousland asked to be picked up by airplane and was flown to an American scientific base at the South Pole, according to the Norwegian news agency NTB.

Ousland, 33, encountered difficult snow conditions, forcing him to slow his pace, and he developed sores on the inside of his thighs from frostbite.

“For that reason, Borge decided it was most sensible to cut short the trek now, while it was still fairly easy to reach him and fly him out,” spokesman Hans Christian Erlandsen said.

The doctor who examined Borge at the South Pole base said the infection would have spread and continuing the trek would have been dangerous.

Initially, Ousland was competing with British adventurer Roger Mear, 45. Both men set out on their solo crossings in early November. Mear gave up and was rescued Dec. 17.

Ousland, meanwhile, skied about 10 hours a day, listening to rock music most of the day. On good days, he covered about 35 miles, living on dried foods and camping in temperatures that fell to 40 degrees below zero.

His sole connection with the outside world was coded signals he sent every hour or two.

He could not receive messages.

Ousland reached the South Pole on Dec. 20, becoming the only person to reach both poles alone and unsupported.

On Christmas Day, he set out on the back end of the trip - a 45-day, 838-mile trip to the U.S. McMurdo base via the Ross Sea.

Had he succeeded, Ousland would have become the first person to cross Antarctica alone by land.

Tags: travel

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