Colin O’Brady is in the midst of walking across Antarctica by himself, without the aid of a team, motorized transport, animals, supply caches, or supply drops. It’s a stunt that’s never been successfully completed by anyone. Whether it’s a good idea or not remains to be seen, but no one is recommending it. He is crossing at the narrowest route from sea to sea that intersects the South Pole, but that’s still almost a thousand miles. The challenge for O’Brady is to carry enough food by himself to make it all the way across a continent.
The more food you bring with you, the heavier your sled becomes, the more calories you burn pulling it, and the slower you move, meaning that you have to bring even more food to cover the extra days. Conversely, a lightly laden sled allows you to move more quickly and efficiently, but you’ll run out of food sooner. Somewhere in the middle is a theoretical optimum—a peak range, like the rocket’s peak altitude—where either adding or subtracting a single energy bar from your sled will reduce the distance you’re able to cover. The question that has remained unanswered so far is whether that peak range is greater than the width of Antarctica.
A previous two-man crossing determined that one would need 7,000 calories a day for the work and the environment- possibly 8,000 for a solo journey. They didn’t eat that much, but luckily survived the trip while losing around 50 pounds each over three months. Besides calories, the food must provide the nutrition to avoid illness or organ failure. O’Brady tackled the problem by enlisting a company to develop special food for his exact needs, without any unnecessary weight. Read about O’Brady’s food plan at Outside Online. You can follow O’Brady’s progress here. -via Metafilter