February 3, 2023

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Hedwig Hertaker, South Pole | Tonight Hedwig Hertaker (28) set a record: the youngest woman in the world to reach the South Pole alone

Overnight Norwegian time until Sunday, Hedvik Hertaker (28) completed a feat that most people couldn’t fathom.

After a mildly arduous journey across the Antarctic continent, she became the first young woman to reach the South Pole alone.

But it happens in hanging hair.

– She ran out of food yesterday. I learned that she lives today on a little chocolate, some nuts, cocoa and biscuits. If she keeps it one more day, it won’t work. Time is up, Andre Fjerestrand Bradley tells Netavisen on Saturday evening.

Before the trip, Hedwig Hertaker told Nettavisen editor Gunnar Stavram that it was her mother’s death that inspired her to make the incredible South Pole trip:

– Very malnourished

He is Hertaker’s manager, and the 28-year-old is looking forward to reaching the almost mythical point at 90 degrees south latitude.

– Now I guess she has 8 to 12-13 kilometers. But it takes time. It goes slowly because the conditions are so dull. She is very malnourished in both sleep and food and will save some calories, Bradley says at 11.15pm on Saturday.

– Estimated attendance will be between midnight and one o’clock today. There may be some delay, but at least within four hours.

So it is an achievement for anyone to do well. Before her, only eight women had been to the South Pole.

– Terrible conditions

– later set a world record for being the youngest woman to go solo to the South Pole. “I don’t think anyone understands how sick it really is,” Bradley says, explaining:

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– After two or three weeks on a trip alone, you start to feel a lot better. You are not used to sounds. No smell. She did not see a single man for almost 50 days. Coming now would be great.

– Yes, what does she say?

– She says it’s heavy in lead. The height she climbed is two meters high. She has traveled more than 1,100 kilometers, 98 percent of which is in constant wind. It averages minus 40 degrees, and the wind blows between 15 and 30 meters per second. These are absolutely horrible conditions, explains the manager.

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– Stayed with her for days”Whitening», you can’t see anything and have to navigate the compass course. Then it doesn’t help with GPS and you can’t see anything. You have to believe that the compass is correct and go for a compass study.

Started with pneumonia

As if that wasn’t enough, the 28-year-old can’t get off to a bad start on his journey back in November.

On November 27 last year, he descended on Union Glacier, ready to face an almost inhuman challenge. But on the way to the starting point, Hertaker caught pneumonia and had to spend the first three or four days in a tent with antibiotics.

– It’s not the start we were hoping for, but there’s not much you can do about it.

– Does that alone make performance more appealing?

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– It really does. It’s also not a given that you’ll recover in a few days because pneumonia is out there.

But even with the pneumonia gone, that wasn’t the only challenge she faced along the way.

Drama along the way

Bradley delivers a short mini-lecture «Sasruki», a phenomenon in which snowdrifts form in the direction of the wind, which can be compared to low sand dunes half a meter high. They come close to each other, but both are unstable and wobbly, and more prone to tipping over when dragging a 100kg table. In addition, the risk of breaking the skis increases.

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At the same time, the closer you get to the South Pole, the more friction on the ice, making skiing more and more difficult.

– It’s so tiring that you don’t ski, you have to drag them. As far as I know the lead has been high for the last three or four days. And a little dramatic, because she had little food.

Drama ensued last weekend when the solar panel that powered Hertaker’s satellite phone, GPS and all necessary communication equipment was destroyed. As a result, she was about to lose all contact with the base that accompanied her on the way, which was responsible for her safety.

However, a few days later, a plane was dispatched that delivered a new solar panel to the Norwegian woman, allowing her to save her equipment and the possibility of communication.

Stay for a week

Now the dream has come true.

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But the arrival of the South Pole, and the research base located there, did not mean an immediate return for Hertaker.

– She was too “interested” to get back to earlier today because she had just caught a flight from the research base to Union Glacier. I know he had an emotional conversation with the security team a few days ago, where Bradley says he ordered a greasy burger upon arrival at the South Pole.

– Now she will be “stuck” for another week. But there she has facilities like food, toilet and bathroom. She stays in a tent there for a week before heading back to the Union Glacier and making quick trips to Chile and Norway.