Magazine article Geographical

Far Out

Magazine article Geographical

Far Out

Article excerpt

Adventurers have long been attracted to the icy wilderness of Antarctica. Take James Lynn, a snowboarder from South Carolina, who travelled there last year in search of the ultimate thrill.

Twenty-eight-year-old James Lynn from Greenville in South Carolina had set his heart on making a snowboard run in the vast, white wilderness of the Antarctic. Then, in February last year, Skip Novak -- best known for participating in four Whitbread Round the World Yacht Races -- invited Lynn to join him on his 16.5-metre steel sailing vessel, Pelagic, bound for the Antarctic.

Securing a bank loan for the cost of the trip, and armed with his snowboard, Lynn and the Pelagic crew, set off from the Argentinian port of Ushuaia on 10 February 1998. Four days later, they passed Smith Island as they sailed into and set up anchor inside Deception Island, a flooded volcanic island that is part of the South Shetland Islands, situated at the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula.

Manoeuvring through the tiny offshore islands and icebergs at night in fog and rain involved two days of constant watch. "There was an eerie calm with no wind. You could hardly see the icebergs, you just had to listen to them and drift with them," says Lynn.

Pelagic anchored several times over the next two weeks to allow Lynn to go ashore and snowboard. As far as he knows, Lynn is the first to snowboard in the Antarctic.

One such stop was Enterprise Island, a 2.5-kilometre long island off the west coast of Graham Land. It involved a near vertical climb from the shoreline up a 33-metre ice cliff, using ropes, pullies, ice screws and crampons, to the start of the run. …

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