Mission to South Pole ends early

December 27, 2007 4:16:52 PM PST
A Center City businessman has pulled the plug on his solo adventure to the South Pole.

Todd Carmichael is just back from Antarctica. He is 27 pounds lighter than when he started his trek on November 27. He is still suffering from the psychological effects of a trip that didn't end the way he'd planned.

"The overall mission was to trek 700 miles from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and to do it faster than any other team has ever done it, in 45 days," he explained.

It has only been done twice before on the frigid terrain with 24-hour sunlight and temperatures of 40 degrees below zero.

Carmichael set off with a fellow British trekker. Five days in, his partner was evacuated because of a leg injury. Carmichael decided to press on alone.

"So I went 60 miles in three days, which had never been done which gave me a day and a half lead on the world record. I woke up the next morning and it was snowing and I thought, wow that's weird," he explained.

On a continent that gets an eighth of an inch of snow a year. It snowed 2 feet in 12 days. Carmichael kept going for three more weeks until the snow forced him to radio for rescue, 420 miles short of the South Pole.

"It was hard for me to accept it, when you put your heart into something," he said.

When he got home to his wife, singer-songwriter Lauren Hart, he ate an entire apple pie and half a cake for Christmas dessert.

Carmichael is working again at the warehouse for his Philadelphia-based gourmet coffee company, La Colombe, but he is also planning another South Pole attempt next year.

"I am really looking forward to going back and doing it all the way," he said.

To learn more about the mission, you can visit Carmichael's website at www.subzeroexped.com.