NEWS

Frédéric Dion sets record for reaching centre of Antarctica

12/15/2014 08:51 EST | Updated 02/14/2015 05:59 EST
Quebec adventurer and motivational speaker Frédéric Dion reached his goal Monday by becoming the first person in the world to make it to the center of the south pole alone — and he did it in record time.

“It’s a great day!” Dion told CBC Radio One Homerun host Sue Smith via satellite phone.

“It’s a strange feeling. I’m very happy I reached my goal but I’m still hundreds of kilometres far away from human beings.”

The journey has been accomplished only twice before by two groups of adventurers back in 2006 and 2011.

Both groups took over 45 days to reach their goal — Dion did it in 36.

Other adventurers have set records by trekking unaccompanied to Antarctica, but not to the Southern pole of inaccessibility, which is situated almost 900 kilometres east of the South Pole and has an altitude of more than 3,700 metres. 

Since his 2,100-kilometre trek began on Nov. 10, Dion has encountered -50 C temperatures, blizzards and winds blowing up to 150 kilometres per hour.

​“My frostbite all healed. My body’s is good. I lost a lot of pounds that’s for sure — I’m skinny now,” Dion said, adding that he alternated between skies and a sled to cover ground.

“For the last 22 kilometres, I decided to leave the sled because it was too slow. So I put all I needed for my safety in my backpack and I spent the last 22 kilometres travelling upwind, which is hard, but I reached my goal!”

Dion said once he reached the centre of the South Pole, he didn’t stay long to admire the scenery.

“It was so cold — very cold — so I just took pictures and left very fast. I travelled the last 22 kilometres to get back to my tent, and started the stove to have something hot to drink.”

Dion now has to travel another 900 kilometres back to shore before he can get back home to Quebec to his wife and daughters sometime in January.

“I won’t be home for Christmas, and they knew that. I’ll just finish my adventure, do my best here and [join] them after that.”

MORE:cbcNews