Two years ago a man died trying to take on "the new Everest." Now, the New York Times reports that two more men are attempting the feat, and they're racing to not only conquer a frozen continent, but also each other. Both 33-year-old Colin O'Brady and 49-year-old Louis Rudd are vying, separately, to become the first person to make a solo, 921-mile trek across Antarctica without support, pitting a British "old-school adventurer" and military man (Rudd) against "a seasoned adventure athlete and budding social media star" (O'Brady). After grueling training regimens, they set off on Nov. 3 from the Ronne Ice Shelf, and both hope to make it to the finish line (the Ross Ice Shelf) in about two months' time, through some of the most extreme conditions and while dragging sleds that initially weighed 375 pounds each. They can't accept "so much as a cup of tea" from anyone along the way.
In 2016, Rudd's friend, Henry Worsley, attempted the feat before turning back, then tragically died of organ failure after being airlifted out. English explorer Ben Saunders made the attempt last year, but he ended his quest at Mile 805. Rudd announced his plans in April, while O'Brady sprung his own surprise on the world in October, so when the men first met up in Punta Arenas, Chile, "there was a lot of tension and distrust." But they ended up bonding as they both discovered in the other a similar drive to pull off the unprecedented feat. When they embarked, they hugged before departing, with Rudd noting: "Good luck. I think we're both going to make it." More on their journey in the ice-covered no man's land in the Times and National Geographic, which notes that some contend this feat has already been accomplished. (Read more about Worsley's ill-fated journey.)