Colin O'Brady Becomes First Person to Cross Antarctica Solo — Then Makes Tearful Call to Wife

Colin O'Brady, a 33-year-old American athlete and climber, began his journey almost two months ago and finally finished the 932-mile trek on Wednesday

Photo: Colin O'Brady/Instagram

Colin O’Brady has earned himself another world record by becoming the first person to complete a solo, unaided trip across Antarctica.

The 33-year-old American athlete and explorer began his journey almost two months ago and finally finished the 932-mile trek on Wednesday. He started to cross the final 77.54 miles early Christmas morning in “one continuous ‘Antarctica Ultramarathon’ push to the finish line,” which he completed in just over 32 hours, he wrote on Instagram.

“I don’t know, something overcame me,” O’Brady said in a telephone interview with the New York Times. “I just felt locked in for the last 32 hours, like a deep flow state.”

“I didn’t listen to any music — just locked in, like I’m going until I’m done,” he continued. “It was profound, it was beautiful, and it was an amazing way to finish up the project.”

O’Brady commemorated his accomplishment on Instagram as well and has been documenting his entire journey there.

“The wooden post in the background of this picture marks the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, where Antarctica’s land mass ends and the sea ice begins,” he wrote on Wednesday. “As I pulled my sled over this invisible line, I accomplished my goal: to become the first person in history to traverse the continent of Antarctica coast to coast solo, unsupported and unaided.”

Colin O'Brady/Instagram
Colin O'Brady/Instagram

O’Brady said he only had one thing on his mind once he took his final step: his family and wife, Jenna Besaw. Immediately upon finishing, he gave her an emotional call.

“I want to simply recognize my #1 who I, of course, called immediately upon finishing. I burst into tears making this call. I was never alone out there. @jennabesaw you walked every step with me and guided me with your courage and strength. WE DID IT!! We turned our dream into reality,” he wrote on Instagram.

This is not O’Brady’s first “impossible feat” accomplished: He is a two-time record holder for the speed records in the Explorers Grand Slam and Seven Summits (skiing to the North and South Poles, along with climbing the highest peaks on each of the seven continents).

“I was getting emotional, nostalgic,” O’Brady told the Times about his last Antarctic stretch.

“I was reviewing the entirety of the expedition in my mind,” he said, “and I was aware I’m going to tell this story for the rest of my life, but I told myself: You’re living this right now — live it! It was just getting deep with the senses. What does it sound like when your skis scrape against the snow? What does it taste like out here? Really just try and just live the experience.”

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