Meet the youngest person to trek to the South Pole on their own

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In 2019 Matthieu Tordeur became the youngest person to reach the South Pole solo, unsupported and unassisted.

The hiker completed the 1,130-kilometre expedition across Antarctica from Hercules Inlet in 51 days, battling -30 degree Celsius temperatures.

When asked about his inspirations, Tordeur said: "People like Ranulph Fiennes, Ben Saunders, and for the French, Jean-Louis Étienne who was the first man to reach the North Pole solo in 1986.

"These guys fascinated me for ages and one day I just thought 'I could try to do a similar expedition' and there I went!"

Unassisted means Tordeur didn’t have any help physically during his journey from Hercules Inlet, a common starting point on the western side of Antarctica for journeys to the South Pole.

"I didn’t use any kind of kite to propel myself or any dogs to reach the South Pole, I was skiing all the way," he explained.

As for being unsupported, Tordeur didn’t receive any help with supplies like food or keeping warm.

“It was just me and Antarctica,” he recalled as he was completely alone until he reached the pole.

Tordeur dedicated two years to several practice expeditions before his trip to Antarctica where he camped in places like Greenland and Svalbard, a small archipelago off the coast of Norway.

"I trained in real conditions, in the arctic where I was dragging a sled and camping in frozen temperatures. It takes a lot of dedication and time to train for such an adventure."

He even took part in the annual Marathon des Sables, an event that consists of a 250 km course through the Sahara Desert where participants have to carry all their supplies in backpacks.

This is similar to what Tordeur needed to do in Antarctica where he dragged a giant sled along the ice with 115 kg worth of equipment.

Most of that weight was the huge amount of food Tordeur had to carry for himself which was made up of things like "chocolate and dehydrated energy snacks."

More than seven weeks alone in the snow does sound brutal, so being able to cope with the conditions and loneliness is important.

"I was thinking about future plans and projects. It's such a beautiful place that boredom and loneliness just pass."

He was also able to keep in touch with friends and family by sending daily updates of his whereabouts, so they also shared his excitement when he finally reached the pole on January 13, 2019.

"Obviously it was the end of 51 days of walking alone, but it was also the end of two years of training and planning."

He was greeted by research scientists at Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station and took pictures by the physical South pole surrounded by several national flags.

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