This trip was about overcoming the mental difficulties of being alone. I’ve spent a lot of time in very remote areas by myself, but when the plane left me on the Ross Ice Shelf—the loneliest part of Antarctica, really—it hit me like a sledgehammer how far out there I was.
Physically, it’s about keeping your body together: checking for blisters, getting sleep. Antarctica is not flat, either. Coming up the Leverett Glacier, you gain a lot of elevation quickly—to 11,550 feet. I had two sledges, one behind the other, that weighed 187 pounds.
At one point I thought my tent might rip apart. The wind was blowing me backward on my skis, and I stupidly made camp when I should have kept going. I knew the wind would die down higher up, and it did. Four miles later there was just the slightest breeze.
Some of my best moments were also my worst. When I saw the coastal mountains—my goal—I cried. It was all very emotional. Then I panicked. It was like, Oh no! It’s over! Back in Chile, I was surrounded by the smells of life—grass, concrete—and all this color. The absence of those things is what makes Antarctica so different.