SNOW GO: Charles Werb and the solar-powered snow sailor he plans to take to the Antarctic.
SNOW GO: Charles Werb and the solar-powered snow sailor he plans to take to the Antarctic. Contributed

Antarctic trek plans put on ice due to lack of snow

A SUNSHINE Coast academic's Antarctic expedition has been put on hold - ironically, because of a lack of snow.

Dr Adrian McCallum, a lecturer in science and engineering at the University of Sunshine Coast, had planned to spend Christmas sailing across the frozen expanse on solar-powered snow sailor.

Instead, he will be home in Australia, contemplating a 12-month wait until conditions improve.

Dr McCallum was to lead the Outer Edge Polar Challenge Ride for Leukaemia, which was the brainchild of Adventure Publishing man-aging editor Charles Werb.

The team was due to land in Novo Base on December 19 and make the unassisted 4500km return trip from the polar plateau to the geographic South Pole - breaking world records and raising money for leukaemia.

But the hazardous ground conditions made the journey unsafe, with no guarantee the team could be rescued if something went wrong.

"They could lift us onto the plateau, that wasn't a problem," a disappointed Mr Werb said. "But there was no guarantee on going back through the mountains."

Ultimately, it was Dr McCallum's decision to delay the trek and Mr Werb said he was finding it difficult to "get his head around the news".

"I'm angry. I'm upset. I'm frustrated. I'm all of the above," he said. "It's difficult. I've lived it and breathed it and financed it for probably the last year-and-a-half.

"You set yourself up. You set yourself goals. And I spent 12 months training to get to a level to do this."

While Mr Werb's focus was on enjoying the challenge and attempting to break several speed records, Dr McCallum planned to engage with students worldwide through daily updates.

The team's third member, Jonathon Moody, will film a documentary and stream live footage via satellite.



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