Antarctic Tears: Determination, adversity, and the pursuit of a dream at the bottom of the world by Aaron Linsdau

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Emotions run high in this true polar adventure. It's a story of triumph, harrowing danger, and outright adventure. In 2012, Aaron Linsdau left his entire life behind.

Gone was the engineering career. He told his family and girlfriend that he wanted to pursue a dream to do something no other American had ever accomplished. He wanted to be the first to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back without aid or support. Alone.

The journey to the South Pole covers over 700 miles through the most forbidding frozen terrain on the planet. The temperature is always below zero and gale force winds routinely roar across the ice. The polar plateau is devoid of life. There are no plants, animals, or insects. Antarctica provides no shelter, no protection, and is unforgiving of any mistake.

But before the expedition was to start, there was much to do. Linsdau trekked 100 miles across the Greenland tundra. He skied across Yellowstone in the winter, camping in -45 degree temperatures. Towing tires up mountains and eating 4000 calories a day was preparation for Antarctica.

Previous expeditions have lost tents, helplessly watching them blow over the horizon. Many explorers have quit or been rescued. What began as a brave adventure into the unknown turned into a battle for survival.

Linsdau takes the reader to Antarctica. They experience incredible storms, skiing blind through whiteouts, crossing invisible crevasses, and skirting disaster. The book shows what happened every day of the expedition.

The air is cold enough to freeze water in seconds and cause frostbite in minutes. Only outer space is less hospitable. Driven by passion, he sacrifices nearly everything to make his dream come true. This is a story about personal discovery, testing the limits of human endurance, total dedication to achieving a goal, and never giving up even when both body and equipment fail.

There were many surprises during Aaron Linsdau's expedition to the South Pole...

Linsdau speaks about this extraordinary experience to audiences world-wide.


Antarctic Tears was a really fascinating read. I love the cold and the snow and I have always wanted to visit Antarctica. If you would have told me about trekking across Antarctica before reading this book I would have probably said that sounds like fun. I think I would enjoy that. But now, having read Linsdau's account, I don't think it is for me. You have to be okay with being uncomfortable and I am not. I like backpacking, I like camping outside, but this is a step farther than I am willing to go.

Aaron Linsdau had a plan to hike unsupported to the South Pole and back. He wanted to be the first American to do so. I found his whole journey completely fascinating. So many things he had to think about and take into account both before and during his trip. Training to do an antarctic expediation sounds crazy. I mean how can you really get the same conditions you would have there? You can't. You can only do your best to be prepared and hope for the best.

Now Aaron's trek doesn't go completely as planned. There were so many setbacks I kept thinking I don't even know if he will make it to the pole much less there and back. I loved the descriptions of the setting. How everything is white on white and in some spots very dissorienting because it is just a flat white plane. It is like you are not moving because nothing changes. Or you have those huge fields of sastrugi that he had to go around or through and man it seems like a lot of work. Those sastrugi fields alone would be enough to say no thanks. I just cannot imagine completing such a task. It is amazing that people do. And to do it alone...that is a long time to be out and not see anyone else let alone talk to someone else. To be so alone there is usually not even any signs of life would be amazing, but I don't think I could do it for as long as he did. A few days would be fun, but then I might go a bit crazy. Though I am sure it was so incredibly beautiful. And hard. And dangerous. And amazing. Really to even try and do something that he did would be a big accomplishment.

Through all of the ups and downs I was enthralled from the first pages. From eating blocks of frozen butter to trying to make some milage everyday I couldn't put the book down. I kept stopping and sharing what was happening with my husband because it is fascinating. I never knew anyone who did such a thing, and I have never read a book or seen a movie or anything about it. The closest I have come is watching/reading about climbing Everest which is an entirely different beast. I really enjoyed this story. If you think the idea of traveling across Antarctica sounds interesting you should give it a read. It was a lot of fun and I commend the author for sticking to it and trying to complete his goals. It would have been really easy to give up and go home before he needed to. I probably would have, but like I said I don't like being really uncomfortable. It was a great read.

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★1/2


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