Gladwyne businessman Todd Carmichael has claimed the record for a solo walk across Antarctica to the South Pole.
Explorersweb.com, which collects expedition data, today reported that Carmichael, who arrived at the bottom of the world Sunday, completed his 700-mile journey in 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes. The previous record, set by Hannah McKeand of Britain in 2006, was 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes.
The difference - 1 hour and 44 minutes - was less than 0.2 percent of the time on the ice, said Explorersweb.com. If the difference were applied to a 100-meter dash, the site said, it would equal less than 0.02 seconds.
"I can only imagine how depleted he is, but from his voice on the phone, you'd never know it," said singer-songwriter Lauren Hart, Carmichael's wife, who spoke to him on Monday on a spotty phone call. "He thought he could do it, but deep down, when you get down into that kind of situation, I think that he must have been thinking a few times, 'What am I doing here?' "
Carmichael, 45, who co-owns the La Colombe coffee company, pushed off on skis from Hercules Inlet, on the edge of Antarctica, on Nov. 12. After problems with his ski bindings, Carmichael ditched the gear on Day 9 and walked. He averaged about 18 miles a day through the world's harshest environment.
Carmichael spoke to scientists at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station about his experience. Wayne Moore, a physician's assistant working at the pole, posted a medical update to SubZeroSolo.com, Carmichael's Web site: "To all his very concerned friends & family, he has made a rapid recovery from the trip and has become a local hero at the station."
Carmichael is one of only a handful of people to tackle the feat solo, without assistance, pulling a sled containing his tent and supplies. He had satellite phone and tracking beacons.
Carmichael sent text and audio dispatches to supporters following him on the Internet.
Carmichael is still at the pole, awaiting a flight back to the edge of the continent. Last year, Carmichael attempted an unassisted trek with a partner, who injured a leg early on and had to quit. Carmichael gave up after 24 days, and he walked up the couple's driveway on Christmas Day.
Hart expects him home in early January.
Carmichael, who trained by dragging weighted tractor tires on roller skis along Conshohocken State Road, left Philadelphia on Nov. 2.
Hart said she had no idea what her husband would try for an encore: "He's had a lot of time out there by himself to think. Too much time to think. He'll come up with something."