18 days, 4 hours, 43 minutes. That’s all it took for 19-year old Parker Liautaud to make it to the South Pole and into the record books. And following his every move on the 314.58-mile journey from Antarctic coast to Pole was the Ice Broker, a six-metre long, custom-built Toyota Hilux 6x6.
Before Parker and his teammate Doug Stoup began their epic, unassisted trek across the wastes of Antarctia, the Ice Broker had already proved itself to be the perfect vehicle to get them to their starting point on the Ross Ice Shelf.
Travelling 1,112.5 miles over treacherous fields of sastrugi (wave-like ridges of hard snow and ice), deep snow, and the very real threat of hidden crevasses, the going was arduous, but expert polar guide Eyjofur Teitsson and the Hilux 6x6’s 44-inch wheels made light work of it. With no fuel stations en route, the truck had to carry its own fuel for the journey, so the Ice Broker was adapted to use special jet fuel that made it more efficient to drive.
Once the record attempt was under way, Parker and Doug skied for up to 12 hours a day, through white-outs, blizzards and -50°C temperatures, covering almost 18 miles on average every day. Tracking them from a safe distance (this was an unsupported trek after all), the Ice Broker acted as the communications hub for the expedition, filming the pair’s progress and beaming live streaming footage to online viewers and even transmitting a couple of live interviews via satellite to TV news programmes in the US. Part of the Hilux 6x6’s 2.6-tonne load also included special equipment and snow samples collected by the team for a number of scientific experiments.
So what’s next for the young adventurer? Undoubtedly Parker will be returning to the Pole in the future, but for now “I’m going to kick back for a little while,” he says.