Remembering The Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge

Courtesy of WOWSA, Patagonia, Chile.

The first 5 people to successfully attempt and complete an Ice Mile took off on a South American adventure in February 2011.

Over a 6-day period, 53-year-old Ram Barkai, 37-year-old Ryan Stramrood, 36-year-old Kieron Palframan, 47-year-old Toks Viviers, and 41-year-old Andrew Chin of South Africa develop a tandem extreme swim series that they called the Patagonia Extreme Cold Water Challenge.

The group swim was nominated for the 2011 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year and was inspired by Lynne Cox and her book, Swimming to Antarctica.

Their swims included the following:

1st swim: 4.31 km one-way crossing of Strait of Magellan on February 16th 2011 performed in 25-30 knot winds and 1.5-knot cross currents in 9°C water (although the Chilean Navy measured the water at 4°C with its laser gun) in 1 hour 10 minutes

2nd swim: 2.92 two-way crossing of the Beagle_Channel in February 19th 2011 in 4-knot cross currents and 9-knot winds in 8°C water (although the Chilean Navy measured the water at 6°C) in 57 minutes

3rd swim: 3.18 km one-way crossing of Cape Horn on February 22nd 2011 from lighthouse to lighthouse in 1.5-knot currents and 9-knot winds in 7°C water in 1 hour

Although the quintet had completed Ice Miles, the event was logistical challenge as they had to travel to the tip of South America. They explored the outer reaches of their physiological limits and proved to themselves, all done in wind-whipped seas, how to achieve with little time to recover.

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