NORTH BEND, Wash. — Huge mountains barely poke through miles of snow in Antarctica.

"We cannot make a mistake," said Marty. 

"There's this sort of panic rising in you that always has to do with cold," said Chris.

Chris and Marty attempted to become the first American couple to reach the South Pole unsupported, an important distinction which means no snowmobiles, no dogs, no help. Just their skis and two 220-pound sleds with all of their gear and food.

"I could never allow myself to really, actually believe that we were gonna make it," said Marty. "Every single day, it was just the two of us out there, and nobody was coming."

Chris and Marty didn't just leave the comforts of civilization behind. They left behind Keenen, their only child.

"I was not sure about it at first when they talked about it," said Keenan. 

Chris and Marty trained near their home, pulling tires and their gear in the nearby mountains, sometimes bringing Keenan along. However, nothing can approximate the real thing.

"The first part of the expedition was a bit warmer," said Chris. Warmer meaning zero degrees.

Another day its 37 below, meaning that any minor mishap could turn lethal. 

"My mitten, day 5, got caught in the wind. One of my key pieces of gear got caught in the wind and started blowing off. So I went on this mad ski chase and I lunged for it and stabbed it with my ski pole," said Marty. 

They expected to take 40 days for the entire expedition. It takes a week longer. Chris loses 15 pounds, and Marty, 25.

"There were days where, you know, we both cried, couldn't believe that you hit day 40 and you have to get up and do this again," said Marty.

48 days later, Chris falls over once she spots the finish line, the research station at the South Pole. The first thing they do, is call home.

"We're all crying and I don't know what Keenan was doing. He sounded so happy for us to be done, so that moment will be forever burned in my mind as a great ending," said Chris.

Chris and Marty met climbing a mountain, they regularly run Ultra Marathons, but this is the hardest thing they've done and the most rewarding.

"It's the right thing we're doing," said Marty. "We both felt it was. You know, 20 or 30 years down the road, he's gonna look back at this and just be like 'Wow, I can't believe my parents did that,".

Chris and Marty's story is now available in a new book: The Expedition: Two Parents Risk Life and Family in an Extraordinary Quest to the South Pole.

Chris Fagan's Upcoming Book Talks

  • Friday, September 13th at 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM | Compass Outdoor Adventures | 201 W North Bend Way, North Bend, WA 98045
  • Thursday, September 19th at 6:30 PM - 8:00 PM | REI | 222 Yale Ave. N., Seattle, WA., 98109
  • Wednesday September 25th at 7:00 PM | The Balanced Spine | 1151 SW Sammamish Rd., Issaquah, WA 98027
  • Thursday, October 3rd at 6:30 PM | Pro Ski and Mountain Services | 112 W. 2nd St., North Bend, WA 98045

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