Interview with Pata Degerman: Longest Snowmobile attempt on Antarctica

Patrick “Pata” Degerman (leader), Pekka Ojanpää, Mika Listala and Jón Ólafur Magnusson are off to Antarctica on a 4,280 km snowmobile expedition.

According to AdventureStats, the first recorded skidoo / snowmobile expedition on Antarctica was in 1980-81 when a traverse was done by 3 Brits from SANAE Base in Queen Maud Land (QML), via the Geographic South Pole to Scott Base, a distance of 3,600 km. Today a new set of snowmobiles are flying to Antarctica; from Cape Town with ALCI’s Ilyushin-76.

Finland veteran explorer, Patrick “Pata” Degerman, is leading a team to attempt driving from Novolazarevskaya (QML) to the South Pole and return to Novo; 4,280 km in a straight line. If successful, it will be the longest snowmobile expedition on Antarctica. On the way back they will also attempt to climb an unclimbed mountain. Team members are Pekka Ojanpää (FI), Mika Listala (FI), and Jón Ólafur Magnusson (IS). “Pata has handpicked the members of the expedition,” Catarina Degerman, Pata’s sister and home team manager, told Explorersweb / Pythom.” Here is a short presentation of the crew.” The Lynx Snowmobiles they use are made in north Finland and modified for the expedition.

We caught up with Pata in Cape Town where he told us more about man and machine.

Explorersweb/Pythom: How many snowmobiles? One each?

Pata: Yes, one each, so four (4) all in all. In addition to that, we are dragging 3 sledges per snowmobile. It will be a long train ; )

Explorersweb/Pythom: Will there be a vehicle from Arctic Trucks driving with you?

Pata: No. We will not have cars as a support. Most likely we will see Gisli and the guys at FD83, which is their refuelling camp, approx. 750 km from the Pole.

I presume you will follow the car tracks to the Pole.

Pata: Yes, if we can see them. At some points they have been covered with drifting snow, but then we will stick to their GPS route.

How about crevasse detection? Do you have detectors?

Pata: No, we don´t have detectors. We will stick to the route that has been driven by cars before. When we come to the mountains where we will climb, there will be skiing and regular sledge pulling.

Will you receive food and stove fuel resupplies along the way (resupplies)?

Pata: The food and whitegas for our Primus stoves will be carried with us all the way, or actually some food will be left behind on our 9 fuel drops on the way. At least here the ice is not moving like going to the North… and no polar bears to eat our stashed food : )

What about fuel for the snowmobiles? Will you receive fuel along the way? At ALCI’s depots? More depots?

Pata: Yes, we will tank once about 750km from the Pole. Must be one of the most remote gas stations in the world.

Tell us a bit about your snowmobiles and sleds please? What make them special?

Pata: Our Finnish made Lynx Commander Touratech snowmobiles are the Rolls Royce of the snowmobiles. Heavy duty work horses with comfort. Reliability is their strength as many countries special forces use the same model. Our sledges that we will pull behind us are manufactured in Sweden and can withstand heavy loads and terrain. [Here is link to a 3 minutes video where Pata and part of the team present the snowmobile.]

Who will repair the snowmobiles if they break? What spares do you carry with?

Pata: We have Mika! Mika will repair everything you give him. This has been seen many times. You can ask him to repair your computer, helicopter, satellite phone or snowmobile. He just has an understanding of any technical equipment.

How do you protect the engines against the cold, and get them started again in the mornings? Or will you not switch them off?

Pata: We have to switch them off to minimize pollution and to save fuel. About starting: These snowmobiles have been tested and used in really cold conditions up in North Lapland where the temperature can drop to -50°C. Of course it can be colder on Antarctica but it is seldom that cold during the summertime. And then if they would not start, we always have Mika ; )

Gear:

Pata: We have about 80kg / person of clothes and gear. As this is my sixth expedition to Antarctica, I have got a fairly good understanding of the equipment needed. That said, I have never sat on a snowmobile on Antarctica that long, which have put an extra dimension to it. As an example, our down jacket is classified as a piece of art in Sweden. The Fjällräven Expedition down jacket is two down jackets sewn together to one jacket. The wind will not penetrate a jacket like that. The rest of the equipment is pretty much the best you can find. Most of the driving gear will be provided by Lynx. You don´t have so many options when Antarctica is the target.

Catarina: Snowmobiles and driving gear: Lynx BRP; Clothes, alpine gear: Fjällräven; Tents: Fjällräven. The expedition will also carry a BIG tent which can be put up around a snowmobile if they need to repair it; GPS: Garmin; Drones: Yuneec; Panasonic Toughbooks. They will survive in really cold conditions. But in case they die, Mika have fixed a warming system from two heaters he pulled out from his car mirrors!

Anything else?

Pata: You can follow us on www.lynxadventure.com and Patrick “Pata” Degerman on Facebook. We will send updates as much as we can during the next month.

Pata Degerman has travelled globally on adventures involving different climbing disciplines, kayaking, hiking, off-road driving and many other forms of adventure. His expeditions have ranged from the Arctic to the Antarctic, Himalayas, Jungles, Oceans and less explored areas. He has studied Art and Design, and has a wife and two children.

Previous on Explorersweb

ExWeb interview with Aron Reynisson (part 1), It is by no means easy to drive to the South Pole (2010)

ExWeb interview with Aron Reynisson (final): We literarily tear the vehicles apart and rebuild them with components proven to tolerate the cold climate (2010)

ExWeb interview with The Tractor Girl, Manon Ossevoort: “I created a story that ultimately just had to become a real-life adventure” (Part 1 of 2) (2013)

ExWeb interview with The Tractor Girl, Manon Ossevoort: machines, mechanics, modifications and mates (Part 2 of 2) (2013)

Antarctic wrap-up: G’doo! Mr. Park arrives SP on green skidoo (2011)

South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

Exweb South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt

[UPDATE 2] Risto Hallikainen, solo South Pole return ski attempt (Interview) From Finland

1989: Arved Fuchs traversed Antarctica, with Messner (Interview)

Ryan Waters to guide Fuchs-Messner route (Antarctica 2016-17 interview)

Canadian Sébastien Lapierre to attempt solo ski to South Pole (Interview)

Cycle Antarctica: Hank van Weelden Pole to Coast attempt (Interview)

Emma Kelty: speed ski and return attempt (Exweb South Pole interview)

Eric Philips, South Pole 2016-17 New Start Point attempt (Interview)

Previous/Related on Explorersweb/Pythom:

2016-17 Antarctica Expedition List

Sit-skier aborted expedition; Mike Horn started kite-ski traverse

The late Henry Worsley’s family on Antarctica

Front skiers in 85ºS; SPoT vehicles at the Pole – UPDATED

Antarctica Current: Polar How-To-Guide Heads-Up

HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software)

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:

To ALCI base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo

70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E

Weather:

http://earth.nullschool.net/

https://www.windyty.com/

South Pole webcam 90ºS

The Coldest Place on Earth

#polar #antarctica #Southpole #thepoles #southpolesnowmobiles #lynxantarctica #patadegerman

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