Antarctica: No gear for Emma, no good weather for Michele – UPDATE 2

Patience and frustration before the start – otherwise, gear loaded in Punta Arenas. UPDATES: Emma’s plan of action

[UPDATED Nov 3, 2016 to reflect flight departure time from Punta Arenas, and Emma’s situation]

[UPDATED Nov. 2, 2016, to reflect Emma’s gear situation, she reported to Exweb/Pythom – see below Emma’s story]

Interactive Map of Antarctica Skiing Routes

The return and traverse teams on the Chilean side are scheduled to fly to Antarctica tomorrow, October 3rd (weather permitting), with ALE. Packed sleds and resupplies are on the Ilyushin-76, except Emma Kelty’s gear that is stuck in customs due to a strike.

On the South African side, ACLI has already flown Michele Pontrandolfo to Antarctica, but the weather prevents him from starting his expedition.

In Punta Arenas

EMMA KELTY Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole – Hercules Inlet 2230 km, Resupply at the Pole

Emma reported on October 28, “I have arrived in Punta – 5 days here, sorting kit again before flying to Antarctica. It’s soo close now.” But not, her gear didn’t arrive in Punta Arenas and she had to watch the other teams packing. Emma’s gear got stuck in Santiago, and although it has arrived in Punta only this morning, the strike is preventing it from getting through customs.

“This was probably the least expected but possibly the most frustrating news to be delivered,” Emma stated. She has to finish her expedition by January 27th when the season closes.

“If miss the first flight on Thursday (weather permitting) then I will have to wait until the next flight on the 8th November (weather permitting). If therefore I get on the 8th flight and it takes off on that day, I would have lost 6 days.

But that’s 80 days less 6 days, then there is the wait to get weather clearance to fly to the start line not to mention the needed shake out that was expected in the 5 days in Punta ….So, That’s 80 less 10, 12, 15? Who knows, but for each day that passes/ delayed it just ups my mileage per day…. And there are only so many miles that can be skied in a day especially when 80mph winds howl, whiteouts and with the harsh changing weather.

As this was always going to be a push … I need every day on the ice….. In short, this is not good news. Although in reality, I know my stubbornness will rise to the challenge and if I need to do 12,13,14 hour days, then so be it, but it’s an added risk that I would prefer not to take. […] In short, this causes delays, less time skiing, frantic sorting out my kit on the ice and loss of weight before I get on the ice. Not good at all.”

UPDATED Nov. 2, 2016, 8:30 pm, to reflect Emma’s gear situation, she reported to Exweb/Pythom:

“No chance at all being on the flight and if I left it in the hands of the flight/freight persons – I won’t be on the second either. My kit apparently is still in Santiago after being told that it was defiantly going to arrive in Punta today! Latest news is on my Facebook page that I will keep on updating. I am flying up within a few hours with the hope that I can hire a van and bring it back myself! I refuse to be beaten by this!!!”

UPDATED Nov. 3, 2016, to reflect Emma’s gear situation

Emma flew to Santiago last night to personally talk to customs to release her expedition gear. “All worth it, because I am physically shaking at the moment and made a complete fool of myself, when, after many conversations with many people who have just been truly wonderful, they told me that my kit will be flown to Punta at 14.05 today. They want me to achieve my dream. […] I was a fool because I couldn’t stop myself from crying ….. I mean crying over luggage …. but it was a great moment :-)”

Good news for Emma is that the Ilyushin-76 flight from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier (Antarctica) has been postponed due to bad weather. Next scheduled time is Saturday, November 5th. This will give Emma sufficient time to repack her gear, organise her resupply, and get all the food and fuel she needs for 80 days.

JOHANNA DAVIDSSON Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole – Hercules Inlet (kite back) 2230 km, Resupply at the Pole

Johanna reported that all her luggage has been weighed and loaded on the Ilyushin-76 this morning (Chilean time). She is only 5kg overweight. Very excited: “If the weather is good I will fly down south to ANTARCTICA tomorrow!!!!”

SPEAR17 Hercules Inlet – GSP – Shackleton Glacier 1100 miles traverse, Resupply at the Pole

The British Army team, SPEAR17, has finished their packing, repacking, getting rid of unnecessary packaging; this took them four days. Their maximum weight limit for the Ilyushin-76 to fly in to Antarctica is 900 kg, and the weighed in at exactly 900, the team reported. Each person has 108 kg of food for the planned 80 days.

They wrote in their blog, “Weight is so critical that sawing the end off your toothbrush is only the start point. Food is stripped of all packaging and repacked in lightweight plastic bags. Labels are cut off clothes and tent mates share nail clippers, clothes will not be changed for at least 50 days. The main weight becomes life essentials. Food, communications kit, cookers, tents and maps.”

the kit will be picked up and loaded on the plane at 1100, after that no changes can be made, and the team must have everything they need for both the first leg, and for the resupply they’ll pick up at the South Pole.

Michele Pontrandolfo at Novo

The only skier/kiter on Antarctica at the moment is Italian Michele Pontrandolfo. He left Cape Town for Novolazarevskaya on October 29th with ALCI. “Unfortunately during the last 3 days the weather conditions weren’t the best and Michele is supposed to start his journey tomorrow,” Anna Bongiorno from his sponsor Moncler told Explorersweb/Pythom today.

The expedition goal is to become the first Antarctica solo expedition without external support (resupplies) from Novolazarevskaya to Hercules Inlet via the South Pole of Inaccessibility and the Geographic South Pole. In 2014-15, Canadian Frédéric Dion travelled the same route, covering mammoth distances with his kites. Unfortunately he had to receive a new sled on route, and he had received food at the South Pole. Outside assistance is not allowed for a solo claim, according to the Rules of Adventure on AdventureStats.

Check in again as Michele’s home team will be talking to him tonight for an update on the conditions at Novo.

Follow teams’ blogs with RSS Feeds in the Dispatch Stream at

Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

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

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

Exweb South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt


Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

ALE and ALCI open Antarctica season

Michele Pontrandolfo to attempt solo Antarctic Traverse again

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Antarctic Researcher died in the field (October 2016)

Antarctica Current: Polar How-To-Guide Heads-Up for Polar Statistics and Rules

Explorers House for a map with interactive South Pole ski routes.

HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software)

Logistic operators:

ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions)

ALCI (Antarctic Logistics Center International)

Weather Maps:

#polar #antarctica #Southpole #thepoles