Johanna in reach of World Record; Horn, a cat with 9 lives

When she started at Hercules Inlet, Johanna Davidsson had no intention to set a Female World Record. With a spirit of adventure, she easily covered 35+ km per day. In Queen Maud Land, Mike Horn is making good progress with his sea-to-sea traverse. At Union Glacier, watch a video of skydivers.

One of the tips Swedish solo lady Johanna Davidsson got from her mentors is, “Make sure [to get] get out of the sleeping bag, don’t snooze!” she told Explorersweb/Pythom in an interview. It seems she didn’t snooze. With 35+ kilometer per day distances on her skis, she is now well in reach of the breaking the Female Speed Ski World Record on Antarctica, as calculated on the classic 1130 km Hercules Inlet route. Johanna, a nurse, residing in Tromso, started out late afternoon November 15. The current record is 39d 9h 33min, set by Brit Hannah McKeand 10 years ago. The AdventureStats team and Johanna’s home team are keeping an eye on the stopwatch. Follow her tracker as she gets closer to the Pole. [Update December 25, 2016, Johanna set a new Female Solo World Record]

Solo MIke Horn, who stepped off his boat on the continent, traveled across a crevassed filled glacier to get through the mountains, and broke through a snow bridge. It was close call, and he feels like a cat with 9 lives. He does well with the kiting, which is dangerous at times.

Yesterday marked the Summer Solstice in the Southern Hemisphere, with the longest day and shortest night, but the skiers experience 24-hours daylight with the sun circling on it’s highest in the sky.

Hundred years ago, December 20, 1911, Shackleton sailed aboard the Aurora from Port Chalmers, New Zealand, to rescue the Ross Sea party.

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Rerun – AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

S70.1015 W009.8249 start point DML, unassisted kite-support crossing: Mike Horn

Lat -71.4761, lon 010.1478 Sun Dec 18 2016, 11:24pm “I’m very close to the mountains, and I must find a way through them, crossed many crevasses. It was a cold morning but a warm evening. It snowed a little after mid-day. The Queen Maude Lands Mountains are amazing. The wind was very unpredictable today, had to change kites 5 times. Used the storm kite for most of the day!”

Mon Dec 19 2016 :: 11:50pm, lat -71.8869, lon 010.1253, “In the tent late tonight. Made 45 km today. I’m half-way through the mountains, climbing up a steep glacier, littered with crevasses and not many solid snow bridges. Taking it very slow now, after I broke through one! I feel like a cat with 9 lives. I’m at the altitude of 2045m. Very long day, I’m smashed from pulling a heavy sled 500m uphill. Regards to all.”

Wed Dec 21 2016 :: 10:33pm lat -72.8500 lon 010.0833 “I made 66km today, used the 4 sq meter storm kite, and even that was a handful to manage. My ski came off, flying over a snowdrift. It was a massive balancing act to stop the kite and avoid the sled. It was a very hard landing. Walked back, got my ski, and back on the horse. Gained altitude as well, and tonight I’m sleeping at 3,030m. It is much colder here, and the wind cuts like a knife. Can’t wait to sleep, but first I have to melt snow to cook some pasta primavera.”

Hercules Inlet 80ºS start point unassisted to the Pole

Johanna Davidson: In a white-out, the sastrugi in the notorious fields made her fall over, but she calls the strange shapes her new snow-formation friends, and described them as artworks. Despite the white-out, she covered 35 km. Lunch on her sled is freeze-dried food coffee and cake. Johanna said she does not get much news updates there from the rest of the world, but her sister told her that the situation in Aleppo is really bad. That was on her mind on the ice yesterday. Location: 2016-12-21, 23:17Z, Latitude: 89.191625, Longitude: 078.745128, Altitude: 2764 meter.

Risto Hallikainen: Risto messaged Explorersweb/Pythom, saying that the sastrugi fields slow him down. Home team member, Vesa Luomala, told us he talked to Risto on the phone on the 19th. “He has entered sastrugi-zone and it seemed to have started from same place it started for me, around 86,40 (minutes). He has also noticed that cannot much increase speed even though sledge is lighter. Risto plans to do one more depot and be at Pole after 10-11 days from now. Then he would have approx 25 days for return, which would mean ~45 kilometers per day for return journey. He says his tired but no serious injuries. I suggested that he should try to find room for one total rest day when the weather is bad next time. We’ll see. It won’t be easy but I’m positive he has a good chance to complete the journey. If Risto is successful in return, that would be first Finnish return journey (there hasn’t been return or crossing) to either Pole.”

Sébastien Lapierre experienced “brutal” weather, and a white-out day, but he is “having a great time”. Latest report from the Canadian, after 23 days, 3 hours and 20 minutes (approximately) that he has reached 85 degrees South. Halfway to the Pole.

Małgorzata Wojtaczka experienced a few days of snow. Clouds caused low visibility. But the sun came out again and it was warmer. Location 22/Dec/2016 16:00:00 UTC, 84° 31.109S, 081° 34.623W, at 1,317 m above sea level.

Lou Rudd (leader), Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Alun George and James Facer-Childs: The Army Reservists: The men crossed 88 degrees on the 19th. Temperatures are much colder and they cover up. The Twin Otter buzzed them on a fly-by to the Pole, with cyclist Hank onboard. “Really exciting to see the pilot come over and it gave its wings a little waggle as it disappeared over the horizon,” reported Lou. The 20th “provided some extraordinary highs and some punishing lows,” said Ollie. He suffered from abdominal pains. Latest update: Lou described it as another tough day, in a white-out with zero visibility, no definition between the sky and the ground, no horizon visible. He had to keep his eyes on the compass the whole day. They are about to cross 89ºS. Lou said when they arrive at the Pole, he will make an assessment, whether it is feasible to continue with a crossing. The team doctor will examine the team, looking particularly at weight loss, current injuries, etc.

Fuchs-Messner 82ºS start point unassisted to the Pole

Ryan Waters (US) guiding for Mountain Professionals: Katrina Follows (England, lives in Chamonix), Paul Adams (USA) and Scott Kress (CA): The team worked hard and persistently through the notorious sastrugi fields in 87 degrees to reach better terrain. “The weather has been a bit more challenging too, as we finally got some real Antarctica conditions… of white outs, low contrast light and really cold wind. Up here on the plateau it has dropped several degrees and the wind bites more!” reported Ryan. Location 2016-12-21 Time: 21:02Z Latitude: -88.263323, Longitude: -082.500243, Altitude: 2663 meter.

Reedy Glacier 85ºS unassisted

Eric Philips guide, Rob Smith and Keith Tuffley: The guys passed two empty and weathered fuel drums. Daily they encountered crevasses as they climbed the glacier. Keith had close encounters. The men roped up. The widest they crossed was 60m and had their strung-out trio on the crevasse at the same time. “But a solid bridge covered in small sastrugi gave me assurance. Later we found collapsed bridges, always in highly slumped areas,” reported Eric. Temperatures got colder. Keith peddled, pushed and pulled his bike. Latest: Rob got ski lessons. His frozen face mask got attached to his chin, and when he tore it off, it ripped all the hair out of his beard. He also reported cold hands, cold face, sores, blisters, and the injured heel and ankle. Eric: A brutal day with wind, bad visibility, and sastrugi. Camp 15 Camp 15 Elevation: 2400 m Latitude: 86° 53’ 34” South Longitude: 126° 35’ 36” West

Hercules Inlet to South Pole – emergency assisted

Emma Kelty experienced low visibility and says on Day 35, Dec 19, “… time is increasingly too short to do the return….” Yesterday she entered 87 degrees with the dense sastrugi.

Fuchs-Messner route to South Pole – assisted (three resupplies)

Carl Alvey guiding for ALE, Bob Maxwell: no new news.

Cycling South Pole to Hercules Inlet – assisted

Hank van Weelden has been dropped at the South Pole where he spent two days to acclimatize. The Pole is 3,000 masl, plus and added 1,000 meters due to the proximity of the Pole. On the way flying from Union Glacier to the Pole, the Twin Otter pilots dropped Hank’s three resupplies. He started on December 19th, heading North, and covered 5 nm (9.26 km) in five and half hours. Hank says it was brutal. Every 50 to 100 meters he fell over. He walks most of the time, pushing his bike; riding at most nearly half a kilometer per day. He tried to find the Arctic Trucks tracks and followed ski tracks. Yesterday he reported a storm in during the night and during the day he covered 3.8 nm. He says he is looking at options because he is on a bike trip, not a pushing trip. Dec 22, 2016, 2:35:00 AM UTC, Elevation: 2,799.04 m, Lat: 89.991771 Lon: 006.000916

Novolazarevskaya to South Pole snowmobile return 4280km: Patrick “Pata” Degerman (Fi, leader), Pekka Ojanpää (FI), Mika Listala (FI), and Jón Ólafur Magnusson (IS) Catarina from the home team reported to Exweb/Pythom, Pata called from Novo last night and said that the weather was really nice, -2ºC, no wind and sunny. Their equipment was unloaded and preparation has started to get the snowmobiles and sleds ready for departure.

At Union Glacier:

Skyjump VIDEO: First ever jumps at Union Glacier. 18 total jumps from Kenn Borek Air’s Twin Otter. Video courtesy of Omar Alhegelan.

Antarctica circumnavigation

A ship with scientists has left Cape Town, South Africa, yesterday. It aims to enhance international relations and collaboration between countries, as well as to spark the interest of a new generation of young scientists and explorers in polar research. From December 2016 to March 2017, scientific teams from all over the world will board the Russian research vessel Akademik Treshnikov for an expedition around Antarctica. From biology to climatology to oceanography, researchers will work on a number of interrelated fields for the future of this Continent. Read more here.

Follow team blogs in the Dispatch stream on

South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

Exweb South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt

Interview with Pata Degerman: Longest Snowmobile attempt on Antarctica

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

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

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)

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:

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) for Polar Statistics and Rules. Note that a solo claim has to be unassisted,

therefore no supplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything (food, fuel, etc) received from any person along the way. A solo person may be wind supported (kites/sails). Claiming to have ‘skied to the Pole’, a full route (from a coastal start point) has to be completed, without flying part of the route.

1 nautical mile = 1,852 km

Hercules Inlet is located at 80°S near Union Glacier, 1130 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The Fuchs-Messner start is 890 km in a straight line from the Pole.

Novolazarevskaya to South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI) is 1610 km in a straight line.

Novo to GSP 2,140 km in a straight line

South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI):

2011-12 position: S82°06.696, E055°01.951 (Copeland/McNair-Landry)

On Dec. 14, 2014 Frédéric Dion reported the position the POI (at Lenin’s bust) as S82º 06.702′ E55º 2.087′ at an elevation of 3741 m.

Geographic South Pole (GSP): 90 degrees South

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:

To ALCI /TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo

70° 46’37”S, 011° 49’26”E

Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:

To ALE base camp, Union Glacier

79° 45’S, 083° 14’W elev 708m

Lat: -79.760591 Lon: -82.856698


ALE Union Glacier weather cam 79º 46’S, 83º 16”W

South Pole webcam 90ºS

The Coldest Place on Earth

#polar #antarctica #Southpole #thepoles #skisouthpole