Antarctica Evacuations: Journeys End

Henry and Carl back to Union Glacier

(Correne Coetzer) “When my hero, Ernest Shackleton, stopped 97 miles from the South Pole on the morning of Sunday the 9th of January 1909, he said he shot his bolt, at 88.23 South. Well, today I have to inform you with great sadness, that I too had shot my bolt. My journey is at an end.” Yesterday, traverse skier, Henry Worsley reported he ran out of time and ability to reach his goal.

A few days ago, Emma Kelty reported that the Twin Otter had landed with their third resupply at their campsite, and brought a new guide. The new ANI guide seems to be Pachi Ibarra.

Devon McDiarmid and Stew Edge kited into 83ºS, traversing to Hercules Inlet at 80ºS.

Wrap-up January, 22(-23)

Note: Definitions below according to

assisted = resupplies

supported = kite/car/skidoo supportsupported = kite/car/skidoo support u2028

HENRY WORSLEY (55) UK, solo, Unassisted Unsupported traverse 1100nm / 2037km, Berkner Island – Geographic South Pole – Shackleton Glacier (Ross Ice Shelf), Started November 13, 2015. South Pole January 2, 2016 (Day 51).

Henry’s home team reported today, he made the courageous call to ALE and was picked up safely late afternoon on Day 71, yesterday, January 22.

On Henry’s last day of skiing, Day 69, he reported in an “extremely weakened” state, “A very unproductive day, unfortunately, from the realization that I won’t have time to reach the [Ross] Ice Shelf.”

He had already covered an accumulated distance of nearly 800 nautical miles (1,482 km) unassisted and unsupported, of his planned 1100 nautical miles (2,037 km) route from Berkner Island via the Geographic South Pole to the bottom of the Shackleton Glacier.

Henry had all his food, fuel, gear, clothes, everything he needed in his sled. The sled weighed 150 kg at the start. He had no resupplies or kites for wind support.

Worsley concluded, “I will lick my wounds. They will heal over time while I come to terms with this disappointment.” The first thing he promised to do at Union Glacier, is to have a hot cup of tea.

Last campsite: Day 69 January 20, S86º 22.597 W177º 44.337, 3.5 nm in 5 hours, Accumulated Distance 794.0 Nautical Miles, Altitude 9460 Ft, Temperature -30°C, Wind Speed 3 Mph, Weather Whiteout

This was Henry’s third South Pole expedition, this time commemorating Shackleton’s Endurance expedition hundred years ago and his intended route, had he set off. Both Henry’s previous routes were full routes (Coast to Pole), starting from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, following Scott/Shackleton and Amundsen’s routes, through the Beardmore Glacier (1,480 km) and Axel Heiberg Glacier (1,230 km), respectively.

Previous Explorersweb Interviews with Henry Worsley:

Antarctic solo traverse: Henry Worsley talks to Exweb/Pythom from Punta Arenas (2015)

Shackleton’s leadership skills, by Henry Worsley (2015)

Exclusive: South Pole anniversary final week interview with Henry Worsley (2012)

ExWeb interview with Henry Worsley and Mark Langridge: Obviously no one will be Going outside for some time (2011)

PACHI IBARRA (Chile) replaced fellow ANI guide, Carl Alvey (UK), EMMA TAMSIN KELTY (UK), Assisted Unsupported 1130km, Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole, Started December 5, 2015.

After a full rest day, Emma reported on January 22, “New guide, Patchi, who arrived yesterday, has been a star by stepping into the breach at the last minute, dropped into the middle of Antarctica to pull a sled over sastrugi and face -29 degrees with 8-10kts wind chill added to it!”

“I have to say, this journey has been full of ‘challenges, bad luck and barriers’ …. But, I can’t help but smile … Cause I am STILL here and still travelling…. at the moment … AND we are now in the 88th degree…. So only 2 degrees left to do! 120nm left. We did have to get the group shelter out today as I got a tad cold with the wind chill! But all was well very quickly so that we could continue on our way. Hmmm and key equipment for the solo journey (I hope this November) are ‘hand-warmers!’ A must-have in my books and so great to try them out today for the first time.”

DEVON MCDIARMID (CA, ANI guide), STEW EDGE (UK) Assisted Kite-Supported Traverse, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) – Geographic South Pole – Hercules Inlet 2020km, Start December 9, 2015. South Pole January 13, 2016.

Stew reported on January 22, they crossed a whole degree of sastrugi. “We started in 12 knots of wind on the 14 [kite], but it soon picked up to over 20 knots so we changed down to our ski sail. This is much more simple than a kite and is controlled by a bar with the sail about 6m away. It is great for high winds as it can be dropped and packed within seconds and also really efficient down wind. This was much easier on our legs as it was slower than the kite, but as we could go dead downwind about the same in ground gained. We made 14nm in 2 hours before the wind started to die. We swapped to the 11m but within 20mins it had dropped too much so we had to change again to the 14m. All these changes take time and we probably lost 2 hours. Part of the fun of kiting in Antartica!”

Previous: Antarctica: So Near And Yet So far


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/ANI base camp, Union Glacier

79° 45’S, 083° 14’W elev 708m

Lat: -79.760591 Lon: -82.856698

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

The Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (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.

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

According to the Rules of Adventure at, to claim a “solo” achievement requires an unassisted status – 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). Note that the Polar Rules were compiled by early Norwegian and British Polar explorers and are maintained today by the current community of veteran polar skiers.

1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km

1 nm = 1.151 miles

1 knot = 1.852 km/h

1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet

A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.

#skisouthpole #antarctica