Antarctica: Last Few Skiers Rush to Reach the Pole

The Antarctic expedition season has mostly wrapped up after Vincent Colliard’s remarkable sprint to the Pole. Most expeditions have now finished or are close.

Hercules Inlet to the South Pole

James Baxter has found the last few weeks tough. “At the moment I am putting in 10-11 hour days every day without respite, and have to do so to complete my 22-24km each day,” he wrote recently. He wakes up at 5 am and skis from roughly 7 am to 6 pm each day.

On Jan. 12, Baxter had seven days of food remaining and 162km to go, putting him on track for a Jan. 19 finish. He’s cutting it a little fine but thought the distance doable. Fortunately, he found better snow entering 88°, and after a couple of decent days, he crossed into the last degree on Jan. 15.

Georgina Gilbert and Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe made the Pole after 52 days, 10 hours, and 30 mins. The pair finished on Jan. 12 with a 36km push, showing they still had something left in the tank after a long expedition.

Georgina Gilbert and Rebecca Openshaw-Rowe at the South Pole.

Photo: The Fire Angels


Vincent Colliard

On Jan. 11, Vincent Colliard reached the South Pole, breaking the speed record from Hercules Inlet.

Colliard covered 1,130km in 22 days, 6 hours, and 8 minutes. He bested Norwegian Christian Eide’s 2011 time of 24 days, 1 hour, and 13 minutes by a little under two days.

His 50km+ daily average is quite remarkable, and it’ll be interesting to see if anyone attempts to best his time next season.

Berkner Island to the South Pole

Patrick Bernier hasn’t announced anything on social media, but it looks like the Canadian has made the Pole today.

Bernier made good time from the longer Berkner Island start point, putting in very consistent 25km+ days right from the start of his trip.

Guided trips

Fifty-six days into their expedition, Kustaa Piha, Anders Brotherus, and guide Poppis Suomela are still enjoying themselves.

“Before, you could see height differences on the horizon and shapes in the landscape, but now it’s like standing on top of one pancake. There is a smooth snowfield, 360° around. It seems endless no matter which way you look,” they wrote today.

On the polar plateau, they should reach the Pole tomorrow.

Three skiers in Antarctica.

Photo: The Pole Expeditions

Martin Walsh

Martin Walsh is a writer and editor for ExplorersWeb.

Martin has been writing about adventure travel and exploration for over five years.

Martin spent most of the last 15 years backpacking the world on a shoestring budget. Whether it was hitchhiking through Syria, getting strangled in Kyrgyzstan, touring Cambodia’s medical facilities with an exceedingly painful giant venomous centipede bite, chewing khat in Ethiopia, or narrowly avoiding various toilet-related accidents in rural China, so far, Martin has just about survived his decision making.

Based in Da Lat, Vietnam, Martin can be found out in the jungle trying to avoid leeches while chasing monkeys.