Antarctica: Skier aborted expedition; cold -47ºC; and 10,400ft topped on Titan Dome

Also: Call for The Shackleton Award nominations and Greenland team mate.

(Correne Coetzer) Doug Tumminello aborted his expedition. Henry Worsley has still been climbing on Titan Dome. Solo skier Luke Robertson and the four-men team (with 10 wag bags each) are in the last degree of Latitude (110km). Emma says it is “uber tight” to get to the Pole before pick-up.

Events and Expeditions posted by Pythom People:

Trygve Norman calls for nominations for The Shackleton Award; open till January 22. This Award honours outstanding expedition achievements and aims to inspire today’s explorers to new expeditions into unknown territories or conditions. The award is awarded annually to an expedition found to be “real and novel, un-motorized and within polar areas or conditions”. The Shackleton Award Committee consists of renowned international explorers and scientists. Read more on Pythom who the previous winners were and contact Trygve at trygve(at) or mobile +47 9092 4717.

Paco Acedo is calling for a team mate for a Greenland ski or kite-ski expedition. He has already planned everything, he writes, but his team mate had an accident. Read more what he writes. Email him subpolar90(at)

Antarctica wrap up January 7-11:

Note: Definitions below according to

assisted = resupplies

supported = 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).

Weather and surface were good.

On Day 56, Henry had an enforced rest day after a restless night with a very upset stomach. A day of sleep sets him to rights, and Henry set off at midnight till 4pm and covered 16 nautical miles. Still gaining altitude and racing against time, breathing is difficult.

January 9, Titan Dome took Henry over 10,000m, he celebrated crossing into 88 degrees South and Ernest Shackleton, who reached Furthest South at 88° 23’ on the Nimrod expedition on this day in 1909.

Henry is craving a long list of delicious food and is down to last 14 days of freeze dried food.

Day 60 January 11 Data:

S88º 18.761, W176º 16.513 Time Travelled 13, Hours Distance, 14.3 Nautical Miles, Accumulated Distance 676.8 Nautical Miles,
Altitude 10,403 Ft, Temperature -30°C Chill, Wind Speed 3 Mph, Weather Glorious.

LUKE ROBERTSON (30) UK/Scotland, solo, Unassisted Unsupported 1130km, Hercules Inlet to Geographic South Pole, Started December 5, 2015.

Short messages from Luke’s Facebook posted by his home team:

Day 35: at a latitude of 88° 19′ 39.24″ S, Luke is now well and truly on the Antarctic Polar Plateau. With the gentler gradient of the plateau, he has upped the mileage – skiing over 20 miles in the glorious Antarctic summer sunshine!

Day 36: 88° 36′ 55.98″ S, he said it’s been pretty cold today, but the sastrugi have finally disappeared! Today he skied over 20 miles and now has less than 100 miles ’til the South Pole!

Day 37: 88° 55′ 2.04″ S, Luke skied over 20 miles today in very challenging and windy conditions.

Day 38: 89° 10′ 45.12” S, Last Degrees and it’s still unbelievably cold.

DOUG TUMMINELLO USA, Assisted (emergency supply) Unsupported 1130km, Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole, Started December 6, 2015, at 7 pm, skiing for an hour.

After thinking long and hard, talking to Lisa Renee (his wife), praying about the decision, going through multiple calculations and scenarios and talking to ALE, Doug decided to stop upon arrival at Thiels, one of ALE’s resupply points for assisted skiers.

There is a maintained ice runway, cleared and flagged wrote Doug in a report. “There’s also a cluster of weather instruments for the planes, lines of 50 gal. fuel drums, tool and parts containers, a snowcat to maintain the runway, and a sheltered toilet! I’m the only person here so it’s a bit of a ghost town. Of course the wind has returned, maybe 25 mph? Being here is very bittersweet, because it’s as far as I’m going on this expedition.”

“My original plan was to take 40-50 days to get to the Pole, which was reasonable. However, the very difficult weather and snow conditions at the outset and my nagging foot injury (it’s still either numb or hurting, depending on the precise point!) slowed me considerably. To make the trip in 50 days, I needed to average 12 nm/day – a doable distance. Unfortunately I’ve been averaging 9.17 nm/day with the two rest days when I was sorting out my broken pot and waiting for the wind to subside. Even without including those rest days, my average has been 9.74 nm/day. I have been going faster since 12/31 – almost 12 nm/day – because of the improved snow conditions. Nonetheless, at this pace, and accounting for the possibility that I could speed up still more, I wouldn’t make it to the pole before the end of January under the best-case scenario. And so far I haven’t experienced any “best cases” on this trip!”

“So – what’s it all mean? I can call the expedition a failure since I didn’t make it to the pole, or even close to the pole. Or I can call it a success since I’m relatively unscathed physically, I’ve been safe, and have had a wonderful adventure on this remarkable continent that few people ever even see. Truth be told, it’s a bit of both. I wish I could have made it to the “end of the earth”, but the real value of the experience will be in what I make of it now, upon returning home. That’s the value of all experience isn’t it – how it informs and shapes you going forward?”

“Was it worth it? Definitely.”

Last location on Doug’s tracker: 1/9/2016 4:07:00 PM Latitude -85.086118 Longitude -080.776763 Elevation1352m.

CARL ALVEY (UK, ANI guide), EMMA TAMSIN KELTY (UK), Assisted Unsupported 1130km, Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole, Started December 5, 2015.

Emma said her neck and shoulders were “playing up”. They had a big white hill in view for a few days. As it is with distances and heights on Antarctica, it looked much closer than it was. Eventually they could make a 0.5nm detour. The team is still gaining elevation and is feeling the cold. They are in 86 degrees South. “Uber tight” to get to Pole before pick-up time.

Available Distances: 14.2nm, 13nm, 11.8nm,

DEVON MCDIARMID (CA, ANI guide), STEW EDGE (UK), MOSTAFA SALAMEH (Jordan), SHAHROM ABDULLAH (Malaysia), Assisted Unsupported 890km, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) – South Pole, Started Dec. 9, 2015.

They picked up another resupply, and were “eating like kings and staying warm in our tents.”

Every mile towards the South Pole seems to be getting harder, wrote Stew. Mostafa wrote the sledge-hauling is definitely getting more challenging and difficult as they are now at 3000 meters but it feels more like 4500 meters so breathing in high Altitude is a challenge.

Stew said he hurt himself when he slipped on some sastrugi. He put his down skirt on to shorten his stride to manage the pain. On January 10, Stew reported a 15knot headwind and -47ºC with wind-chill. “I had another fleece layer on, my fur ruff and my pogies (mitts for [ski] poles). Every stop I had my biggest down jacket on and starting again it would take 10mins before we had reached a comfortable temperature. I had to “windmill” my arms to get blood to my fingers as they would ache constantly for the first 5 mins with the cold. Even with full facemasks we have all suffered minor frostbite to our faces.”

On January 11, Day 34, the men had to stop early due to Mostafa having achilles issues. Resting was good, but the downside is, explained Stew, “we now have to poo in a bag and carry it with us to the Pole. We have 10 bags each so that is how long we have to get there!”

14.23nm, 8.32nm (stop at cache, Day 31, Jan. 8), 14.80nm, 13.52nm, 10.67nm

This year’s pick-up date is postponed from January 27 to February 3, according to skiers’ reports.


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.

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