Antarctica: The Waiting Game at Union Glacier

Traverse and Return skiers wait to be dropped at Hercules Inlet

Except for Italian solo kiter, Michele Pontrandolfo, who is attempting a traverse from Novolazarevskaya, all the other traverse and return skiers are departing from the classic start point, Hercules Inlet. On November 11 they flew from Punta Arenas to Antarctica with an Ilyushin-76 and set up camp at Union Glacier, ALE’s main camp.

Latest news is that Risto Hallikainen, Johanna Davidsson, Emma Kelty, Lou Rudd and team, Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Alun George and James Facer-Childs are still at Union Glacier Union Glacier. The weather is good there with temperatures around -20C and windy.

The weather at Hercules Inlet is not good though. Poor visibility grounds the Twin Otter with which the skiers are dropped. There is no runway and lots of crevasses at the Inlet, therefore the pilots needs perfect visibility. The Twin Otters, and Basler (DC-3), land on skis on the snow.

To pass the time, the skiers fine tune their gear and go for short sledge-hauling session.

Michele Pontrandolfo: Novo – South Pole of Inaccessibility – Geographic South Pole – Hercules Inlet, 3620 km

He is moving slowly and seems from his position that he hasn’t got favorable kiting winds yet. Latest position Nov 13, 20167:45 PM:

S 70 54’41.08” E 011 20’40.26”, elev 834 m

Follow team blogs in the Dispatch stream on

South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

[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)

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


(UPDATED) Finland skier’s gear released by customs, and Italian kiter grounded

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

Explorers House map with interactive South Pole ski routes

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.

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.

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

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