Antarctica: Too Much Wind and Too Little Wind on Two Traverse Routes

Worsley and Pontrandolfo battle against strong winds and no wind
(Correne Coetzer, updated, Nov.24)

News from traverse kite-skier, Michele Pontrandolfo’s home team arrived at Pythom, Starting from Novolazarevskaya, he battles against no wind with his kites in his sleds.

The other traverse explorer, skier Henry Worsley, battles against too much wind on the Ronne Ice Shelf.

In Punta Arenas, the Ilyushin-76 is still grounded as weather at Union Glacier is not suitable for landing. Carl Alvey and Devon McDiarmid’s teams are playing the waiting game.

Update Nov. 24: Ilyushin-76 flight from Cape Town to Novo is also delayed.


Here the news to Pythom from Michele’s wife Barbara:

He started November 19th. The first day he traveled 13 km with the snowkite, for as long as there was wind, but the wind dragged him a little out of route. The next day he traveled just 2km and the third day he just moved his camp one kilometer further, waiting for the suitable wind, as the wind was blowing from south-east.

Then the forecast for the area predicted that wind in that zone will not change. So Michele decided to ski to the mountain zone, carrying uphill his very heavy sleds (180 kg), traveling about 4 km per day.

Now he is moving to the right direction, his latest coordinates are:

70° 56′ 00” S, 011° 15′ 42” E

The weather is nice. The temperature is -23°C

Barbara adds, “When Michele calls me in the night he is pretty tired; he says that the boots he is wearing are not suitable to ski, but only to snowkite. Nevertheless in the morning he is again ready to start.”


Henry has crossed into 82 degrees South on November 21 in very windy conditions. That night he made camp in one hour instead of the usual 15 minute. While pitching the tent in 30 mile per hour winds, gusting 35, his right hand froze and he had a battle to warm it up again in the wind.

Since then Henry is tent bounded, but he said he wants to get out and move a few miles towards the Wujek Ridge today. He was worried because he is eating into his 80-day rations and using unnecessary fuel. Looking out of the tent he sees the beautiful spin drift agains his sled and tent, already a few feet high last night and stone hard.

For this 82 parallel, with the gain in elevation, he is given himself 7 days to complete it.

November 23 Day 11:

Campsite Location S82º 12.366 W50º 55.354

Time Travelled Today 0 Hours

Distance Today 0 Nautical Miles

Accumulated Distance 94.3 Nautical Miles

Altitude 1206 Ft


(un)assisted and (un)supported definitions according to


(no resupplies, no kites)

Henry Worsley UK solo

Unassisted Unsupported traverse 1100nm / 2037km

Gould Bay, Berkner Island – Geographic South Pole – Shackleton Glacier (Ross Ice Shelf)

Luke Robertson UK, Scotland solo

Unassisted Unsupported 1130km

Hercules Inlet to Geographic South Pole

Doug Tumminello USA solo

Unassisted Unsupported 1130km

Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole

Devon McDiarmid (CA guide), Stew Edge (UK), Mostafa Salameh (Jordan), Shahrom Abdullah (Malaysia)

Unassisted Unsupported 890km

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) – G. South Pole


Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy) traverse solo

Coast at Novolazarevskaya – South Pole of Inaccessibility – Geographic South Pole – Hercules Inlet


Carl Alvey (UK, guide), Emma Tamsin Kelty (UK), Khai Nguyen (CA/US)

Resupplies, no kites 1130km

Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole


Devon McDiarmid (CA guide), Stew Edge (UK)

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) – G. South Pole – Hercules Inlet

Traverse: resupply at SP, kite-ski from Pole, 2020km


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

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.

#polar #southpole #southpole2014 #southpole2014-15 #antarctica

Previous Antarctica update: Two traverse skiers and two Ilyushins in the link below