Antarctica: Two traverse skiers and two Ilyushins

Henry Worsley and Michele Pontrandolfo
(Correne Coetzer, updated Nov, 21, 2015, 01:11, Ilyushin in Punta Arenas grounded with bad weather at Union Glacier – waiting game for skiers started.)

Two Ilyushin-76 planes are ready to fly to Antarctica (weather permitting). In Punta Arenas the two ANI teams are ready to fly to Union Glacier tomorrow: Devon McDiarmid (guide), Stew Edge, Mostafa Salameh and Shahrom Abdullah, and Carl Alvey (guide), Emma Tamsin Kelty and Khai Nguyen. The past week, they have been preparing their food, fuel, tech, clothes in Punta.

In Cape Town, the ALCI/TAC plane is scheduled for the 22nd, 21h10. Solo kiter Eric Philips and his Chinese team are flying to Novolazarevskaya, the Pole and Eric’s Queen Maud Land “dicovery trip”.

Scheduled for later fly-in, solo skier Luke Robertson has been busy with preparations in Punta this week. Doug Tumminello is on his way there. They will both solo from Hercules Inlet.

No Norwegians, or Scandinavians for that matter, are skiing a full distance route this season. Veteran Norwegian polar explorer, Rune Gjeldnes though, will be guiding a team for David Hempleman-Adams from S88º 23’, the furthest South latitude where Shackleton turned around in 1909. Reportedly a Swede will be doing a last degree of latitude.

Eric Larsen will be guiding a Last Degree (110km) fat bike expedition with one ANI client. Check in again for an Pythom/Explorersweb interview with Eric.


Two of the three traverse teams are already on the ice.

Solo skier, Henry Worsley, is increasing his miles every day, although his sled is still very heavy. Seven days ago he started off with 150 kg and he has already starting to cover more than 20 km per day. Low clouds, poor visibility, sunny but cold temperatures and a constant wind made up his weather conditions. He says in his voice report he knows this will become easier although it might take weeks. The Antarctic coast line is in view and he is travelling in a straight line to the Pensacola Mountains.

Day 7, Nov. 19:

campsite location S81º 47.414 W)51º 04.061

time travelled today 8 hours 45 minutes

distance today 12.1 nautical miles / 22.4 km.

accumulated distance 69.2 nautical miles

altitude 391 ft

temperature -29°C

weather sunny, cold, constant wind

Latest position 2015-11-20 16:11:20Z:

S81º 52.84’ W)50º 59.26′

Kite-skier Michele Pontrandolfo’s latest position out of Novolazarevskaya is S70º 51’55.40” E11º 18’17.47”

2015-16 TEAMS:

UNASSISTED UNSUPPORTED (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 #southpole2015 #southpole2015-16 #antarctica

In the link: Eric Philips’ Queen Maud Land dicovery trip