South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt

The Swedish lady will be attempting a solo ski to the South Pole, pick up a resupply with kites at the Pole, and kite back to her start point

This Antarctic Summer, Swedish lady, Johanna Davidsson plans to ski solo on the classic Hercules Inlet route to the Geographic South Pole, 90ºS; a distance of 1130 km, or 10 degrees of latitude. Getting assistance at the Pole with a resupply, she plans to kite/sail back to her start point at 80ºS. She estimates skiing to the Pole in 50 days and kiting back in 20 days.

Seeking information and advice, she visited Polar explorers in neighboring Norway, tapping into their wealth of knowledge. When successfull, Johanna will be the first Swede to complete a return expedition

Apart from her favorite sport, skiing, Johanna also spends time paddling, climbing and sailing. Explorersweb/Pythom caught up with her in Tromsø (Norway) where she lives, to hear what she has learned from the Norwegians; for example, her sled’s weight is down to 80-90 kg (usually it is about 120 kg unassisted on this route), and she is going to use the sled with mounted skis. Johanna is leaving Sweded/Norway for Punta Arenas on October 24th.

Exweb/Pythom: You are Swedish and know the cold conditions well, but how has the idea to ski to the South Pole developed?

Johanna Davidsson: I have always been drawn to remote places and I am fascinated by Arctic and polar environment. After experiences the north Sweden and the mountains in Norway I wanted to see more remote places, glaciers and cold places. After I crossed Greenland with kite from the south to the northwest [Narsaq to Qaanaaq] together with my sister, Antarctica was the next step.

You have originally planned to ski from Berkner Island, why have you changed route?

Johanna: I wanted to kite out from the South Pole and going from Hercules Inlet gives me a better chance to manage the time pressure. Also Hercules Inlet is easier financially.

Lars Ebbesen is your mentor, right? Any others you have asked for advice?

Johanna: Yes, I have met a few people and living in Norway is not a bad thing. I have met Christian Eide, Ola Skinnarmo, Sjur Mørdre and some of the people I have been speaking to are Alexander Gamme, Are Johansen, Børge Ousland and Vegard Ulvang.

Three most important tips you have to remember?

Johanna: Don’t go too hard out in the beginning.

After a storm it will come good weather and after bad days, good days will come.

Make sure I get out of the sleeping bag, don’t snooze!

How much will your sled weigh?

Johanna: 80-90kg


Skis- Åsnes Liv Arnesen and Tind 76 (for kiting)

Skins, half/full?- both

Boots- ALFA Polar and Scarpa Maestrale (for kiting)

Sled – Fjellpulken Expedition with fixed skies

Tent – Hilleberg Nammatj 2 GT

Clothes – Bergans Arctic Expedition jacket and pants, Bergans Expedition down parka, Haglöfs down pants, Aclima/Haglöfs wool clothing

You are using kites and sails. What brands? How and when will you use the sails and

kites respectively?

Johanna: Yes, I will use kite/sails when I go from the South Pole and back to Hercules Inlet. When I ski from Hercules Inlet and in to the South Pole I will not use the wind. I will have a resupply of other skis, the kites, skisails, more food and fuel at the Pole.

I will use Behringer sails 6 and 10 m2. Ozone Frenzy kites, 13 and 7 m2.

How did you training program look like?

Johanna: I have been spending time in the mountains in Norway. Pulling tires of course. I spent one week alone at Finnmarksvidda to try my equipment. I also skied together with a friend from the northern tip of Svalbard to Longyearbyen for 14 days this spring.

Have you gained (body) weight? Guess you will say yes 😉 How much?

Johanna: Oh, not so much! But I hope in the end I have gained about 7-10 kg.

Anything else?

Johanna: Hm, that I really looking forward to start to ski!!


Johanna’s website (Solo Sister)


2016-17 South Pole ski list for Polar Rules and Statistics

Antarctica Interactive Ski Map by Explorers House

#polar #antarctica #southpole #kiteski #thepoles #returnjourney