Front skiers in 85ºS; SPoT vehicles at the Pole – UPDATED

Skiers who started at 80 and 82 degrees South are in 85 degrees. Another fatbike is on the ice, with 2 ski mates. The sit-skier has a tough time going up the glacier, skiing 9 hours using only his arms. Watch the SPoT video.

UPDATE December 9, 2016: More news about solo return skier, Risto (see below)

December 8, 2016:

Temperatures are mild this far in the game, -15 to -20 Celsius without the wind. Bodies and equipment have to be maintained. Painful snow blindness and blisters have been reported, as well as broken skins, stove pot and compass, and a lost down jacket. Hunger has kicked in. Johanna reported she is so hungry of all this skiing. But she is still in “paradise”, and have spotted mountains in the distance and crevasses. All at safe distance. The Hercules Inlet and Fuchs-Messner route skiers in 85 degrees have spotted the Thiel Mountains. These Mountains are always a welcome sight. Note that two other teams are also in 85ºS, but they have started at 85 degrees, on the Leverett and Reedy start points.

Meanwhile, the South Pole Traverse (SPoT) vehicles have groomed the Leverett route. SPoT is a heavy equipment traverse that travels 1,035 miles from McMurdo Station via the Leverett Glacier, to the Geographic South Pole and back. The SPoT team arrived at the South Pole on December 5, bringing with it vital supplies for Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. Watch this video about their trip to the Pole, published by Forrest McCarthy.

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Rerun – AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

Hercules Inlet 80ºS start point unassisted to the Pole

Risto Hallikainen: Vesa Luomala from Risto’s home team confirmed that he had made a depot as reported before. Risto suffered snow blindness (a painful, temporary loss of vision due to a sunburned cornea), which slowed him down for a few days, but he is now okay again, said Vesa. The Finnish skier has crossed into 84 degrees. Position Dec 8, 2016, 12:06:00 PM UTC, Elevation: 1,313.16 m, Lat: -84.229741 Lon: -080.283988.

UPDATE December 9, 2016: Vesa shot over news, “Risto said he left 22000 kcal worth of food at 84S, and progressing better and better every day. Also reported his skis and harness broke already at Three Sails, but was able to fix those himself. All well with him.”

Sébastien Lapierre: The Canadian sends short messages: Dec. 5: Big day uphill! Antarctic weather -16C, with 20 knots winds (I’ll leave you calculate the wind chill). Dec.6: windy and cold this morning, but sunny, then the wind falls at the end of the day. – 16C, winds of 15 knots: Yesterday: Highlight of the day: approximately 15:30 (13:30 in Quebec) I crossed 82ºS! 8 to cross. Location Dec 8, 2016, 1:12:00 PM UTC, Elevation: 2,889.60 ft. Lat: -82.135816 Lon: -080.152773.

Johanna Davidson: In a voice dispatch on Dec. 6, Johanna, reported the following (translated by Tom Sjogren): She had equipment issues that she could fix: (1) a skin broke – fixed it with duct tape, (2) she discovered a hole in the bottom of the pot, which could potentially end the trip, but she had one extra, but smaller. So all good. Good day today (she said 34 km, but it’s actually more like 37 according to my notes). In the morning she got somewhat unmotivated but then had a pep talk with herself – telling herself that she is actually doing this because it’s a dream she has been working for and she is very lucky to be here – and that helped. On December 8 Johanna reported that she had lost her down jacket that she had strapped on her sled. She left the sled, backtracked North, and 3 km further she found it. An item vital for survival on the ice. Location 2016-12-07, 21:53Z, -84.96927 -080.69297, Altitude: 1343 meter.

Małgorzata Wojtaczka reported that she had problems with her compass, in a white-out, where a compass is a necessary instrument to navigate, with no snow features and no human shadow to guide the way. She lost a few hours repairing the compass but made up the lost time by skiing faster. Her active day stretches from 7 am, when she gets up, to 7 pm. In die morning, it takes a lot of time to melt the snow, cook, prepare food for her hot thermos, fold the tent, pack the sled, and distribute the wight correctly, explains the Polish lady. “Therefore, I start the march at approx. 11 am local time, but must end eight hours later.” In the evenings Malgorzata puts up her tent, secures it against the wind, unpack what she needs from her sled, protects the sled, install solar batteries, connect the satellite phone, and calls the comms staff at Union with a compulsory safety message, reporting about her own well-being, her location, the local weather, other events, if any, and get a forecast for the next day and “good luck”. Only then she has time to make water, prepare a meal, make minor repairs, talk to her home team, and read a few pages before she sleeps. Malgorzata says feels strong and is adding two hours more to her ski time to cover more miles per day. Latest position 08/Dec/2016 12:00:05 UTC 082° 19.086S, 080° 27.453W, 935 m above sea level.

Lou Rudd (leader), Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Alun George and James Facer-Childs: Day 22, the Army Reservists travelled a personal best of 17.3 nm (32 km) in 10 hours hauling. Alex reported, “over the last couple of days, the sastrugi has settled down, although in their place we now have soft snow on the ground, which sounds delightful, but the reality is that it has increased drag and resistance on the pulks. So, in effect, we’ve traded one obstacle for another, but we’re chipping away. To be honest, I had a really tough day today, we’ve been hauling for ten hours a day now for over three weeks without a single break, and it’s starting to take its toll, we all have good days and bad days and today was a particularly bad day for me. One of those days where, each hour, I had to break it down and think my way through it, and really had to dig a little deeper to try and keep the pace.” Alex’s face is swollen up, “my right eyelid has swelled up like a balloon.” Latest report from Lou: Day 23, again 17.3 nm, he is dreaming of a nice cup of tea and a slice of cake. They camped in front of quite a big snow bank.

Fuchs-Messner 82ºS start point unassisted to the Pole

Ryan Waters (US) guiding for Mountain Professionals: Katrina Follows (England, lives in Chamonix), Paul Adams (USA) and Scott Kress (CA):

The team reach a waypoint known as Thiels Corner on December 5, where they turned their compass on a bearing due South almost directly at the Pole. Ryan reported, “The team continues to work really well together and are remarkably efficient already working at each aspect of this trip, our camp set up and take down, our ski blocks and breaks, all are like clockwork and the individuals all work so well as a group. Location 2016-12-07, 20:59Z, Latitude: -85.488191, Longitude: -081.127681 Altitude: 1468 meter.

Novolazarevskaya 70°46’S start point, unassisted kite-support

Michele Pontrandolfo’s tracker gives his position as Dec 8, 2016, 9:40:00 AM UTC Elevation: 1,487 m Lat: -71.462835 Lon: 011.124795

Leverett Glacier 85ºS start point unassisted

Guide Doug Stoup (US) and Swedish adaptive skier Aron Andersen. Here go Aron’s reports:

Day 2: Aron reported he knows of every muscle in his upper body while his feet did not quite regain heat. Large parts of the day were slow, going upwards constantly, tired but hopeful. Day 3: It was tough getting out of the sleeping bag, and the first few miles were tough. They had quite a lot of loose snow, but then the surface became harder and the glide better. Day 4: It is physically very demanding but at the same time there is no place he would rather be. He has dreamt about this for 2.5 years. Day 5: After nine hours of tough skiing his arms hurts. Day 6: The worst and steepest slopes, sometimes it was so bad he could barely move himself forward. Aron says the route they follow has small flags spaced a few hundred meters apart. The flags are set for fuel transport from McMurdo base in the South Pole, so they have something to navigate by. These flags have become Aron’s mantra when it is really heavy and hard, he reported. Day 7 (Dec. 6): he reported that the slopes have finally flattened and it seems they have reached the plateau. The snow is hard. Day 8: A tough and cold day in a white-out. Aron has problems with fatigue and an upset stomach, and was on the phone with Doc Martin.

Reedy Glacier 85ºS unassisted

Eric Philips (AU) guide, Rob Smith and Keith Tuffley: On Dec. 7, the team has been dropped at the Ross Ice Shelf: Elevation: 273 m, Latitude: 85° 0’ 45” South, Longitude: 144° 3’ 46” West. On Dec. 8 Eric reported, their first day out they covered 15km in 4.5 hours. The surface is hard and fast with small sastrugi and the sky couldn’t be clearer. Keith decided to bring his fat bike and is riding at double the pace of the 2 skiers, towing his 90kg sled. It’s so warm that they cooked dinner outside. Camp 1 Elevation: 278 m, Latitude: 85° 5’ 25” South, Longitude: 142° 48’ 0” West.

Hercules Inlet to South Pole – emergency assisted

Emma Kelty: She has problems with blisters and sleeping. “I have to say, it is all very, very mundane and that is half the challenge – to get up every morning and ski a distance no matter what the weather and how tired you feel.”

Fuchs-Messner 82ºS start point assisted to the Pole

Carl Alvey guiding for ALE, Bob Maxwell: ALE reported that the men are receiving three resupplies. No other news.

Cycling South Pole to Hercules Inlet assisted

Hank van Weelden is in Punta Arenas. He also had lost baggage but it has been found.

Follow team blogs in the Dispatch stream on

South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

Eric Philips, South Pole 2016-17 New Start Point attempt (Interview)

Exweb South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt

Cycle Antarctica: Hank van Weelden Pole to Coast attempt (Interview)

[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)

Emma Kelty: speed ski and return attempt (Exweb South Pole interview)

Previous/Related on Explorersweb/Pythom:

Adaptive skier started, and strong skiers on Hercules Inlet – South Pole ski wrap-up

Antarctica Current: Polar How-To-Guide Heads-Up

Explorers House map with interactive South Pole ski routes

HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software)

Rerun – AdventureStats Special: What is Solo? 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.

1 nautical mile = 1,852 km

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

#polar #antarctica #Southpole #thepoles #skisouthpole