Geoff Wilson Completes His Longest Journey

Despite a route change to skip the South Pole, Geoff Wilson has managed to cover enough kilometres to set a new polar record for the longest solo unsupported journey.

The Australian set out from Thor’s Hammer on the Antarctic coast on November 9 and has covered 5,306km by kite-ski. His mammoth journey first took him to the Point of Inaccessibility (the furthest point from any of Antarctica’s coastlines), then to Dome Argus (a 4,093m ice dome) and finally back via Thor’s Hammer to the Russian Novolazarevskaya base on the coast.

His original route would have covered 5,800km, but a fuel leak led to a change of plans. Wilson was concerned enough by the loss of fuel that he didn’t think it prudent to risk the extra mileage to the South Pole. The area around the Pole is typically calm and could have significantly lengthened his journey if he was unable to harness the wind. In retrospect, the decision looks strange; in a press release, Wilson’s team states that he finished with “nearly five weeks’ food and fuel in reserve.”

Wilson’s original route. Due to his fuel leak, he skipped the South Pole and headed straight for Dome Argus. Photo: Geoff Wilson

The previous record for the longest polar journey was a 57-day, 5,100km crossing of Antarctica by Mike Horn in 2017. In order to best that mark, Wilson added some mileage at the end of his journey by continuing on from Thor’s Hammer to the Russian Novolazarevskaya base.

Wilson’s expedition took 58 days. Besides achieving the longest unsupported polar journey, he becomes the first Australian to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility unsupported, and the first person to reach the summit of Dome Argus unsupported.