Higher Sastrugi and stronger headwinds in 82ºS – Antarctica update

Two new ski teams flew to Union Glacier

Most of the front skiers from Hercules Inlet are in 82 degrees. They reported higher sastrugi and headwinds. The Brits reported a “horrendous” day, while the Swedish lady described Antarctica as a cold “paradise” and the Polish lady enjoyed the spectacular snow drift. Ryan Waters and is team are almost at 84 degrees. Two new teams arrived at Union Glacier, where the Ice Marathon took place.

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Hercules Inlet start point

Risto Hallikainen (FI): With his sled packed with all his provisions for the whole journey, the solo, unassisted 2260 km return skier covered good miles; 23.79 km, 22.68 km, and 4.71 km. Yesterday seems to have been a short day. Also according to his tracker, it seems as if Risto has left a cache at Lat: -81.334414, Lon: -079.891913 a couple of hours ago (“Cache 4”). His original plan was not to leave caches, but with the weather delays at the start, he was open to change his mind. Reportedly the season closes January 27, 2017. Risto’s latest position Nov. 28, 0:57:15 AM Lat: -82.131225 Lon: -079.97566.

Yesterday Johanna Davidson (SE) reported it is her 12th day “in this cold paradise”. In 8,5 hours skiing, she had covered 27,7 km. “So happy that my body thinks it’s okay with all this skiing. At least for now. Position 2016-11-27, 20:53Z, Latitude: -82.1905 Longitude: -079.7656 Altitude: 889 meter.

Solo Polish lady Małgorzata Wojtaczka (PL) reported on the 26th that she was going uphill all the time and the sastrugi got higher. Sometimes it was not possible to pull her sled as she normally does but she had to drag it by the ropes across the sastrugi. It capsized over these hard snow dunes, already up to a meter high here, she reported. “During the breaks, I can watch the beautiful spectacle performed by drifting snow. On the surface there are plumes, which, in the sun, shimmer and sparkle. It is a mesmerising sight.” Latest position: Nov, 28, 10:00:05 UTC 80° 40.235S, 080° 04.932W 774m above sea level.

Lou Rudd (leader), Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Alun George and James Facer-Childs: Lou Rudd described their Day 12: “I suppose, to summarise today in one word, I can probably do it with the word: horrendous. Really tough day today for the team, in some difficult conditions.” He said the headwinds were about 40-50 knots, which brought the temperatures down to the -30’s. “We got into some really difficult sastrugi on the ground and that, combined with the head wind, really slowed our progress down to a crawl. The whole day felt like a desperate battle just to make forward progress.” Lou compared the sastrugi to the surface of a lemon meringue pie, “and it’s like skiing over that, however, it’s rock hard, there’s hardly any give in it at all and the sastrugi today was varying between 2-3 feet high as we bumped and grinded our way over it. There was lots of falling over and cursing today as well, as we try and pick a route through. At the same time getting battered by these pretty heavy headwinds.” Despite the winds, they covered 13.8 nm / 25.6 km. The men are halfway in 82 degrees.

Solo Canadian, Sébastien Lapierre (CA) arrived on Antarctica today and reported, “It’s just beautiful!!!” He is still at Union Glacier. Canadian Sébastien Lapierre to attempt solo ski to South Pole (Interview)

Emma Kelty (UK), reported a very bumpy surface. “It means finding a rhythm and pattern is difficult/ impossible. Great weather though.”

Fuchs-Messner start point

Ryan Waters (US) guiding for Mountain Professionals: Katrina Follows (England, lives in Chamonix), Paul Adams (USA) and Scott Kress (CA): The team experienced flat light and rough surface conditions. Spirits are high and the group is strong, reported Paul. Ryan told Explorersweb, they are almost in 84 degrees. Position on their tracker 2016-11-27, Time: 20:12Z, Latitude: -83.7770, Longitude: -072.3776, Altitude: 905 meter.

Carl Alvey (UK) guiding for ALE, Bob Maxwell (NZ): no news.

Novolazarevskaya start point

Italian Michele Pontrandolfo reported this morning from his tent about the magnificent landscape. The sun is shining and his spirits sounds high. Location: 70 59’59.47” E 11 6’42.15”, 12 PM UTC elev 1048 m.

Leverett Glacier start

Doug Stoup (US) and Swedish adaptive skier, Aron Anderson, arrived at Union Glacier from Punta Arenas.


Richard Donovan’s Antarctic Ice Marathon and 100k took place at Union Glacier on the Nov. 25. Fortunately, the wind died down and wind-chill was only around -20ºC. Men’s results: 1. Gary Thornton (IRL) 3:37.13 hrs 2. Michael Edward Taylor (GBR) 4:18.06 hrs 3. Gavin Opperman (SA) 4:24.04 hrs. Women: 1. Joanna Medras (POL) 6:01.45 hrs 2. Laurie Koch (USA) 6:14.59 3. Fan Zhang (CHN) 6:26.39 hrs.

Follow team blogs in the Dispatch stream on pythom.com

South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

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:

Inside 80ºS, UPDATED: solo status lost

Rerun – AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

Antarctic explorers left sea-ice clues

Antarctica’s largest glacier started retreating in mid-1940s

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

ALE and ALCI open Antarctica season

Antarctic Researcher died in the field (October 2016)

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

Explorers House map with interactive South Pole ski routes

HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software)

AdventureStats.com 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