Masatatsu Abe Dead at 41

Japanese polar adventurer Masatatsu Abe has died. The 41-year-old rickshaw driver and Antarctic sledder succumbed to a brain tumor.

In 2018-19, the ever-smiling Abe reached the South Pole after 55 days and 918km from the Messner Start. Struggling like everyone else with the deep snow of that year, Abe was the last South Pole sledder to finish. He had hoped to go unsupported but reluctantly accepted an airdrop of food to finish.

Then in 2021-22, he tried to retrace a 1911 Japanese expedition led by Nobu Shirase but ran out of time.

He was scheduled to go to Antarctica again last November. But after completing his preparations, he was diagnosed in August with the tumor that killed him a short few months later.

smiling guy in Antarctica with toy robot dog

Photo: Masatatsu Abe

Jerry Kobalenko

Jerry Kobalenko is the editor of ExplorersWeb. One of Canada’s premier arctic travelers, he is the author of The Horizontal Everest and Arctic Eden, and has just finished a book about adventures in Labrador. In 2018, he was awarded the Polar Medal by the Governor General of Canada and in 2022, he received the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Medal for services to exploration.