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Antarctic wrap-up: Two teams together at the Pole celebrating 2007

Posted: Dec 31, 2007 03:45 pm EST

(ThePoles.com) Roald Amundsen and his team have planted the Norwegian flag at the South Pole on 14 December 1911. Congratulations to the latest team who has planted the Norwegian flag at the Pole on 31 December 2007: Bengt (guide) Jens Kristian, Ann Trude, Gro Mette, Bjorn, Truls and Lars.

Also congratulations to Devon (guide), Evelyn, Hans, Max and Adrian with reaching the South Pole on 28 December and planting multi-national flags.

Irish Beyond Endurance crossing
Position Day 47, S87.9184, W080.83335
Temperature: -15.8°C wind chill 20°C
Weather: White out, no contrast, also light snow.

Frustrated with white-outs

We are exhausted from pulling, hauling and being in the most hostile environment in the world, Pat, Clare, Jon and Shaun report.

The most frustrating for us is the whiteouts and no contrast, it makes our life very hard. When youre on expeditions you have to be prepared for all types of conditions. We could do with a bit of good luck and a change to good clear days.

Unsupported teams

Sub-zero expedition with Todd Carmichael
Position: Home

ANI South Pole Quest expedition
Day 47, Friday 28 December 2007, 90°S
Distance: Today 15.7 nm (29 .2 km), Clear, cold, -28C

Well done to Devon McDiarmid (guide, Canada), Evelyn Binsack (Switzerland), Hans Foss (Norway), Maxime Chaya (Lebanon) and Adrian Hayes (British, Dubai resident) with reaching the Pole on Friday at 18h30 Chilean time.

Surreal day

We've made it. After what can only be described as a surreal day, we reached the Pole, Adrian reports. I'll admit I began to choke up, tears welling in my eyes. It is such a powerful site, a memorial to those great early explorers, and after 47 days in such a brutal but beautiful landscape I suppose emotions were all over the place. I found out after that Devon, Hans and Evelyn were all crying - it is that sort of place, and that sort of expedition.

More Poles

Adrian reached his Third Pole: Everest, North Pole and South Pole. Evelyn and Max their second Pole after Everest. Devon reached the South Pole the second time from Hercules Inlet (apart from his last degree expeditions). Hans has completed two of the three big Polar ski expeditions, the other one being a Greenland crossing.

Recovering and relaxing

Due to bad weather at Patriot Hills and Theils the Twin Otter cant get in the air to pick up the team. Meanwhile they are recovering of injuries, relaxing and enjoying the hospitality of the people at the South Pole.

Hvitserk expedition
Day 49, Monday 31 December 2007, 90°S
Distances over the past few days 33.5, 33.7, 28.4, 25.3 and 10 km

Well done to Jens Kristian, Ann Trude, Gro Mette, Bjorn, Truls, Lars and guide Bengt Egil Rotmo with reaching the Pole after 49 days unsupported out on the Ice. They arrived at 00h35 Chilean time / 04h35 Norwegian time / 16h35 South Pole (New Zeeland) time.

While they will be waiting for another Twin Otter flight to fly them across the 1000 km of sastrugi, soft snow and ski tracks to Patriot Hills, they will surely also rest and recover, enjoy the New Years Eve hospitality at the Pole and best of all, share stories with their fellow explorers.

South Africans
Sibusiso Vilane and Alex Harris
No new updates by the time of publishing.

Unsupported new routes/Vinson

Interchange Shackleton Ronne Ice Shelf new route
Doug and Richard have crossed 85°S on 29 December.
Distances over last 3 days: 30, 25.7, 28.3 km or 16.1, 13.9, 15.3 nm

They have travelled 4 days across 84 degrees and experienced uphill areas and soft snow which made the pulling of the sleds very tough. The consecutive long days, high mileage and the altitude are tiring.

Doug and particularly Richard are acclimatizing well to the warm sun and sub-zero temperatures (around 20°C), so much so that Richard was even topless at times to cool down.

Supported teams

ANI Messner Route
Day 25 30 Dec, 07 87.10979S,080.49822W
Eric, Merete, George, Bernice and Alison covered 30, 27 and 21.5 km during the last 3 days.

George about what is going on in his mind

Scary place my mind after 21 days to think. Can be rewarding and just plain dull. When you start to think of actually reaching the pole you have to stop yourself except you have a glove and a ski pole in hand. You have to remember it is 14-15 days of 8 hour skiing away. I think of home but you can't dwell on it, it doesn't materialize. Either does much else. I just stare at the details of the sled in front of me.

Butter barometer

Bernice tells about the men who love eating butter and olive oil. The butter has become our barometer for trip; we can tell by the hardness how to read the temperatures. On a -35°C day everybody is afraid to set teeth in the butter. This morning however it was zero degrees, ridiculously warm for Antarctica so Eric's butter had melted on his salami, cheese and chocolate - it was a mess. He doesn't care he thinks it is better that way.

Crossed 87 degrees

Going has become much easier. Good weather sets in and Bernice felt privileged to be on Antarctica en says it is spectacular to be here. Typical Antarctica, the weather changed, The wind was howling outside - our first experience with a katabatic event. We all were wearing double layers, meandering through sastrugi, head down like a buffalo facing a storm.

Surprise visit from a snowcat

Then a surprise visit when a snowcat/tractor showed up with ALEs Mike McDowell and some Chilean scientists. Bernice reports: Just imagine being all alone - seen no soul for 25 days and here comes a full on restaurant and hotel on wheels.

They are scientists from Chile measuring snow depth and movement of the ice, glaciers and icestreams. In 2004, the Chilean government set out stakes from Patriot Hills to the South Pole, every 20 km with GPS coordinates, a total of 54 stakes. So far, at 87 degrees they have only found 5 of them but they are putting new ones up with GPS coordinates.

Radar measurements

They have a radar but it is only going till 50 meters measuring subtle changes underneath the icecap, like the baby cravasses we skied over yesterday. The only change so far is that in the time span of 3 years, the icestream has moved 200 meters - that is huge in the life of an icestream.

At the South Pole, a new crew of scientists will come on board and they will carry on to the Pole of Inaccessibility, another 500 plus km beyond the pole, the point in Antarctica furthest from any coast line. They will do that stretch with a radar going down 2000 meters!

Breakfast with beacon and eggs

The team was invited for breakfast with bacon, eggs, cheese, homemade bread, juice, coffee, nuts, fruit, cookies and caught up with all the Antarctic news.

John Huston (Northwind guide), Cameron Hudson and Sumiyo Tsuzuki
28 December, 84.0562S,84.5954W
10.7 nm in 8 hours 35 mins, -22C, winds up to 20 nmph.

We awoke this morning looking forward to another good day of travel. The cloudless blue skies and complete absence of wind suggested that perhaps another 12nm+ day may be on the cards. Our progress was good during the first three legs despite patches of heavy snow. Some cloud cover and a head wind felt to take the temperature way down around midday, report Cameron and John. The patchy snow continued throughout the afternoon, which took its toll on our energy levels.

Nunataks providing scenery

To the West of our camp tonight are the exposed peaks of a small range of mountains. We've seen several of these, referred to as a 'nunatak', throughout the expedition and, as well as providing some scenery, they assist with our navigation.

The team celebrated 84 degrees at dinner.

Links to Antarctic teams websites:

Peter Valusiak's Solo crossing (postponed to 2008)
Irish Beyond Endurance - and Beyond the Pole

Unsupported to the Pole
Sub-Zero Expedition- Jason De Carteret and Todd Carmichael
Evelyn Binsack's bike ride from Switzerland
Adrian Hayes third pole
Max Chaya's second pole
Hans Foss
Hvitserk expedition
Sibu and Alex

Unsupported new routes/Vinson
Norwegian women for Vinson and South Pole via new route
Doug Stoup, James Fox and Richard Dunwoody new route from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf.
Stangl Vinson/ski return PH
Tomsky Vinson/ski return PH

Supported SP
Eric Philips partial repetition of Messner/Fuchs from Ronne Ice shelf. Dutch Bernice Notenboom is among clients.
Bernice's website
John Huston & Northwind, Sumiyo Tsuzuki, Peter Blaikie (70 y), Cameron and John
Cameron Hudson and John Huston for glaucoma website

Pou brothers

Last degree
Kevin Dempsey, last degree

Teachers on ice
American-Norwegian expedition in the East Antarctic

Euronav Belgica: Dixie Dansercoer's retrace of Adrien de Gerlache
SP solo, speed record holder Hannah McKeand roaming the Southern Ocean with David Pryce
All-star explorer Fedor Konyukhov benchmark record attempt on Antarctica Cup Race track in Southern Ocean.


From left, Hans Adrian, Evelyn, Devon and Max on arrival at the South Pole on Friday. Adrian reports, I'll admit I began to choke up, tears welling in my eyes. It is such a powerful site, and after 47 days in such a brutal but beautiful landscape I suppose emotions were all over the place. I found out after that Devon, Hans and Evelyn were all crying - it is that sort of place, and that sort of expedition. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Max Chaya/ TheThreePoles.com (click to enlarg..
One of the Hvitserk team members approaching the main building at the South Pole, flying the Norwegian flag. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Hvitserk.com (click to enlarge)
The Norwegian flag flying on top of Amundsens special tent at the South Pole, 14 December 1911. Image courtesy of The South Pole by Roald Amundsen.
Instead of finding Amundsens tent over the weekend, the explorers found the science buildings of the US South Pole station, which can be seen from far away on a clear day. Image ExplorersWeb files (click to enlarge)
A surprise visit by scientists and a restaurant on wheels. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Bernice Notenboom/Arcticalert.com (click to enlarge)