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Antarctic wrap-up: Two more All the Way teams at the Pole

Posted: Jan 18, 2008 06:04 am EST

(ThePoles.com) Congratulations to the South African team, Sibusiso Vilane and Alex Harris who reached the South Pole on 17 January.

Doug Stoup and Richard Dunwoody are due to arrive early Friday (Chilean time, GMT-3). Both teams have started from the coast, though using different routes.

Unsupported teams

Sub-zero expedition with Todd Carmichael
Position: Home

ANI South Pole Quest expedition
Reached the South Pole on 28 December 2007.

Hvitserk expedition
Reached the South Pole on 31 December 2007.

South Africans
Well done to Sibu and Alex who have arrived at the South Pole from Hercules Inlet on 17 January after 65 days on the ice; becoming the first unsupported South African team to ski to the Pole.

14 January 2008 day 62. mon 14th. gloomy day but still did 25.4km.countdown!3 more days.67km.unbelieveable! JTB #3. In the first week sibu and i had a huge argument about whether it was acceptable to do a #2 in the bell of the tent if conditions outside warranted it! thankfully it never came to that!

15 January 2008 day 63. JTB #4 We have had no painkillers on this trip. zip! must have fallen out when i was consolidating 2 kits into 1 at home!

16 January 2008 day 64. wow, we have only 15km to go. i cant believe this day has finally come!

Alex and Sibu are Everest summiteers, both South and North sides - therefore they have reached their second pole.

Unsupported new routes/Vinson

Interchange Shackleton Ronne Ice Shelf new route
Doug (guide) and Richard

On day 46, 15 January, 32 nautical miles from the Pole, Doug reported some 'snowblindness' in one eye, after having taken his goggles off. This condition is caused by a burning of the cornea from exposure to ultraviolet B rays (UVB). It is also called radiation keratitis or photokeratitis, reports his home team.

Snowblindness usually occurs at high altitudes on highly reflective snow fields -- the exact conditions under the ozone hole where Doug and Richard are currently trekking.

Symptoms include tearing, pain, redness, swollen eyelids, headache, a gritty feeling in the eyes, halos around lights, hazy vision, and temporary loss of vision.

Treatment consists mainly of keeping the eye closed with patches and treating with antibiotic solution. Vision usually returns after 18 hours and the surface of the cornea usually regenerates within 48 hours.

Doug managed to navigate with only one eye, but found it very difficult, particularly when the visibility became poor. He has navigated all the way this far.

On Day 48, 17 Jan., Doug and Richard have 5 nm or just under 10 km to go to the South Pole.

Norwegian women new route, Vinson to South Pole
Position: 86°41.814S, 86°40.455W, 368 km from the Pole (as reported on 16 January)

Long days tough, tiring and thinning

The long days of skiing are starting to wear out Ine-Lill and Rita - but they still managed 39 km on 15 Jan., Ine-Lill and Ritas home team reports. The conditions were quite good. - Although fresh snow meant high friction, there was no sastrugi.

We are both starting to feel tired now, and it´s not given that we can keep this up all the way to the pole. But although we are a bit concerned, we will continue to do our best, Rita emphasized.

We are both quite thin now, and have probably lost about 15 kg, Rita said. They are compensating by eating more calories all day; nuts and cheese added to their usual breakfast, 250 g chocolate plus nuts an biscuits during the day - and crisps before dinner, according to their home team.

Supported teams

Irish Beyond Endurance
Reached the South Pole on 8 January 2008.

ANI Messner Route
Reached the South Pole on 12 January 2008

Eric, Merete, George, Bernice and Alison arrived at Patriot Hills after waiting at Thiels for the weather to clear and were treated by ALE with champagne and wonderful food.

John Huston (Northwind guide), Cameron Hudson and Sumiyo Tsuzuki
15 January, 08, 88.0948S,80.8125W

The team reports, We arrived at our 88 degree depot last night and wasted little time in repacking for what will be the final and toughest stage of the expedition. Between 86.5 degrees and 88 degrees we have encountered some good snow conditions, lots of ascent and the terrain has been littered with huge (6ft) sastrugi.

Consistent progress, but cant count chickens

Our progress since Thiels has been consistent and we have built up a small margin for this final push. In the next few days we will ascend onto the Polar Plateau where snow conditions are notoriously tough and temperatures plumit. We will be taking extra care to prevent injury and exhaustion and using the time available wisely. Although we are close we can't make the mistake of counting chickens, there are still 125 tough miles ahead of us.

Last two degrees

Borge Ousland last 2 degree
Both teams are in 89 degrees

Svantes group: Adrian, Andrew, Ellen, Rudi and John.
Borges group: Stefan, Britt, Nick, Nils Thomas and Otto.

Svantes team are recovering from their altitude sickness. Borge and his team have crossed 89 degrees, despite a broken ski.

Temperatures range from 18°C to 30°C with some days sunshine and other days, white-outs.

Shackletons Unfinished Journey

Mike Thornewill (leader), Barry Harper (leader), Carolyn Aitchison, Deb Stevenson, Richard (Dick) Durance, Lynsey Gawn, Dean (Woody) Woodcock, Jo Craig-Humphreys and Murray Howitt.

The team are heading west to avoid the antenna at the South Pole station. The snow is soft which makes the pulling hard and several members have blisters. Otherwise their moral is high.

Links to Antarctic teams' websites:

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

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
Alison Levine'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

Last two degrees
Borge Ousland, last two degrees
Shackleton's Unfinished Journey

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.


Doug Stoup with painful snow blindness in one eye, which made navigation very difficult. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Doug Stoup/ Iceaxe.tv (click to enlarge)
Richard Dunwoody with his face covered with tape to prevent frostbite. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Doug Stoup/ Iceaxe.tv (click to enlarge)
Our progress since Thiels has been consistent and we have built up a small margin for this final push. We will be taking extra care to prevent injury and exhaustion and using the time available wisely, the team reports. In the photo, John at their last resupply. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Cameron Hudson/ oechallenge.co.uk (click to enlarge)
One of the Ousland teams in a white-out with no contrast in the snow. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Borge Ousland/ Ousland.com (click to enlarge)
Sibuso (left) - the first black person to climb Everest - also became the first black person to make it to South Pole, almost 100 years after Henson's ski trip to the North Pole in 1909.
Iced eyes of one of Borges teammates, Britt. Image live over Contact 4 courtesy of Borge Ousland/ Ousland.com (click to enlarge)