Antarctica: Scott's moment of truth, Helen Skelton's hoax, and a few real World Records

Posted: Jan 17, 2012 01:11 am EST

(AdventureStats) Only one day away a century ago, the moment of truth awaited Scott at the pole. Thanks to the world wide web, truth is catching up faster with UK TV celebrity Helen Skelton. There are true world records in the making though, so let's get to them.

The longest polar ski without help

At 1725 km, in 2000 the longest polar skiing trip without airdrops or sails was a fact. The trek went past the North Pole across the Arctic Ocean and made polar heroes of Norwegian Rune Gjeldnes and Torry Larsen.

The record stood until 2009, when Norwegian Cecilie Skog and American Ryan Waters covered 1800 km without any air supplies or pulling assistance at Antarctica.

If including Greenland though, the record was broken already one year earlier, in 2008, by UK Alex Hibbert and George Bullard who covered 2210 km there without supplies or assistance.

Hitting 1802 km on their unsupplied and unassisted return trip from the pole to Hercules Inlet, Aussie Cas & Jonesy have surpassed Ryan and Cecilie, “And they are AUSSIES'S who didn’t even know how to ski!" their home team tweeted in triumph. The two reached their "Centenary cache" yesterday, the last of their food and gas depots. There's 500 km left to the start-finish line.

Another skier about to break the record is Norwegian Aleksander Gamme, the first to solo the distance. “Today's biggest challenge was not to die of boredom,” he posted Saturday, after covering 34 miles in 10 hours. 80 days out, if all goes well in about a week he will finish at 2260 km covered, beating the Alex Hibbert and George Bullard distance on Greenland.

Funny enough, the Aussies and Gamme crossed paths on January 10 (check images).

Helen Skelton

UK media report today that Helen Skelton set a new kiting world record at Antarctica. There are many examples of explorers who kited faster and longer on the polar caps (as well as other places in the world) and you can help the truth go viral. According to readers this not the first false claim from camp Skelton, so there could be more to this story.

Other teams

Kiting from Novo, Johan E. Nilson plans to reach the SP tomorrow evening.

Eric McNair and Sebastian Copeland are enroute to Hercules Inlet which they hoped to reach in a week until the winds died. "Our prospects of reaching Hercules in seven days quickly faded," Copeland reckoned after two days stranded.

Richard Weber's team reached the South Pole from Ronne-Filchner on December 29 and Richard is kiting back with client Michael Archer hoping to be done around January 19.

Sam and Dixie managed 38 km yesterday in heavy fog. The Belgians latest position on their massive circuit was 76° 38' 11 S, 128° 53' 16 E.

Pat Farmer is holding his run due to fog and support truck problems.


Camped at 82°30’, on Jan 16th Amundsen had problems to sleep. "It was boiling hot during our last rest," he wrote. "I couldn’t sleep for the heat in spite of lying thinly clothed on top of my sleeping bag. It felt hotter and more uncomfortable than the hottest summer night at home."

Meanwhile Scott was one day away from the moment of truth - that is, the South Pole. "Only 27 miles from the Pole. We ought to do it now [...] and the only appalling possibility the sight of the Norwegian flag forestalling ours," he wrote.

Antarctica/SP - General facts:

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI/TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70o 46'37S", 011o 49'26"E)
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79o 45'S, 083o 14'W).
Gateway port Punta Christchurch, New Zealand:
To US base McMurdo
(77o 50'39"S, 166o 40'22"E)

1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km
1 nm = 1.151 statute mile
1 knot = 1.852 km/h
1 degree of Latitude is 110 km

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet.
A nunatak is a peak of a mountain rising above the ice cap; sometimes covered with snow, sometimes exposed rock.

Useful links:

CONTACT 5 expedition technology
Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?
Hercules Inlet start point
2011-12 Guidelines for NGO Visitors to the South Pole Station
South Pole Station news (Bill Spindler)
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE)
Adventure Network International (ANI)
The Antarctic Company (TAC/ALCI)


Wx7 observations at Union Glacier

Amundsen's & Scott's diaries
Amundsen's book, "The South Pole"
Amundsen's diary courtesy Fram Museum
Amundsen pix, courtesy Fram Museum
Scott's diary

Space research expedition dispatches

ANSMET Meteorite hunters

List of Links to Antarctica 2011-12 teams
Classifications: Unassisted (no airdrops), unsupported (no kites/dogs/motor).

Hercules Inlet - SP - Hercules Inlet

Unassisted, unsupported:
Aleksander Gamme, Norway (solo)
Australian James Castrission and Justin Jones (Cas & Jonesy - return)

Assisted (airdrops):
Polar Explorers
Byrony Balen (With PolarExplorers)

Bay of Whales and Cape Evans - SP

Unassisted, unsupported:
British Army Scott-Amundsen Race 2011-12 - Amudsen team led by Henry Worsley from Bay of Whales

British Army Scott-Amundsen Race 2011-12 - Scott team led by Mark Langridge, from Cape Evans

Ross Ice Shelf - SP - Hercules Inlet

Unassisted, unsupported:
The South Pole Jubilee Expedition - latitude Expeditions

Assisted (airdrops)

Felicity Aston, UK (solo)

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf - SP - traverse to H.I.

Unassisted, unsupported:
Richard Weber & team (kite traverse)

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf - SP

Assisted (airdrops), supported (kites)
Pole to Pole Run Pat Farmer

Novolazarevskaya - SP - traverses

Supported (kites):
Dixie Dansercoer and Sam Deltour
Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland

Novolazarevskaya - SP (kites)
Johan Ernst Nilson

#Polar #Stats #topstory

Aleksander Gamme did the longest polar unsupported trip yet, and showed great heart in the end.
Image by Aleksander Gamme courtesy Aleksander Gamme, SOURCE
Jonesy (left) and Cas with Gamme in middle, crossing paths on the ice on Jan 10th.
courtesy Cas & Jonesy Antarctic expedition, SOURCE
2011-12 Antarctica ski routes.