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Einar Finnsson and team at the South Pole, and Shackleton beset in the pack ice

Posted: Jan 21, 2015 05:25 am EST


(By Correne Coetzer) Fatigued and hungry, the Traverse Trio skis marathon distances per day.


Mission completed: The Adventure Consultants team with guide Einar Torfi Finnsson from Iceland, arrived at the Geographic South Pole on January 19. Teammates are Hugh Dougall (CA), William (Bill) Morrison (UK) and Tim Garrett (AU). They were the only team this season who has set off from the classic Hercules Inlet start point; ten degrees of latitude from the Pole.


Sticky snow in the last degree of latitude made sledge-hauling hard, “it was like pulling a sled in sugar. No gliding at all,” reported Einer.


About their last day, he wrote, "The weather this morning looked really bad. Strong wind at about 20 knots, spin drift and bad visibility. Luckily it cleared up about when we started skiing and the weather became very good. When we had about 15 km to go we saw the first buildings of the American research station in the distance and that motivated us. We finally skied into camp at about 6:30 pm and got a warm welcome from the ALE staff at the Pole. After 1130 km, 57 days of travel and 53 days of skiing, we have finally made it."



Assisted Unsupported

(resupplies, no wind/vehicles)


Traverse Messner - Geographic SP (December 23) - Hercules Inlet

Stéphanie Gicquel(FR)

Jérémie Gicquel (FR) 

Are Johansen (NO)


The team is confident that they will finish at Hercules Inlet (80 degrees South) before the last ALE IL-76 passenger flight out of Antarctica on January 28. They are now the only skiers on the ice. The French couple said, already in three days time 90% of the staff at Union Glacier will leave the continent. 


They are careful not to get injured, “We are very careful in managing our maximum effort to avoid falls (which are still too often given the terrain and fatigue) and injuries."


The hunger game is playing serious games. Are says he is extremely hungry and he can't eat enough. "It is time for dinner, and after that maybe one or two biscuits if I can afford it. Might need them more tomorrow.”



40 km, 40 km, 40.1 km, 40.7 km, 

46.32 km (15 m/s (54 km/h) wind from the back/south), 

24.1 km (half day ski and poor visibility), 

46.5 km and 253 km to go on Day 68.


Day 68

January, 20, 2015

S 82º14  W 079º 40

Daily distance: 46,5 km

T°: -12°C (feels like -27°C)



Hundred Years Ago


Hundred years ago, the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition's attempting to cross Antarctica was underway. On January 18, 1915, one of the two expedition ships, Endurance, with leader Ernest Shackleton on board, became beset in the pack ice in the Weddell Sea.


In his book, South, Shackleton wrote, "Our position on the morning of the 19th was lat. 76° 34´ S., long. 031° 30´ W. The weather was good, but no advance could be made. The ice had closed around the ship during the night, and no water could be seen in any direction from the deck. A few lanes were in sight from the mast-head. We sounded in 312 fathoms, finding mud, sand, and pebbles. The land showed faintly to the east. We waited for the conditions to improve, and the scientists took the opportunity to dredge for biological and geological specimens. During the night a moderate northeasterly gale sprang up, and a survey of the position on the 20th showed that the ship was firmly beset. The ice was packed heavily and firmly all round the 'Endurance' in every direction as far as the eye could reach from the masthead. There was nothing to be done till the conditions changed, and we waited through that day and the succeeding days with increasing anxiety.”



Previous in 2015


Faysal Hanneche at the South Pole



ExplorersWeb Interviews


PolarExplorers guide, Keith Heger’s Top Tips, Gear, and Menu treats


ExWeb interview with Are Johansen, "snow is the best surface for long journeys”


ExWeb interview with Frédéric Dion, invention and modification for the South Pole of Inaccessibility


ExWeb interview with Ian Evans, skier with PolarExplorers on Messner Route


ExWeb interview with Newall Hunter, solo South Pole skier: "pretty hectic last preparations"


French married couple and Norwegian adventurer for South Pole crossing: ExWeb interview with couple


ExWeb interview with Tractor Girl, Manon Ossevoort: tractor passed tests and arrived in Cape Town


ExWeb post South Pole interview with Fagan couple


Lessons from a yachtswoman: Paula Reid to ski to the South Pole


Geoff Wilson’s Top 5 South Pole Tips


ExWeb interview with Faysal Hanneche, "I learned to be patient on Antarctica"


Rules and Regulations in No-Man's Land: ExWeb interview with ALE's Steve Jones


Mount Sidley, Antarctica’s highest volcano accessible to climbers


Polar Technology


Rules and Regulations in No-Man's Land: ExWeb interview with ALE's Steve Jones


Polar Tech Week Roundup: 2014/2015 Recommendations


Your Smart Phone going Global: Review of Iridium Go


ExWeb Special: 2014 Polar Tech Roundtable Conference


HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software)




Natalia Almeida and Ben Weber to cycle and ski Arctic Canada


2014-15 South Pole list - Updated


AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure


Ski North Pole from Russia: Victor Boyarsky talks to Explorersweb


Kenn Borek stops supporting North Pole expeditions


“While it is a risk, that is part of the appeal”, Bob Maxwell to sail and skidoo to the South Pole


Antarctica news bits


Mission to Mars: Stage 2 Report


A journey to the South Pole in a wheelchair


Antarctica video trilogy


Video: Second 2012-13 Ilyushin-76 flight lands at Union Glacier, Antarctica


NASA Worldview


Current Polar Sea Ice Situation (Sept 2014)


Animated map of global weather conditions


New satellite map of Antarctica freely available


Antarctic ski/climb/pole/science Logistic Operators


Adventure Network International (ANI and ALE)


Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI and TAC)



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/ANI base ”amp, Union Glacier 

79° 45'S, 083° 14'W


Hercules Inlet is located at 80°S near Union Glacier, 1130 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) start is 890 km in a straight line from the Pole.

The bottom of the Leverett Glacier, at the Ross Ice Shelf, is located at about 85ºS, a distance of 550 km from the Geographic South Pole.

Axel Heiberg Glacier start is also located at the Ross Ice Shelf and 535 km in a straight line from the South Pole.

Novo Base to South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI) is 1610 km in a straight line.


According to the Rules of Adventure, to claim a “solo" achievement, requires an unassisted status - 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). Note that the Polar Rules were compiled by early Norwegian and British Polar explorers and are maintained today by the current community of veteran polar skiers.


1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km

1 nm = 1.151 miles

1 knot = 1.852 km/h

1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet

A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.


South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI)

2011-12 position: 

S82°06.696, E055°01.951

Geographic South Pole (GSP): 90 degrees South

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.













The last of the ski and kite-ski teams heading for the Geographic South Pole, arrived on January 19. Image of the 2015 South Pole maker, which was unveiled on New Years Day
Antarctica ski and kite routes.
courtesy Map compiled by Explorersweb, SOURCE