7 Summits 8000ers Adventure Films Adventure Travel Africa Alaska Alaska Alpine style Alps Ama Dablam Amazon Andes Annapurna Annapurna Antarctic Antarctic Archaeology Arctic Arctic Aviation Ballooning BASE jump and Paragliding BASE Jumping and Paragliding Big Wall climbing Breaking News Broad Peak Buyers Guides Canoeing & Kayaking Caving Cho Oyu Climate change Climbing COVID-19 Cycling Denali Desert Dhaulagiri Dhaulagiri Elbrus Endurance Environment Everest Expeditions Exploration mysteries Explorers First ascents Flying Gasherbrum Gear Geography High altitude skiing Himalaya Hindu Kush History Ice Climbing Indigenous cultures K2 Kangchenjunga Karakorum Kilimanjaro Lhotse Long-distance hiking Long-distance Trekking Makalu Manaslu Manaslu Marathon Medical Misc Sports Mountain Mountaineering Nanga Parbat NASA Natural History Nepal Nuptse Ocean Rowing Oceanography Oceans Patagonia Photos Polar Exploration Polar Research Poles Reviews Rivers Rowing/canoeing Science Sherpa Siberia Skiing Solo South Pole Space Sponsored Content Survival Swimming Tropics Uncategorized Unclimbed Volcanos Weather Wildlife Winter 8000ers Winter Himalaya

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

Posted: Nov 04, 2014 07:50 pm EST


(By Correne Coetzer) The only Norwegian skiing a full distance route this season, Are Johansen, has teamed up with French couple, Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel, to do a ski crossing of Antarctica. They plan to start at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf for the Messner Route and when reaching the Geographic South Pole, turning North to Hercules Inlet, as distance of 2020 km in a straight line.


ExplorersWeb caught up with Are in Punta Arenas. The French couple joined him two days ago and they are busy with the last food preparations and other bits and pieces. Previously Stephanie and Jeremie told ExplorersWeb they are preparing food for 80 days.


ExplorersWeb: You have "crossed" Alaska, I see on Ousland website. From where to where? What time of the year? 


Are Johansen: I crossed Alaska from Anchorage to Nome, "The Iditarod Trail”. It was late January till early April 2001. 72-days. With my good buddy, Bengt Rotmo. I'm a winter guy, and snow is the best surface for long journeys.


ExplorersWeb: Now you are attempting a crossing again. Is this part of a “crossings project”?


Are Johansen: No, apart from, I'll cross anything as long as the adventure is trigging me. Antarctica is a dream come true. 


ExplorersWeb: You have great Norwegian polar explorers around you in Norway. Who have you asked for advice and could you share some of the tips they gave you for Antarctica?


Are Johansen: Everybody! That is the strength of the Norwegian Polar community that everybody will willingly give their best advice - so it is up to me to sort it out and create my own standard. 


But I would especially like to thank: Lars Ebbesen, Børge Ousland, Bengt Rotmo, Devon McDiarmid and Hannah McKeand.


ExplorersWeb: You are Norwegian, “A Son of Amundsen”, and a Greenland guide, with lots of cold weather experience, but what do you think will challenge you on this expedition?


Are Johansen: Oh gosh - everything. Your last adventure can only be an adventure and should never be a comfort booster - so I go into this extremely humble and try to tell my self I know nothing. That way I hope to be fully alert and ready.


ExplorersWeb: Gear? 


Are Johansen: Traditional and safe, the trip is too long the experiment too much.

Boots:  Alfa North Pole

Skis:  Åsnes Amundsen

Skins length:  As short as possible. Åsnes.

Clothes:  Brynje mesh, Devold wool, Norrøna Gore-tex, Helsport Down.

Sled: Christian's Acapulka [Ed: Christian Eide, Antarctic World speed ski record holder]


ExplorersWeb: You have teamed up with the French couple, why? 


Are Johansen: I could not afford a trip on my own, and as they contacted Ousland for advice, we found out joining forces was a win-win as it is both safer with 3, utilizing equipment maximizes, and if one goes down there are still 2 to push for the end result.


ExplorersWeb: Where will you receive resupplies? 


Are Johansen: Thiels Corner 2 (in and out) 1 before the Pole, 1 at the SP. 


ExplorersWeb: Anything else?


Are Johansen: Please cross your fingers, you know that the odds are not statistically very high...






Unassisted Supported

(no resupplies, wind-support)


Solo traverse Novo - GSP- Hercules Inlet

Faysal Hanneche (FR)


Solo, kite-ski Novo - POI

Frédéric Dion (CA,)


Assisted Unsupported

(resupplies, no wind.vehicles)


Traverse Messner - GSP - Hercules Inlet

Stéphanie Gicquel(FR)

Jérémie Gicquel (FR) 

Are Johansen NO 


Newall Hunter (UK, Messner to GSP)


Adventure Consultants team

Hercules Inlet route

Einar Torfi Finnsson (IS, guide)

Hugh Dougall 

Bill Morrison

Tim Garrett


ANI Messner Route team 

Robert Smith (guide)

Paula J Reid (UK)

Arabella Slinger (UK)

Julian Thomas (UK)

Vincent Piguot (Switzerland)


PolarExplorers team

Messner route

Keith Heger (CA guide) 

Ian Evans (CA) 

Andy Styles (UK) 

Bradley Cross (UK)


Assisted Supported


Tractor expedition (Novo to GSP)

Matty McNair (US, leader)

Manon Ossevoort (NL)

Sarah McNair-Landry (CA)


Non-coastal start:

Outer Edge snow sailer (AU)

return journey

Polar Plateau South of Novo to GSP and possible return via POI to Novo Base

Kristan Ficher (leader)

Charles Werb

Adrian McCallum

Jon Moody



ExplorersWeb Interviews


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


Heads up: Frédéric Dion to kite-ski solo to South Pole of Inaccessibility


2014 South Pole expedition list


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)




2014-14 South Pole list - Updated


AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure


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 camp, 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.


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 (not exclusively ExplorersWeb) 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












"Your last adventure can only be a adventure and should never be a comfort booster." Image: Are Johansen, guide on Greenland, Spring 2014.
courtesy Petter Angell Moen, SOURCE
"I go into this extremely humble and try to tell my self I know nothing. That way I hope to be fully alert and ready." Image: Are Johansen (left) and Bengt Rotmo (middel) during their 2001 Iditarod.
courtesy Bengt Rotmo, SOURCE
Antarctica ski and kite routes.
courtesy Map compiled by ExplorersWeb, SOURCE