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Frédéric Dion arrived at the Geographic South Pole

Posted: Dec 25, 2014 11:50 am EST


(By Correne Coetzer) Frédéric Dion started kite-skiing at Novolazarevskaya on November 10, arrived at the South Pole of Inaccessibility (S82º 06.702' E55º 02.087’) on December 14 and at the Geographic South Pole (90ºS) on December 24. He covered the 2490 km in 45 days. He will now be heading North to Hercules Inlet.


The other kite skier, Faysal Hanneche, is still hanging in there and started rationing his food as he is behind schedule. Skier Newall Hunter went through sastrugi as big as busses.


Assisted Supported

([emergency] resupply, wind-support)


Frédéric Dion (CA)

Kite-ski crossing 

Novo - South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI) - Geographic South Pole (GSP) - Hercules Inlet


The only other team who had done this route was the duo, Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland. They covered the Novo - POI - GSP section in 65 days and arrived at 90 degrees on January 8, 2012. (Ed note: See AdventureStats.com]


The duo completed the traverse at Hercules Inlet in 80 days. Already only taking 45 days to get to 90 degrees, Fred has a good chance to do his traverse in less than 80 days.


Before Fred left for Antarctica he told ExWeb he would like to break Eric and Sebastian’s world record for longest distance kite skied in 24 hours. They set this record in 2010 on a Greenland expedition. Fred still has a chance to do so in the 1130 stretch to Hercules Inlet, given he gets favorable winds.


As for kiting on Antarctica, in 2008 Norwegian Ronny Finsaas kited from the South Pole to Hercules Inlet in 5 days and covered 502,73km in less than 24 hours, in a straight line between two camps.


Unassisted Supported

(no resupplies, wind-support)


Solo traverse Novo - GSP - Hercules Inlet

Faysal Hanneche (FR)


Faysal reported kite-skiing 101 km on December 23, but on the 24th the wind allowed him to do only 6 km. Better than nothing, he says.


The Frenchman repacked his food and reduced his daily rations because he is a bit behind schedule. He hopes his food will last till January 17. As for fuel he is still good, he reports.



Assisted Unsupported

(resupplies, no wind/vehicles)


Traverse Messner - GSP - Hercules Inlet

Stéphanie Gicquel(FR)

Jérémie Gicquel (FR) 

Are Johansen (NO) 


The team arrived at the Geographic South Pole on December 23 on Day 40. They will also head North like Fred Dion, but skiing without kites, and with resupplies. They met Fred yesterday when he arrived at the Pole and shared their experiences.


The team is resupplied at the Pole with food fuel, a new tent, new skis and skins. ANI also delivered plastic sleds for them at the SP, which are slightly lighter than the kevlar sleds, but, says the French couple, they are not sure if they should change their sleds.


They plan to start their 1130 km return leg today.



Newall Hunter(UK, Messner to GSP)


The Brit is at 88 degrees. He reported a big sastrugi filed "some of them were the size of busses. Took quite a lot of finding my way through it. Anyway after a lot of grunting, u-turns and a few falls I made it through.”


He says his two plastic pulks, in line one after the other, are very hard to pull in the soft snow he has had in places. Therefore he turned them in to one sled by stacking them on top of each other.


After 30 straight days of 10-11 hours pulling and about 6 hours sleep a night, Newall decided to rest and recover on Christmas day.



Adventure Consultants team

Hercules Inlet route

Einar Torfi Finnsson (IS, guide)

Hugh Dougall (CA)

William (Bill) Morrison (UK)

Tim Garrett (AU)


No new news at the time of publishing.



ANI Messner Route team 

Robert Smith (guide)

Paula J Reid (UK)

Arabella Slinger (UK)

Julian Thomas (UK)

Vincent Piguot (Switzerland)


Day 31, Christmas Day, Paula’s home team reported good weather yesterday and overcast today. They hope to reach their next resupply. 



25th Dec 2014 @ 12:00:02 UTC

87° 09.12S, 082° 00.15W 



PolarExplorers team

Messner route

Keith Heger (CA, guide) 

Ian Evans (CA) 

Andy Styles (UK) 

Bradley Cross (UK)


No new news at the time of publishing.



Assisted Supported


Return Journey COMPLETED

Tractor expedition (Novo - GSP - Novo)

Matty McNair (US, Expedition Lead Guide)

Manon Ossevoort (NL, Lead driver)

Sarah McNair-Landry (CA, Expedition Guide and Audio-Visual Support) 

Nicolas Bachelet (Lead Mechanic) 

Simon Foster (Creative Director and Audio-Visual Lead) 

Arnór Ingólfsson (Expedition Leader and Arctic Truck Driver 1)

Jóhannes Guðmundsson(Arctic Truck Driver 2)

Arctic Trucks


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 

Charles Werb

Adrian McCallum (leader)

Jon Moody


Outer Edge Polar Challenge postponed until November 2015.



Follow daily team blogs with RSS feeds in the News Stream at Explorersweb





Traverse Trio at the South Pole; Tractor Team completed return



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 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.

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 02.087' at an elevation of 3741 m.














Fred at the Ceremonial South Pole in front of the US South Pole Station.
courtesy Frederick Dion, SOURCE
Stephanie and Jeremie at the Geographic South Pole marker (90 degrees South marker).
Antarctica ski and kite routes.
courtesy Map compiled by Explorersweb, SOURCE