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

Posted: Nov 24, 2014 11:08 am EST


(By Correne Coetzer, edited Nov 25, 11:03 EST, Nov. 26, 3:38 am EST)  All the ski teams are on Antarctica. The Hercules Inlet team and Messner route teams flew from Punta Arenas to Union Glacier on November 22. Keith Heger guides the team of American outfitter, PolarExplorers. Just before leaving he sent through 5 Top Tips to his team, 5 favorite items in his sled and shared some items on their menu. [Ed note: PolarExplorers is and American company, not Candian as previously written.]


Keith’s 5 Top Tips 


1. Trust in your preparation. 


2. Be proactive in your actions and listen to your body. 


3. Keep organized. It allows you to conserve energy, leads to good trail and camp routines that minimizes drama. 


4. Act deliberately in all that you do. From your preparation to each step on the trail. 


5. Have fun and make sure to have a sense of humor and humility. 


Keith’s 5 favorite items


1. My wife has been baking this unbelievable banana chocolate chip bread for years. It has fueled many a North and South Pole team. I look forward to our treats and resupply bags for this little slice of home. 


2. We are taking the Iridium GO! and a Galaxy S5. We will see how it holds up. 


3. My custom made Brenig Anorak. Graham and I have been working together on this design that incorporates a skirt which can be folded up easily and stuffed with extra insulation around the waist and thigh area. [Ed note Nov. 26, 3:38 am EST, correction: The outdoor clothing company is Bernig not Brening as previously written.]


4. The Ibex Tuck SoftShell wool pants. The weight and warmth are ideal for the demands of polar travel.


5. I have been traveling with a small foil kite, a novelty item to fly at camp. It's fun to have it keeping watch over camp and who doesn't like to fly a kite! I will have to send on a photo.


On the menu


Our menu consists of a homemade breakfast. A mixture of oats or cream of wheat and oat bran, nuts, brown sugar, cinnamon,  milk powder. We prepackage them and each serving is about 145 grams and packs about 800 calories. 


Dinner is freeze dried with a variety of brands and flavors about 12 different in total. 


Lunch is handled by each team member with some basic guidelines energy bars, dried fruit nuts cheese and dried meats. I am most looking forward to the Lara bars on the trail. 


Of course we have some special treats to celebrate the milestones and holidays. 


Keith Heger (US) is guiding Ian Evans (CA), Andy Styles (UK) and Bradley Cross (UK) for PolarExplorers on the Messner Route starting from the Ronne-ilchner Ice Shelf. 






Unassisted Supported

(no resupplies, wind-support)


Solo traverse Novo - GSP- Hercules Inlet

Faysal Hanneche (FR)


Solo, kite-ski Novo - South Pole of Inaccessibility

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 (CA)

William (Bill) Morrison (UK)

Tim Garrett (AU)


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 (guide) 

Ian Evans (CA) 

Andy Styles (UK) 

Bradley Cross (UK)


Note: Messner Route starts at Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf.


Assisted Supported


Return Journey

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





Winds testing the South Pole skiers and kiters


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


2014 South Pole expedition list


ExplorersWeb Interviews


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


Heads up: Frédéric Dion to kite-ski solo to 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)




2014-15 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.

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 (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












Keith Heger at Union Glacier runway, dropped off on November 22 by ALE's Ilyushin-76. (click images to enlarge)
courtesy Keith Heger, SOURCE
Keith: "Andy [Styles] giving his stamp of approval on our prep work [in ANI's warehouse in Punta Arenas]."
courtesy Keith Heger, SOURCE
Antarctica ski and kite routes.
courtesy Map compiled by ExplorersWeb, SOURCE