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

Posted: Oct 21, 2014 06:36 pm EDT


(Correne Coetzer) In November British adventurer, motivational speaker and leadership developer, Paula Reid, is exchanging the endless open waters and waves of the oceans for the endless frozen horizons and sastrugi of Antarctica.


Paula is part of the ANI team, who will start at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner Route). ExplorersWeb caught up with her on a training weekend with Steve Jones, coordinator for participants in ANI Ski South Pole Expeditions, and Robert Smith, Everest guide turned South Pole guide.


Paula shared with ExWeb what she has learned at sea that she will take to Antarctica to help her cope with the challenging conditions:


"Sailing around the world in the Global Challenge - the world's toughest yacht race - has certainly semi-prepared me for the Ski South Pole full distance expedition. This is in various ways:


1) Psychological: attitude is (almost) everything. I know I can do tough. I know I can dig deep. I know I can mentally, physically and emotionally deal with big, cold physical challenges. That's good to know and gives me a reference point and a confidence that I would not have had otherwise. 


2) Cold and windy weather coping strategies: I understand the impacts and effects of cold and very windy conditions. I know to keep hold of my gloves, to avoid loose ropes whipping in the wind, to maintain core warmth, to eat for fuel intake, to be efficient with admin, and so on. I am used to cold + windy + wet and have developed habits to survive. ”The South Pole is a desert, so the 'wet' bit is less of a concern!


3) Teamwork and fellowship: I have lived with 17 others on a 72' boat for 54 days at a time, so I have also strategies for coping with the people side of things! How to live in close confines with strangers under taxing circumstances... How to motivate and role model positive behaviours, how to develop teamwork and enhance team spirit, how to respond when things get 'tricky' and how to be a supportive 'follower' to a skipper /expedition leader. 


4) Mental preparedness and managing expectations: I kind of know what to expect. Not exactly - I haven't done Polar travel before - but things like flying to Chile, being around the southern oceans, food packing and rehydration, crisis prevention and management - even medical evacuations!"


According to Paula the expedition will take approximately 40 days and she will haul 65 kg. She leaves for Chile on November 14th. Paula's 3 team mates are two from the UK and one from Switserland. 


Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America: 

To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier 

79° 45'S, 083° 14'W


Full route start points:

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

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


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 2011-12 position: 

S82°06.696, E055°01.951

Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South




Geoff Wilson’s Top 5 South Pole Tips


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


Union Glacier start-up team to 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 Tech Week Roundup: 2014/2015 Recommendations


Your Smart Phone going Global: Review of Iridium Go


ExWeb Special: 2014 Polar Tech Roundtable Conference


A journey to the South Pole in a wheelchair


Antarctica video trilogy


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


AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure


Adventure Network International (ANI) / ALE

Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI) / TAC


Paula Reid’s website













South Pole training = tyre pulling. Apart from the physical ability to cover the daily distances and the mental stamina to continue in extreme conditions, courage, stamina, technical skill, a high level of strength and aerobic fitness, and commitment to a pre-trip training programme are also needed, says Paula.
courtesy Paula Reid, SOURCE