Novo kite-skiers on Antarctica - Updated

Posted: Nov 13, 2013 06:19 am EST



(By Correne Coetzer) Update [2]: Nov 13, 2013 11:30 pm EST Geoff Wilson reported that after midday it cleared enough to see crevasses and avoid them, but over a foot of fresh snow after the storm. He made 4 km in 6 hours, relayed sled as he camped on a rise. Storm forecasted for Nov.16th.


Update Nov 13, 2013 11:39 am EST: Geoff Wilson reported that he had moved out of Novo Base yesterday at 9 pm. after looking for fuel and all he needed, redistributing his gear on 3 sleds and greeting Faysal. “I moved just enough to be out of camp, pitched tent and started this solo odyssey. The enormity of the continent sinking in as I drifted into exhausted sleep.


Latest update today, a storm is keeping him tent bound due poor visibility. 


Earlier: Nov 13, 2013 06:19 am EST


The storm at Novolazarevskaya passed on November 11, but a layer of snow covered the runway and had to be cleared by the Russians. Eventually yesterday, ALCI’s Ilyushin-76 got in the air with kite-skiers, Geoff Wilson and Faysal Hanneche.


Last week Geoff told ExplorersWeb that, when arriving at Novo Base, he will start as soon as he has finished the meeting with TAC’s Russian crew at the Base, finalizing scheduled daily calls and other logistics. Faysal though, he said, was planning to stay a night at Novo Base and then start traveling the next day, which is today, if according to plan.   


Usually the winds are not favorable for kiting for about the first 200 km, which is uphill, with difficult snow and crevasses, and 165+ kg sleds. 


Wanting to cross to Hercules Inlet, Geoff counts the days left after an 8-day delay and wrote on his blog, “The reality – the exit point of Hercules Inlet closes in 74 days or so, leaving very little margin for further delay either climbing the glacier or on the plateau proper. Having said all of the above – I am still sane (just), still focused, still determined to make the first Australian solo and unassisted crossing of Antarctica.”


Fair winds to the kiters.


Also on the ALCI Ilyushin was the loaded sleds and the gear of the Walking With The Wounded teams (WWTW). Three teams of wounded soldiers, men and women, will be racing each other across the last three degrees of latitude to the South Pole (87 degrees to 90 degrees South), a distance of 330 km. England’s Prince Harry will be one of the skiers.


The teams are, Team UK, Team US and Team Commonwealth, with mentors/leaders, veteran Polar skiers, Eric Philips of Australia, Inge Solheim of Norway and Conrad Dickinson, UK. 


The teams will be driven to their start point, and supported through the race, by Arctic Trucks’ cars. The drivers are Emil Grímsson, Pálmi Baldursson,  Torfi Jóhannsson, Ari Hauksson of Iceland.


On November 14 a WWTW South Pole departure event will take place at Trafalgar Square, London. Prince Harry will attend.


At Union Glacier, Richard Parks is preparing for his start from Hercules Inlet.


On the Ross Ice Shelf, Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere, are at S79° 16' 59.4", E168° 28' 21.06" 



2013 South Pole teams


Unassisted, unsupported:


Ben Saunders and Tarka L’Herpiniere, Cape Evans return journey

Richard Parks, Hercules Inlet, solo


Unassisted, Supported:


Geoff Wilson, Novo Runway start

Faysal Hanneche, Novo Runway start


Partial route:


Walking With The Wounded, last three degrees from Novo side


Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa: 

To ALCI 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.


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


A "solo" ski requires an unassisted status (therefore no supplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything received from any person).


Follow daily South Pole blog updates in the News Stream on ExplorersWeb and the Pythom app. 




First Ilyushin-76 flight for the season landed at Union Glacier


AdventureStats and Polar Rules


Adventure Network International (ANI) / ALE

Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI) / TAC


#polar #southpole2013  #southpole2013-14  #antarctica





Geoff Wilson and Faysal Hanneche boarding the ACLI Ilyushin-76 in Cape Town, South Africa, on November 12th.
courtesy Geoff Wilson, SOURCE
South Pole routes
courtesy ExplorersWeb, SOURCE