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South Pole speed attempt to restart; Kiters in trouble with kites

Posted: Dec 02, 2013 06:49 am EST


(By Correne Coetzer) Novo solo kite skiers, Geoff Wilson and Faysal Hanneche, are not only got hammered by storms, but also by their kites. They have covered a quarter of their crossings. 


With deep, sticky powder snow, total whiteouts, and conditions likely to be the same the next few days, Richard Parks finds it impossible to ski the miles he needs to a day to break the speed record, he reported on December 1. 


He logged:

Day 1: 25.4 km in 6.5 hours (climbed 500 m)

Day 2: 27 km in 10 hours

Day 3: 4.5 km in 3 hours


Parks decided to ski back to his start point at Hercules Inlet “with the option to try and wait there for more favourable conditions and attempt to start over again.  I won’t use my expedition food rations as ALE can drop food off so I can eat at Hercules Inlet before I start again, that way I can start with enough food to last the entire expedition still.”


During his 2010 speed record expedition, Christian Eide started off with 37.1 km, 42.9 km, 41.7 km, 45.1 km during his first 4 days out of Hercules Inlet while spending 10.5 hours per day on his skis. 


Hercules Inlet start


On December 1, the ALE Twin Otter landed at Hercules Inlet, dropping the majority of the skiers, who start from there. Vesa Luomala reported that they were dropped off at 79.59.98 S, 79.38.05 W, 18h35 Chilean time. ANI/ALE uses Chilean time as the local time, the same as their office in Punta Arenas.


Antony Jinman started right away, heading in a southeast direction. As the skiers out of Hercules Inlet know, that is in the direction of the two nunataks. AJ skied for 3 hours. 


Vesa started 10 minutes later and covered 2.55 km in 1 hour before making camp. He reported:

Elevation: 235 m 

Temperature: -5°C 

Wind: 5 m/s

Weather: sunny / cloudy


ANI guide Carl Alvey and 16-year-old Lewis Clarke decided to camp at Hercules Inlet and make a fresh start on December 2.


Cyclists, Hercules Inlet Start


American cyclist, Daniel Burton, reported a calm morning at Union Glacier on December 2. “It is toasty warm in the tent. Hopefully it means I can fly to the start location at Hercules Inlet today.”


Novo kite skiers


According to Geoff Wilson’s latest report, he was kiting 67 km on Dec. 2 (his local time), but at times felt out of control and in dangerous situations with his Quantum kite, given that he was solo. He explained, “I’ve only flown the kite once before and was kicked off the beach by the Gold Coast Airport Authority (‘distraction to air traffic’ they said…?).  The lack of training on it nearly cost me today, but all is well; no damage, no injury, no loss of kite and a lot of wisdom gained.”


Geoff says it was -25 degrees Celsius in his tent that night. He crossed 75 degrees South. Still 15 degrees of latitude to get to the Geographic South Pole. 


On November 26, Faysal Hanneche lost a ski while kiting and also lost control of his kite. The kite dragged him for 200 meters before he managed to get his knife out to cut the lines. He landed “violently but nothing broken.”   


Faysal said on Nov. 30, he was very irritated the first two weeks because of “the waste of time” [caused by the slow progress during the storms]. He added, “This week, I learnt to be patient. My nervousnesses will not advance me faster.”


Cape Evans start


Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere, on the Ross Ice Shelf, are approaching the gateway to the Beardmore Glacier.

Stats Day 38: December 1:

S83° 22' 45.012", E170° 45' 42.480"

8 hours 30 min, 31 km

Temperature: -7°C Wind chill: -14°C

Altitude: 112 ft


Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) Start


ANI guide, Devon McDiarmid reported that weather has improved and it looks good for their team to start December 2.


Also waiting at Union Glacier for the flight to this start point are Marty and Chris Fagan. They say they have “awesome food” at Union Glacier. [Ed: As usual the chefs are preparing five star food.]


Walking With The Wounded


The three teams got underway at 13h35 GMT On December 1. “Team Glenfiddich were first out of the starting blocks with Prince Harry leading.” Inge Solheim said the covered 13,3 km in 5 hours.

Ed Parker reported, "It's a beautiful clear day. I think everyone found it a little harder then they were expecting. It is out first day out with our heavy pulks. They weigh around 80-90kg at the moment."


AAE 20130-2014


The Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014 has set sail on Nov. 27. Chris Turney reported, “We’re now in the southern end of Auckland Island in a flooded caldera known as Carnley Harbour. Evidence of the last ice age are seen on the surrounding slopes: corries, moraines and terraces blanket the landscape and are a major focus for this part of the research programme. Teams have gone off to core bogs and lakes on the surrounding slopes while the rest of the team have extended their work in Port Ross.”


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


2013 South Pole teams


Unassisted, unsupported:


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

Richard Parks, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo

Vesa Luomala, FI, Hercules Inlet, solo

Antony Jinman, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo

Marty and Chris Fagan, USA, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf start

Juan Menendez Granados, ES, Hercules Inlet, solo cycle


Unassisted, Supported:


Geoff Wilson, AU, Novo Runway start

Faysal Hanneche, FR, Novo Runway start


Assisted, Unsupported


Daniel Burton, USA, Hercules Inlet, cycle

Carl Alvey (ANI guide) and Lewis Clarke, UK, Hercules Inlet

Devon McDiarmid (CA, ANI guide), Joshua Hodgkinson (AU), Arabella Slinger (UK), and Wen Yuan (China), Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf


Assisted, Supported


Doug Stoup (US, guide), Parker Liautaud (UK), car driver, Eyjólfur Már Teitsson (Iceland), cameraman, Paddy Scott (UK) and Nathan Hambrook-Skinner (comms operator). Leverett Glacier


Partial route:


Walking With The Wounded, last three degrees from Novo side (guides, Eric Philips, Inge Solheim and Conrad Dickinson. Three teams racing to the Pole. Price Harry with them.) Arctic trucks support team: Emil Grímsson, Pálmi Baldursson,Torfi Jóhannsson and Ari Hauksson.




Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition Spirit of Mawson website

AAE 2013-2014 Interpret Science website


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 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


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




Richard Parks started speed attempt; All the coast to South Pole skiers on Antarctica


Antony Jinman with two drones to the South Pole, ExWeb interview


Maria Leijerstam in the Cycle Race for the South Pole


South Pole ski update: Geoff Wilson through crevasse minefields; Waiting game in Punta Arenas


Carl Alvey to guide 16-year-old Lewis Clarke to the South Pole: ExWeb interview


China’s growing presence in Antarctica


ExWeb interview with Lewis Clarke (16): to ski 1130 km Hercules Inlet route 


Novo kite-skiers on Antarctica - Updated


ExWeb interview with Richard Parks, "it took pretty much every bit of physical and mental energy" 


ExWeb interview with Vesa Luomala, "there is no room for underestimating a place like Antarctica"


ExWeb South Pole 2013 interview with Geoff Wilson, "my mind I feel will be the greatest maze of all"


Marty and Chris Fagan, married outdoor team for the past 15 years. ExWeb South Pole interview 


South Pole 2013-14: Doug Stoup and Parker Liautaud for Leverett Glacier route


Cycle South Pole update: testing and innovation


ExWeb interview with Juan Menendez Granados: the greatest challenge


Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition update


ExWeb South Pole 2013 interview with Geoff Wilson, "my mind I feel will be the greatest maze of all"


ExWeb South Pole kick-off interview: Daniel Burton, return cycle journey


ExWeb interview with Eric Philips, three decades of polar experience


Breaking news: Christian Eide bags the South Pole solo speed ski world record


AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure


Adventure Network International (ANI) / ALE

Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI) / TAC


#polar #southpole2013  #southpole2013-14  #antarctica







Geoff Wilson: "I don't think I've ever travelled anywhere where the isolation is so utterly complete. It's wonderful and it's disconcerting at times."
courtesy Geoff Wilson, SOURCE
Cold injuries on Novo kite skier Geoff Wilson's body, " Here is a progress shot of my ‘Fatgut Frost injury’. Lesson learned – don’t let your gut pop out here!" He measured -25C in his tent; the windchill while kiting, much lower.
courtesy Geoff Wilson, SOURCE
The ALE Twin Otter with solo skier from Finland, Vesa Luomala, at the Hercules Inlet drop-off.
courtesy Vesa Luomala, SOURCE
Antony Jinman at the Hercules Inlet drop-off. He skied 3 hours before making camp for the night.
courtesy Antony Jinman, SOURCE
Union Glacier camp as captured by Spanish cyclist, Juan Menendez Granados (click to enlarge). The blue "boxes" on the right are the toilets, the clam tents are for ANI clients, the largest, long tent is the dining tent, and the yellow tents left at the back are staff tents.
courtesy Juan Menendez Granados, SOURCE
The Fagan couple in at Union Glacier - no flying weather in the image on November 30, but clearing resently.
courtesy Marty Fagan and Chris Fagan, SOURCE
South Pole routes.
courtesy ExplorersWeb, SOURCE
The Australasian Antarctic Expedition set sail from Bluff in southern New Zealand November 27, on the AMV Akademik Shokalskiy, packed with scientific gear and 41 team members.
courtesy Australasian Antarctic Expedition 2013-2014, SOURCE