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Devon McDiarmid and team closing in on the South Pole - updated

Posted: Jan 10, 2014 02:15 pm EST


(By Correne Coetzer, updated Jan 10, and Jan. 12 2:50 EDT) Devon McDiarmid and his team, Joshua Hodgkinson and Wen Yuan, are nearing the South Pole (90ºS) and were at 89.471626S, 079.753231W on January 9. [Update Jan. 12 02:50 EDT correction: Arabella Slinger, is not part of Devon’s team as previously stated. ANI reported to ExWeb that Slinger suffered an injury prior and is not in the team guided by Devon.]


Update on the ANI team position Jan. 12 02:50 EDT: Devon’s short message on January 11 says they can see the the South Pole Station and one more day to go.


Posted Jan 10, 2014 02:15 pm EST: The past week, most teams were battling through the infamous sastrugi fields, which start at end of 86 degrees and continue through 87.  Teams reported white-out conditions and difficult traveling on Jan. 9. 



Unsupported, Unassisted


Antony Jinman described one of the days in the sastrugi, “I also had to ski through what was almost a valley to begin with, which was really heavily eroded with massive sastrugi everywhere. Getting through all of that was extremely difficult. I managed to get through it, only to find a huge hill in front of me to climb! The wind had blown a lot of the loose snow off as well, so it was quite icy.” On January 9, when Antony camped a few miles short of 88° 23′ South (at 88° 16′S), 97 nautical miles from the South Pole, he reflected on Shackleton, who turned around at this longitude on January 9, 1909. 


On January 9, Vesa Luomala, was at 87.12.92 S, 83.03.73 W. He has problems with his skis, the steel sides are broken at places.


Chris and Marty Fagan support each other through bad days. When the one is not feeling well, the other navigates the whole day. Chris described her off day on January 7, “I felt like I couldn’t get enough air. I don’t know if it was the altitude, 8500′, or just fatigue. I think the toll of the last thirty seven days has really left my body feeling really tired.” They are a bit tight on food and reorganized their supplies to have 9 days of food left as they are “just slogging along” says Marty, “Time to keep our mental and physical abilities in check here.”


Juan Menendez Granados and his fatbike reported crevasses among the sastrugi. Yesterday, he said, was a “living hell” with the white-out, -30ºC and feeling ”horribly sick all day”. He was cold and put up his tent several times to warm his hands and feet. It as "horrible, I arrived exhausted at night and very worried about my supply. I'm on the edge, so hopefully the weather conditions improve in the next days". Juan is ahead of fellow cyclist, Daniel Burton, on this 1130 km route. They reportedly could have seen each other in distance.  


Assisted, Unsupported


Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere were halfway into 86º yesterday. They lost their old tracks an are back to navigating again, said Ben. The duo swap navigating every 45 minutes and now travel for six 90-minute sessions per day with five breaks of 10-15 minutes.


Carl Alvey and Lewis Clarke are still covering great miles; 17 per day in 9 hours. And reported still gaining altitude on “bumpy” terrain.


Daniel Burton and his fat bike, have picked up his third and last resupply, with some nice treats from the ANI chefs in the cache. Yesterday he hit the highest speed that he had done this whole trip on a downhill section, he said. Position Jan 9:  S87º 53.000, W82º 01.111



Completed expedition


Read some of kite-skier Geoff Wilson’s refections here. 




The Australasian Antarctic Expedition on the rescue ship, Aurora Australis, are at Casey Base. All is well but a storm is approaching, tweets Chris Turney. The other two ships, Akademik Shokalskiy and the Xue Long are now free of the ice. Read more news on AAE 2013-2014 Interpret Science website 


[Update Jan.10] ANI reports, “ The Ilyushin flew last night, bringing in our last group of guests for the 2013 season: Mount Vinson (V5) and Climb Antarctica climbers, a research team from the Centro de Estudios Cientificos, and a custom expedition to Vostok/Mount Sidley/South Pole with Russian polar explorer, Artur Chilingarov.”


Follow daily South Pole blog updates with RSS feeds in the News Stream on ExplorersWeb and the Pythom app or click the links below. 


2013 South Pole teams


Unassisted, unsupported:


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 (traverse):


Geoff Wilson, AU, Novo Runway - GSP - Hercules Inlet


Assisted, Unsupported


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

Daniel Burton, USA, Hercules Inlet, cycle

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

Devon McDiarmid (CA, ANI guide), Joshua Hodgkinson (AU), and Wen Yuan (China), Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf [Update Jan. 02:50 EDT correction: Arabella Slinger, is not part of Devon’s team as previously stated. ANI reported to ExWeb that she suffered an injury prior and is not in the team guided by Devon.] 




ANSMET meteorite hunters 2013-14


Dronning Maud Land Project Facebook and Blog page

Aleksander Gamme, Espen Fadnes, Kjersti Eide, Jonas Langseth, Andy Kirkpatrick and Ingeborg Jakobsen.


Australian Mawson Centenary Expedition Spirit of Mawson website

AAE 2013-2014 Interpret Science website [Rescued]


Arctic Trucks


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).




Geoff Wilson completes Antarctica crossing


South Pole arrivals and False Record Claims


Cars on Antarctica 


Gamme and team to climb, jump and ski in Dronning Maud Land


The Coldest Place on Earth 


The Cycle Race for the South Pole kicked off


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


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 







Juan Menendez Granados, solo cyclist sledge-hauling. A couple of good days for him, followed by "living hell" yesterday.
courtesy Juan Menendez Granados, SOURCE
Antony Jinman showing what makes the sastrugi fields so infamous in 87 degrees; not something they want to crash into when skiing/cycling in zero visibility.
courtesy Antony Jinman, SOURCE
South Pole routes.
courtesy ExplorersWeb, SOURCE