South Pole update: Solo kiter evacuated; WWTW at the South Pole

Posted: Dec 13, 2013 06:22 pm EST


(By Correne Coetzer) The past week the majority of skiers were hammered by high winds and heavy dragging uphill. The cyclists were not able to cycle. But better weather and firmer snow conditions made sledge-hauling easier, the 2 cyclists were able to cycle and a drone was able to fly. 


Faysal Hanneche decided to abort his expedition due to medical reasons. Geoff Wilson made the longest solo, unassisted polar trip by an Australian and is concerned about a weeks food that he lost.


Unassisted, Unsupported

Hercules Inlet start, all solo


Richard Parks


Richard re-started his speed record attempt on December 5. Although the bad weather and soft snow slowed him down, Richard picked up speed the last few days.  HIs home team reported today that he has covered 252.6km/156 miles since his start.


Stats Day 11, December 12:

11 hours skiing, 40.6km/25 miles covered. 

S82°9’23”, W079°49’8” Altitude 839m


Vesa Luomala


The Fin described the unfavorable conditions earlier a few days ago, “The glacier tortured me like there is no tomorrow. Combination of constant headwind, drifting snow and soft ground makes you think you're no good at all no matter how hard you work.”


Stats: December 13:

Location: 81.31.17 S 80.31.54 W

Distance: 19,7 km

Time: 7 h 30 min

Elevation: 792 m

Temperature: -12 C

Wind: 5 m/s SW


Antony Jinman


On December 11, Antony was able to fly one of his drones because there was no wind. He is aiming to undertake the first non-research drone flight at the South Pole and uses two drones to document the expedition from a bird’s eye view, as he told ExplorersWeb in an interview.


Today AJ managed to travel over 12.5 nautical miles and commented, “Now I am looking to increase my daily average distance from around 9 nautical miles per day to around 11 nautical miles, moving up to 13 and 14 from week four onwards. I seem to be well on track for that, and feeling positive about hitting those targets in the coming days.


Juan Menendez Granados


Juan’s home team told ExWeb that his 9th day on the ice was the first day that he was cycling on small sections. “The snow conditions have improved in the last few hours. So, Juan is confident he can keep moving faster now and in the coming days.”



Unassisted, Unsupported 

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) Start


Marty and Chris Fagan


Weather on the Messner Route has also improved, reported the couple. But their terrain was quite difficult and bumpy the entire way again, said Chris. “So a lot of hard work and yeah, that really wore us out.”


Stats Day 11 December 12:

Hours traveled: 9.25

Miles traveled: 13

Total miles traveled: 116.3



Unassisted, Unsupported 

Cape Evans start, return


Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere


Ben reported from 8700 ft that “the slopes are far more gradual now, and the surface is way better. The weather's been pretty good. It's certainly colder up here.”


They buried a depot on Day 47 and camped that night at S85° 24' 7.2", E159° 50' 32.64"


Day 49, Dec. 12:

S85° 58' 8.04", E159° 42' 24.06"

Duration: 8 HR 30 MIN

Daily distance: 19.1 MI

Distance to go: 1182.9 MI

Temperature: -24 °C

Wind chill: -36 °C

Altitude: 8700 FT



Assisted, unsupported

Hercules Inlet start


ANI guide Carl Alvey and 16-year-old Lewis Clarke


The two covered  a good 17 miles on Day 11, reported the home team. Lewis had suffered from a bad cough, which slowed them down, but now it seems they pick up speed.


Daniel Burton


Daniel also reported better conditions for cycling. He covered 15.1 nm yesterday and crossed his first degree. “Only 9 more degrees to go, and that was the tough one because of the climb out of Hercules inlet and having to go around the big crevasse field.” He stepped into a crevasse on Dec. 3 though, but could pull himself out.



Unassisted, Supported

Novolazarevskaya Base -SP - Hercules Inlet


Geoff Wilson


Geoff is already 30 days out on the ice and is 899 km from the South Pole he reported.


He described the wear and tear in his sled, “The vibration in the sleds must have been amazing in that 340 kilometre sastrugi stretch; the peanuts shed all their oil, in the first aid kit – I had nurofen tablets in a container with a child proof lid burst open and grind themselves to dust, the food dramas…. [week’s food lost] how any of the electronics gear or camera gear has made it is beyond me!”


Faysal Hanneche


The pain in his injured knee became unbearable, reported Fasal, and he could not manage kiting anymore. He contacted Novo Base and asked for an evacuation. He is now in Cape Town. 



Assisted, Unsupported

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) Start


ANI guide, Devon McDiarmid, and Joshua Hodgkinson, Arabella Slinger, and Wen Yuan


Yesterday the team had their best mileage yet, 14.1 NM, reported Devon in his short messages. “Rewarded by seeing the Patuxent Mt range in the distance.”



Assisted, Supported

Leverett Glacier start


Maria Leijerstam arrived on Antarctica (Novo Base) where she is testing her tricycle the next few days.





87ºS start: Walking With The Wounded


The 3 teams with Prince Harry, and veteran skiers Eric Philips, Inge Solheim and Conrad Dickinson arrived at the Geographic SOuth Pole at 12:48 GMT on December 13, they reported


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:


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

Richard Parks, UK, Hercules Inlet, solo (speed record attempt)

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

Faysal Hanneche, FR, Novo Runway - GSP - Hercules Inlet


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


Leverett Glacier start: 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


Leverett Glacier start: Maria Leijerstam (UK, Welch, tricycle) plus car driver and cameraman.


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


Expeditions 7 Novo - GSP - Leverett Glacier return drive: Gísli Karel Elísson (Iceland), plus expedition team


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).




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 #arctictrucks 








Antony Jinman and one of his drones. No wind made it possible to fly.
courtesy Antony Jinman, SOURCE
Geoff Wilson, Dec 12: "I always look for damage to the sled, rope chaffing, anything that may come off the two small trailing sleds. To my horror I realised that yesterday a sastrugi had ripped the guts out of a food bag and that I've lost a week's worth of food."
courtesy Geoff Wilson, SOURCE
Vesa Luomala: " I must say I do it rarely, but here I also drink leftover sauce of daily meal, consisting mostly of water and food oil. You won't throw away any energy you have dragged so far."
courtesy Vesa Luomala, SOURCE
Juan Menendez Granados bicycle. The cyclists made some mile on their wheels on harder snow.
courtesy Juan Menendez Granados bike. , SOURCE
"Madiba Magic" celebrated on Antarctica. Juan paying tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.
courtesy Juan Menendez Granados, SOURCE
South Pole routes.
courtesy ExplorersWeb, SOURCE