South Pole update: food shortage, fatigue and cold

Posted: Jan 14, 2014 02:05 am EST


(By Correne Coetzer) Latest update from cyclist Juan Menendez Granados was on Day 41, that he was 126km from the South Pole with just a full breakfast and dinner and some leftover dried fruit, chocolate powder, etc. in his food bag. He is pushing for 12-hour, 30+ kilometer days. 


Devon McDiarmid (CA, ANI guide), Joshua Hodgkinson (AU), and Wen Yuan (China), arrived at the Geographic South Pole on January 12th. They started on Dec. 3 from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner route). 


The sastrugi made way for flat terrain, which lifted the skiers moods, although the snow is soft and deep. Temperatures are cold on the Plateau. 


Unsupported, Unassisted


As Juan Menendez Granados’ home team reported his food supply is not ideal for an athlete who is active for more than 12 hours a day; added, at this stage of a 1130 km expedition. He has enough fuel to melt snow for the rest of distance. Juan started his expedition with the aim not to get a resupply, but now it takes longer to complete the expedition than planned for.


Antony Jinman’s covered 17 nautical miles (31.5 km / 20 miles) yesterday, Day 42. He, and his two drones, are nearing the last degree, which is 60 nm / 110 km to the South Pole. AJ says, “Whilst my legs have taken a bit of a battering, and my ankles still have blisters, I’m in a pretty good physical state still.” At the beginning of 88 degree though he experienced “quite challenging and tough” conditions in poor visibility in his 10 hour day, but still covered 15 nm.


On January 13, Vesa Luomala entered 88 degrees. Yesterday he covered 24.5 km in 8 days. He reported to have 217 km left to the Pole and has food rations for 12 days. If nothing serious happens, he should not worry about food. Dense sastrugi saw him out of 87 degrees, so much so that he had a problem finding a flat spot to put up his tent.


Chris and Marty Fagan reported on Day 41, “over the last couple days we’ve instigated a couple things to try to help me. I was just so physically exhausted over the past few days that I was trying to figure out a way to get a little extra rest in.” Marty took some of Chris’ food on his sled, they sleep a bit longer each day and shortening their days to eight and a half hours instead of nine and a half to ten hour days. They also are stretching their food to give them one more day to get the Pole. It all helps as their spirits lifted, even in low visibility. Day 43, yesterday, they covered 12.9 miles in 8.5 hours.



Assisted, Unsupported


Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere arrived at a depot yesterday and covered 22.9 miles (39.8km) in 9 hours. Day 81: S85° 10' 31.80", E161° 44' 35.88"


Carl Alvey and Lewis Clarke also felt the intense cold of the Plateau. Lewis covered up with his Brynje windproof double layer underwear. They reported a wind-chill of -41.3ºC, skied only 4.5 hours and took a rest. The weather improved a little the past two days and they have picked up speed again, covering 19 and 18 miles in 9 hours.


Cyclist Daniel Burton’s latest position, on January 3, was South 88º 40.529 West 082º 27.680. He covered 16 nautical miles at an elevation of 8,961 ft. The snow was soft and pedaling hard and slow, but there are now ski tracks from multiple ski expeditions ahead of him. If he follows in their trails, Daniel says, cycling is much easier. Daniel, who got his resupply from ANI/ALE, had a rest day with lots of sleep, on the 12th.


Devon McDiarmid, Joshua Hodgkinson and Wen Yuan were still waiting out poor weather at the ANI South Pole camp yesterday. The ALE plane will pick them up when the weather clears.



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:


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


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.] completed




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).




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


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 


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


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 


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 


ExWeb interview with Juan Menendez Granados: the greatest challenge


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 






Norwegians Espen Fadnes and Kjersti Eide finally got into the air in Dronning Maud Land. "Here they fly a funny line from the back of Holstind and west over the pass and lands 10 minutes from camp."
courtesy Dronning Maud Land Project, SOURCE
The Fagan couple: "So now we are in calm flat snow kinda like water in a harbor. The snow is soft and sticky but we are happy to be past the crazy sastrugi that was pretty rough for us. So we're sitting in the tent right now and it's super, just cold outside. And there is absolute silence."
courtesy Marty Fagan and Chris Fagan, SOURCE
Vesa Luomala: "the thing I saw when I woke up can be seen from the picture. Somewhere really far away I could see blue skies, so I started skiing even though it was whiteout. Visibility for snow improved slowly, but first kilometers were awful!"
courtesy Vesa Luomala, SOURCE
Vesa from Finland, covering up against the cold wind with the skirt his mom made him.
courtesy Vesa Luomala, SOURCE
Juan Menendez Granados running seriously low on food with about a 100 km to go.
courtesy Juan Menendez Granados, SOURCE
After a tough day, Antony Jinman reported, "I'm currently sat in my tent, I’ve just had my meal and have the stoves inside the tent to warm it up and dry out my socks and other kit from the day."
courtesy Antony Jinman, SOURCE
Ben Saunders and Tarka L'Herpiniere picked up supplies at their depot. Ben: "waypoints allow us to safely steer a dog-leg around the western edge of the Shackleton Ice Falls, avoiding getting tangled up in its giant crevasses and pressure ridges."
courtesy Ben Saunders and Tarka L Herpiniere, SOURCE
Ben an Tarka's map
courtesy Ben Saunders and Tarka L Herpiniere, SOURCE
South Pole routes.
courtesy ExplorersWeb, SOURCE