Several teams near South Pole; Emma arrived; First Ascent in Queen Maud Land

Emma at the South Pole. From three different routes, Mike Horn (2215 km), Sébastien Lapierre (1130 km), and Reedy Glacier team (550 km), are near the Pole. Newly climbed mountain named after Finland. Call for Shackleton Award Nominations.

On January 5, Emma Kelty arrived at the South Pole after 52 days on the Hercules Inlet route. Her aim was to break the Solo Female World Record to the Pole, 39d 9h at that stage, but had gear and medical problems since early in the expedition, and had to receive assistance. She also ran out of food, she reported. According to the Rules of Adventures at, she cannot claim solo because of the assistance. Read more about what solo is; in the Mountains, on the Poles, the Oceans, the Deserts, etc. Rerun – AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

It is time again for the Shackleton Award Nominations. Get the information here.

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

S70.1015 W009.8249 start point, unassisted kite-support traverse, Mike Horn ZA/CH. He has nearly covered his 2215 km (in a straight line) to the Pole. “Tired and beaten up,” Mike described his kiting across hundreds of kilometers of sastrugi as “battle fields” day after day. “I spent 160 km in a battle field of sastrugi, snowdrifts, holes and soft snow. My hips, knees, shins, ankles and toes worked overtime today. From one bump to the next!” The next day: “Had another 175km in the battle ground of Sastrugi. Just when you think it’s over, there was more. So this battle I was fighting with myself and not the sastrugi. Start enjoying what you hate. Then peace comes over your mind, no expectation, let it be what it is, from that moment the battle was won.” Currently, Mike is sitting out windless days in his tent doing gear and body maintenance. He drilled a hole through a big toenail to release pressure, twice. “No wind is a blessing in disguise, it gives me time to recover and some of the frostnip I picked up on my face to settle. It is hard to stop a driven man but like I said here I don’t decide, Antarctica decides for you!” He is about 60 km from the Pole.

Hercules Inlet 80ºS return Journey, Risto Hallikainen (FI): Vesa Luomala reported to ExWeb/Pythom: “Risto is doing very long days (15-16 hours) to keep in needed pace. Last days have been 35 and 32 kms, but we expect longer kilometers when he descends a bit more. Communication has been quite compact lately, probably due to long hours. But he said he has not yet gained anything from assumed tail-wind. Fingers crossed!” Location: Jan 8, 2017,8:14:00 PM Elevation: 2,127.73 m Lat: -87.126153 Lon: -82.188441.

Hercules Inlet 80ºS return Journey, Johanna Davidson (SE) had a “bumpy ride” kite-skiing across the sastrugi fields in 87. Her sled went up and down and once flew through the air and landed upside down. She had a fuel leak in the process and lost half a liter. It was something she expected with the bumpy ride, said Johanna. Her food was not contaminated and she still has a lot left, “so no big drama.” She kited a whole degree, covering 119 km. She first had to sit out the wind that was blowing from the North. When the wind turned, she had an “amazing” second part of the day. The surface was good with much lower sastrugi and powdery snow. The wind was perfect, said Johanna. She could just keep the kite in one position and lean to one side to get fast speed. She almost did want not stop, but her knees were complaining.

Some kite-wisdom from Johanna, “Sometimes I get comments that I am brave to do this expedition, but I never thought that this trip is about courage. To ski to the South Pole was more about withstanding the cold, hard work and discipline, day after day. And enjoy it. But now that I kite I will have to admit that it may require a little courage. There is a real sastrugi field here and I need to navigate through the large formations, and in addition focus on the kite. While I think it can be scary, I have enormous respect. And I love it here.” Her location: 2017-01-07 Time: 22:45 Latitude: -83.133351, Longitude: -80.239741, Altitude:1170 meter.

Lou Rudd (leader), Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, and James Facer-Childs (ALL UK) traverse to Shackleton Glacier: The Army Reservists have crossed Titan Dome and have started their descent towards the top the Shackleton Glacier. Temperatures are between -30 and -40. Mixed surface, deep snow, sastrugi, some flatter areas. They crave fat and protein. Ollie says they are looking forward to go home.

Hercules Inlet 80ºS unassisted unsupported to the Pole: Sébastien Lapierre (CA) solo: He is in the Last Degree and sent the following message to Explorersweb/Pythom last night: “So far so good, only 63km to go… don’t want to race it, just taking time to enjoy my last few days skiing in Antarctica.” Sebastien is skiing 27-30 km per day. Latest location: Jan 8, 2017,08:25:00 PM Elevation: 9,144.88 ft. Lat: -89.731263 Lon: -78.032048.

Hercules Inlet 80ºS unassisted unsupported to the Pole: Małgorzata Wojtaczka (PL) solo: Is in 87 degrees and experience more sastrugi. She says she sleeps from 24:00 till 06:00 at night. During the day she keeps a straight and steady pace, and tries to gain as much distance as she could in the last two hours of her day. The hardest part for her is to get out of her sleeping bag in the mornings. She reported soft snow, mostly cloudy weather and head winds, while she is still gaining altitude. Malgorzata still seems in good spirits.

Reedy Glacier 85ºS unassisted. Eric Philips (AU) guide, Rob Smith (UK) and Keith Tuffley: Eric’s latest report about their proximity from the Pole: “Necks craning we advanced south with the knowledge that at some point today we’d see evidence of the station. It came, firstly by way of flags marking the ice road from McMurdo to Pole, and later, the station, but not as we expected. Just after lunch, 32km shy of the pole, we saw a rectangular shape that matches what I know to be the main building of the base. But 32km is beyond the Earth’s curvature, even for a five storey building. What we saw on this still and sunny day was a mirage, a temporary refraction of the station on a temperature inversion layer of cold air. Such a phenomenon is seen regularly in cold polar environments in fact South Pole winter personnel have reported seeing the sun a day or two before it actually emerges above the horizon.” Camp 32 Elevation: 2867 m, Latitude: 89° 48’ 28” South Longitude: 131° 37’ 24” West. for Rules of Adventure and Statistics

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Queen Maud Land climbing, Lynx Adventure Antartica: Patrick “Pata” Degerman (Fi, leader), Pekka Ojanpää (FI), Mika Listala (FI), and Jón Ólafur Magnusson (IS) topped out a 2,598 m unclimbed peak in Queen Maud Land, reported Catarina to Exweb/Pythom. They named it Mount Suomi, which means Finland in Finnish. It is located in the Wohlthat Mountain. They also had to wait in their tents for a couple of days for a storm to pass before they had the opportunity to start climbing. The team took about 10 hours to summit and return to base camp, in a mix of ice, packed snow and gravel. Catarina also gives some info about Pata’s expedition plans for next season. “Pata and his Finnish friend Alf Norkko from Tvärminne Zoological Station will be back later this year with a team from New Zealand. They are going to do research on Antarctica. They will film 360° and dive under the ice.”

Dixie Dansercoer sent over the following news: He will be leaving Ushuaia on the sailboat, the ‘Jonathan’ and guiding an expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula for 4 freedivers who also want him to take them kiteboarding, climbing, etc. “Thereafter, I will be guiding trips to Greenland, Switzerland, Spitsbergen, Last Degree to the North Pole and ending in Iceland. I was also happy to learn that the rights to the children’s books I am writing (series of 6 in total) with a loud, yet soft, environmental message were bought by Daylight Publishing House in China. More info:”

Follow team blogs in the Dispatch stream on

South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:

Exweb South Pole Interview with Johanna Davidsson: kite return attempt

Interview with Pata Degerman: Longest Snowmobile attempt on Antarctica

[UPDATE 2] Risto Hallikainen, solo South Pole return ski attempt (Interview)

1989: Arved Fuchs traversed Antarctica, with Messner (Interview)

Ryan Waters to guide Fuchs-Messner route (Antarctica 2016-17 interview)

Canadian Sébastien Lapierre to attempt solo ski to South Pole (Interview)

Cycle Antarctica: Hank van Weelden Pole to Coast attempt (Interview)

Emma Kelty: speed ski and return attempt (Exweb South Pole interview)

Eric Philips, South Pole 2016-17 New Start Point attempt (Interview)

Previous/Related on Explorersweb/Pythom:

Mike Horn saved his traverse – Ryan Waters team at the Pole

Exweb/Pythom Best of 2016: Girard’s Flight of the Century… and more

Johanna Davidsson set New Solo Female Speed Record

Editorial: Might is The Answer to Why (Updated)

Antarctica Current: Polar How-To-Guide Heads-Up

HumanEdgeTech Expedition Technology (e.g.CONTACT software) for Polar Statistics and Rules. Note that a solo claim has to be unassisted,

therefore no supplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything (food, fuel, etc) received from any person along the way. A solo person may be wind supported (kites/sails). Claiming to have ‘skied to the Pole’, a full route (from a coastal start point) has to be completed, without flying part of the route.

1 nautical mile = 1,852 km

Hercules Inlet is located at 80°S near Union Glacier, 1130 km from the Geographic South Pole.

The Fuchs-Messner start is 890 km in a straight line from the Pole.

Novo to GSP is 2,140 km in a straight line

Novolazarevskaya to South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI) is 1610 km in a straight line.

South Pole of Inaccessibility (POI):

2011-12 position: S82°06.696, E055°01.951 (Copeland/McNair-Landry)

On Dec. 14, 2014 Frédéric Dion reported the position the POI (at Lenin’s bust) as S82º 06.702′ E55º 2.087′ at an elevation of 3741 m.

Geographic South Pole (GSP): 90 degrees South

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 base camp, Union Glacier

79° 45’S, 083° 14’W elev 708m

Lat: -79.760591 Lon: -82.856698


ALE Union Glacier weather cam 79º 46’S, 83º 16”W

South Pole webcam 90ºS

The Coldest Place on Earth

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