Sit-skier aborted expedition; Mike Horn started kite-ski traverse

Aaron Anderson waits for vehicle pick-up. Mike Horn arrived at Antarctica’s coast on his boat and started his 3-month expedition. Solo Johanna Davidsson skis 37 km per day.

December 14, 1911, yesterday 105 years ago, Roald Amundsen and his Norwegian team, Olav Bjaaland, Oscar Wisting, Helmer Hanssen and Sverre Hassel, discovered the Geographic South Pole. Five years ago the Centenary was celebrated at the Pole with the unveiling of an ice bust of Amundsen. Throwback Thursday: The story of the bust, as well as a video of the Centenary Ceremony.

Back to the current skiers on the ice, adaptive skier Aron Anderson suffered from stomach and eating problem and reported, “pushing on for 20 days and jeopardize my health does not feel particularly wise.” He decided to give up on the 550 km expedition and will possibly try to do the last 110 km, health depending.

Johanna has covered an excellent 37 km yesterday. The British team covered a personal best of 33 km. Both reported high sastrugi as they entered the notorious sastrugi fields at 87 degrees. All the teams reported storm winds two/three days ago, and very cold temperatures.

Interactive Map: Antarctica Skiing Routes

2016-17 Antarctica Ski Expedition List – updated

Rerun – AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

Hercules Inlet 80ºS start point unassisted to the Pole

Risto Hallikainen Four degrees to go before he turns around. Position Dec 15, 2016, 12:19:00 PM, Elevation: 1,596.44 m, Lat: -85.955615, Lon: -81.265396.

Sébastien Lapierre: “Mother nature seems upset today,”the solo skier reported on December 12 and stayed in his tent the next day. The storm arrived on the horizon like a sandstorm, he said. Back on his skis, Sebastian covered 27,21 km. Position Dec. 15, 2016, 1:47:00 AM Elevation: 3,921.26 ft. Lat: -83.398740 Lon: -080.616130

Johanna Davidson is reporting about the extreme silence when the wind is not blowing. It made her feel totally alone on the continent, but then she heard 4 cars passing about 10 km away (December 10). [The cars could possibly be vehicles that Rob Smith reported about. They plan to drive from Union Glacier to the Pole, then continue via the Leverett Glacier to McMurdo (the SPoT route) and return to Union Glacier, a distance of 6000 km reportedly.] Johanna celebrated her birthday with a clean shirt, braided her “super greasy” hair and used perfume. She also saw Ryan’s team in a distance and passed them. The wind came back in full force and made for a tough day. She reported sastrugi up to 2 meters high early in 87 degrees. Position 2016-12-14, 22:17Z Latitude: -87.147545 Longitude: -081.778171, Altitude: 2220 meter.

Małgorzata Wojtaczka, four degrees behind Johanna, reported higher sastrugi than she expected. Her sled turned over on the sastrugi. Fresh snow was deep and slow. Headwinds up to 40 km/h. Position 15/Dec/2016, 12:00:00 UTC, 083° 19.880S, 080° 40.711W at 1204m above sea level.

Lou Rudd (leader), Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Alun George and James Facer-Childs: The Army Reservists reported on December 14, “we’ve probably had one of the toughest days – or the toughest day – that we’ve had so far with Antarctica giving us a real taste of what it has to throw at us. We set off this morning into 40 mile an hour winds, with a -45 degrees chill factor as well. […] we just kept slogging through the day, taking a hammering from the weather. Keeping pressed up against it. And that’s all we did. So we hit 12 miles and put the tents up.” The Brits also saw Ryan’s team in a distance, although they didn’t know who they were. And they also saw the 4 vehicles driving to the Pole on December 10.

Fuchs-Messner 82ºS start point unassisted to the Pole

Ryan Waters (US) guiding for Mountain Professionals: Katrina Follows (England, lives in Chamonix), Paul Adams (USA) and Scott Kress (CA): The team took a half day rest day. Scott reported that they get up at 6 in the morning and were on their skis before 8. He reported a day with uphill, drifting snow and sastrugi to content with, plus anti-glide snow.

Novolazarevskaya unassisted kite-support

Mike Horn (ZA/CH): His boat has reached the continent, and on December 12, Mike’s team reported from lat -70.0028, lon 009.7760 (near Novolazarevskaya side) that he has left the boat. On Tuesday, December 13, 2016, 10:15am at lat -70.1015, lon 009.8249 Mike reported “I’m starting my trip across Antartica.” He has supplies for three months with him for his kite-ski traverse to meet his boat again, at the Ross Sea. Position Dec. 15 2016, 10:12am -70.2688, lon 010.1517.

Leverett Glacier 85ºS start point unassisted

Guide Doug Stoup (US) and Swedish adaptive skier Aron Anderson. The guys took a rest day to see if Aron would feel better. His stomach gave him trouble for many days and he has a hard time keeping his food down. Most of the days he reported tough days. On December 13, Aron reported that he is no longer continuing. They plan to get a lift with passing “Arctic Trucks vehicles” and then get dropped at the last degrees of latitude, is he feels well enough. Aron says it seems to be possible. In 13 days he had skied 104 hours.

Reedy Glacier 85ºS unassisted

Eric Philips (AU) guide, Rob Smith and Keith Tuffley:

Eric and his team crossed the grounding zone from the Ross Ice Shelf on December 8 and headed towards the foot of the Reedy, some 40km distant. There they headed S-SE and looked for a safe route through the crevasse fields of which there are many marked on their maps and aerial photos. The 90 kg sleds glided well over the ice. Relatively light katabatic winds became an “all-day bitter blast” on Dec. 11, so much so that Keith first pushed his fatbike and then hauled it on his sled. The men reached their first nunataks and cramponed across their first field of blue ice, hauling their sleds slowly past “magnificent” peaks and glaciers. Yesterday they had a rest day and camped on the blue ice with visible cracks in it. They used ice screws to secure the tent on the blue-ice. No snow were available to build a protective wall against the wind. A couple of lone sastrugi provided water supply. The men covered 20 km per day until the day before the rest day when they could manage only 14 km due to Rob’s injured heel and ankle. This already gave him trouble at Union Glacier and now he has trouble walking. After the rest day, Rob strapped up his foot, took anti-inflammatories, and they continued on the glacier. December 15, 08:29 Elevation: 1065 m, Latitude: 85° 45’ 46” South, Longitude: 133° 17’ 58” West

Hercules Inlet to South Pole – emergency assisted

Emma Kelty (UK) arrived at the half way point, 85ºS to the Pole on December 11. She says she needs to be at the South Pole by December 31 to have a chance to make the return journey.

Fuchs-Messner route, 82S, to South Pole – three resupplies

Carl Alvey (UK) guiding for ALE, Bob Maxwell (NZ): ALE reported on December 8, the men are over halfway and skied over 247 nm in 21 days.

Cycling South Pole to Hercules Inlet assisted

Hank van Weelden is still at Union Glacier where he made a training ride in strong winds and had to push the bike. He said he might alter his route and instead of going to Hercules Inlet, turn away at the Heritage range and take the glacier directly back to Union Glacier. [Ed note: This route is about 1200 km and is used by the cars traveling from Union Glacier to the Pole. As reported above, there have been cars on this route already this season, which could be a compacted road for Hank to follow.]

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

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

[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)

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:

The late Henry Worsley’s family on Antarctica

Front skiers in 85ºS; SPoT vehicles at the Pole – 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.

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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