Solo skier Luke Robertson arrived at the South Pole

40 days from Hercules Inlet

(Correne Coetzer) The 30-year-old Scott arrived at the Geographic South Pole (90ºS) on January 13. Luke left Hercules Inlet on December 5 and covered 1130 km / 700 miles / 600 nautical miles in 40 days.

Luke became the first Scot and youngest Brit to ski solo, unassisted unsupported, to the South Pole, according to the Rules of Adventure at AdventureStats (that is, no resupplies and no kite or car support.)

Luke had tech problems since early in his expedition. He couldn’t charge his comms tech properly and his tracker also didn’t work, therefore, his home team posted only short messages. No Pole picture available at this stage.

Luke is the second skier reaching the South Pole this season. Fellow Brit, 55-year-old Henry Worsley arrived at the Pole on January 2 after 51 days on the Berkner Island route (see map in the images). He was also unassisted and unsupported and is currently traversing the continent.

In an interview with Pythom/Explorersweb before Luke left for Antarctica, he explained why he wanted to do this expedition.

“I grew up in the countryside in the northeast of Scotland, so was always exploring the outdoors and was a member of various sporting teams and outdoor groups. I was also an avid reader of the books of the explorers of the early 20th Century polar explorers and promised myself that one day I would undertake a trip myself.”

“More recently, I underwent heart surgery and last year, brain surgery, and this altered my outlook on life in that you never know what is around the corner. The humbling experience of being in hospital and the people I met whilst there alongside the experience of losing my uncle to cancer is behind my drive to raise charitable funds for Marie Curie. The expedition is also being undertaken to demonstrate the possibilities of achieving goals after overcoming difficulties in life. Hopefully this trip can inspire others to overcome their own hurdles in life, and become stronger through adversary.”

News from other teams the past two days

On January 12, Henry Worsley reported an elevation of 10,510 ft and repeated wise words, “to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield”, while skiing in absolute silence with no wind and full sunshine. Yesterday he was back in a white-out, on a “miserable and cold plateau.” Good news though, it seems Henry is descending. He completed another degree of latitude and crossed into 87 degrees.

Carl and Emma have four degrees left to complete and covered 13.5 and 16 nautical miles the past two days. “Such a good feel to make more miles even within the restrictive 8 hour slot!” wrote Emma.

Devon, Stew, Mostafa and Shahrom are in the last degree. Stew reported yesterday, “A much better day today. Mostafa has solved his ankle problem and Shahrom is back to his strong self after being affected by the altitude for the last 2 days. We managed 15.82nm!”


This year’s pick-up date is postponed from January 27 to February 3, according to skiers’ reports.

Note: Definitions below according to

assisted = resupplies

supported = kite/car/skidoo support u2028

HENRY WORSLEY (55) UK, solo, Unassisted Unsupported traverse 1100nm / 2037km, Berkner Island – Geographic South Pole – Shackleton Glacier (Ross Ice Shelf), Started November 13, 2015. South Pole January 2, 2016 (Day 51).

LUKE ROBERTSON (30) UK/Scotland, solo, Unassisted Unsupported 1130km, Hercules Inlet to Geographic South Pole, Started December 5, 2015.

CARL ALVEY (UK, ANI guide), EMMA TAMSIN KELTY (UK), Assisted Unsupported 1130km, Hercules Inlet – Geographic South Pole, Started December 5, 2015.

DEVON MCDIARMID (CA, ANI guide), STEW EDGE (UK), MOSTAFA SALAMEH (Jordan), SHAHROM ABDULLAH (Malaysia), Assisted Unsupported 890km, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) – South Pole, Started Dec. 9, 2015.


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 elev 708m

Lat: -79.760591 Lon: -82.856698

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

The Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (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

According to the Rules of Adventure at, to claim a “solo” achievement requires an unassisted status – 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). Note that the Polar Rules were compiled by early Norwegian and British Polar explorers and are maintained today by the current community of veteran polar skiers.

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.


Antarctica: Skier aborted expedition; cold -47ºC; and 10,400ft topped on Titan Dome

#polar #southpole #southpole2014 #southpole2014-15 #antarctica