South Pole ski update: Kiters complete crossing

Devon McDiarmid and Stew Edge arrived at Hercules Inlet

(Correne Coetzer) Devon McDiarmid and Stew Edge completed their traverse from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf to Hercules Inlet via the Geographic South Pole, reported Stew on January 26; kiting across 10 meter wide crevasses, which luckily had snow bridges.

The ladies are still going strong on the Polar Plateau.

DEVON MCDIARMID (CA, ANI guide), STEW EDGE (UK) Assisted, Kite-Supported Traverse, Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner) – Geographic South Pole – Hercules Inlet 2020km, Start December 9, 2015. South Pole January 13, 2016. End Hercules Inlet January 26, 2015.

Day 48, Stew reported, they woke at 5am knowing that with good winds they could cover the last 109nm in one shot. “The day started well with 12knots winds and soft snow. The wind steadily increased and the ground became sastrugi again, but we were knocking off the miles.” The mountains came in sight “and was amazing scenery and great to see them getting bigger, but this meant for more disturbed ice.”

“We had a “safe corridor” in which to kite but we did end up coming over one hill and kiting across some massive crevasses which luckily had snow bridges! They were over 10m wide, about 500m long and probably as deep and the first we knew of then we had already crossed! Being on kites meant we probably didn’t put much weight on them and travelled across quickly. After that, we kept a better lookout.”

They had quite a lot of descent as they dropped down to Hercules Inlet but this meant for really variable winds, wrote Stew. “We had to change down to the ski-sail as winds got up to 30knots, but then an hour later had dropped enough for the 11m. We were tired but confident of reaching our goal and at 20h40 made our scheduled call [to Union Glacier] to say we were 14nm and only 2 hours away.”

“The last part is one big hill and goes between some nunataks. The wind was so up and down and with only 5 miles to go it disappeared! It was actually bouncing over us creating a 1-mile hole which we were in. After another kite change, back to the 14m and painfully working the kites for 2hours we made it through.”

“By now it was passed midnight and we realised the plane would now not come get us until morning. We still had the final steep descent to the inlet, which we did on tired legs and weary minds. At the bottom we were on the best snow yet and had a great kite along the Inlet to where our pickup point would be. As we got closer there was something shining and I realised it was a plane! Possibly the greater sight ever!”

“We kited right up to it, pulling our safety’s and dropping our kites for the last time. We had been kiting for 18 hours but had made it! South Pole to Hercules inlet, 600nm in 9 days and 9 hours!”

Devon, Stew, Mostafa and Shahrom at the South Pole

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

They are probably near the last degree, 89S. Emma wrote short updates:

January 25: 12.5nm. Flat, few bumps. 1.5 hour pulls. 9 hours. 7 more days to go. At least the sun is out.

January 26: 12.5nm 6 more days. I am missing the environment already….


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South Pole skier, Henry Worsley, passed away

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A Short Note On The Death Of Henry Worsley

Note: Definitions above according to

assisted = resupplies

supported = kite/car/skidoo support


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.

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