Update November 18, 2016
Małgorzata Wojtaczka wants to become the first Polish Lady to ski to the South Pole. She will do the 1130 Hercules Inlet route solo, unassisted unsupported.
Finland’s Risto Hallikainen attempts a solo, unassisted unsupported return journey from Hercules Inlet, to the Pole and back. He will try not to leave depots for himself but to carry everything he needs all the time.
Canadian Hank van Weelden plans to cycle from the Geographic South Pole to Hercules Inlet. He will receive 3 resupplies.
Update October 21, 2016: Michele Pontrandolfo to attempt a solo kite-ski traverse. Read more here. See classification below.
Update October 14, 2016, to reflect another solo skier:
Sébastien Lapierre plans to become the first Canadian to ski solo, unassisted and unsupported to the Geographic South Pole. His start point is Hercules Inlet, 1130 km to the Pole. (Thank you to fellow Canadian and Antarctic traverse kiter, Frédéric Dion, reminding Exweb about Sébastien’s expedition.] In 2013 Sébastien travelled part of the Northwest Passage by kayak, from Tuktoyaktuk to Gjoa Haven, a distance of approximately 1800 miles. Previous: Explorersweb interview with Lapierre about NWP kayaking.
Previous October 10, 2016:
South Pole skiers are busy with their last preparations for the new season that is about to start in November.
Johanna Davidsson will attempt solo, unassisted expeditions on the classic Hercules Inlet route (1130 km, 10 degrees of latitude) to the Geographic South Pole, 90ºS. Johanna plans a return with kites and sails on the way back. She estimates skiing to the Pole in 50 days and kiting back in 20 days.
No Norwegians are skiing to the South Pole this season (only Norwegian guide Inge Meløy will be leading a part of the route, 2 degrees of latitude, 220km. Christian Stywe will guide a last degree).
As for other Scandinavian countries, two Swedish will attempt full routes, Johanna mentioned above, and sit-skier, Aron Andersson. He is a quadriplegic and will be guided by veteran Polar guide, Doug Stoup. Doug told Exweb they will be starting at the bottom of the Leverett Glacier, 85.45S 150.01E. This route is part of the ice road used by vehicles from McMurdo to the Pole. Scheduled departure is November 30th and will take probably 30 days, said Doug. Aron told Explorersweb they won’t have cars driving with and won’t receive any resupplies. The route is 510 km in a straight line.
Eric Philips is planning a route from a new start point, the Reedy Glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf, about 600 km from the South Pole.
High altitude mountain guide, Ryan Waters, is back on the ice. He will be guiding a group on the Fuchs-Messner route, from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf, 890km in a straight line. In 2009-10, Ryan and team mate Cecilie Skog became the first, and to-date only, people who have done a traverse unassisted unsupported (without resupplies and without kites.)
Here goes a preliminary list. Classification is done according to The Polar Rules of Adventure as on AdventureStats. Note that a solo claim has to be unassisted, and 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.
Unassisted Unsupported to the Geographic South Pole
(No resupplies, no kites/vehicles)
Małgorzata Wojtaczka (PL) Start Hercules Inlet (solo)
Risto Hallikainen (FI) Start Hercules Inlet (and return) solo
Sébastien Lapierre (CA) starting at Hercules Inlet (solo).
Johanna Davidsson (SE) starting at Hercules Inlet (solo), 1130 km
Lou Rudd and UK team, Hercules Inlet 1130 km (see below for traverse).
Ryan Waters (US) guiding Katrina Follows (England, lives in Chamonix), Paul Adams (USA) and Scott Kress (CA), booked on November 15th flight from Punta Arenas and estimate 45 days skiing, 890 km.
Eric Philips (AUS) will be guiding Rob Smith (UK) and Keith Tuffley (UK), starting at the bottom of the Reedy Glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf, 600 km.
Assisted Unsupported to the Geographic South Pole
(Resupply, no kites/vehicles)
Unassisted Unsupported Return Journey
(No resupplies, no kites/vehicles)
Risto Hallikainen (FI) Start Hercules Inlet and return (solo) 2260 km
Unassisted Supported to the Geographic South Pole
(No resupplies, no kites/vehicles but follow car road)
Return Journey Assisted Unsupported
(Assisted with resupply at Pole [and emergency supply, reported on Day 5], no kites/sails)
Return Journey Assisted Supported
(Resupply at Pole, using kites/sails on return)
Johanna Davidsson (SE) — Hercules Inlet return, 2260 km
Traverse Unassisted Supported
(No resupplies, Kite support)
Mike Horn (ZA/CH) plans to sail with his yacht to Antarctica. Not sure where he will get on the ice. He has left Monaco on May 8th, 2016 on this way South. This is part of his Pole2Pole journey. In December 2008 he attempted the same strategy but aborted the attempted on day one due to a support team member falling into a crevasse and got injured.
Michele Pontrandolfo starting from Novo, end point Hercules Inlet.
Traverse Assisted, unsupported
(Resupply, no kites)
Brit Lou Rudd will be leading a traverse, starting at Hercules Inlet, finishing on the Ross Ice Shelf at the base of Shackleton Glacier, 1,100 miles (according to them). Team mates are fellow Brits, Oliver Stoten, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Alun George and James Facer-Childs. They will have one resupply at the South Pole.
South Pole to Hercules Inlet (resupplied)
This is a preliminary list, we are waiting for more expeditions to confirm their plans. For additions, please contact Explorersweb/Pythom.
Blog posts with RSS feeds will be streaming in Expedition Dispatches on pythom.com.
Check in again for interviews with several skiers.
South Pole 2016-17 Interviews on Explorersweb/Pythom:
Several people told Exweb that they have postponed their expeditions.
Geoff Wilson (AU), who wants to do the longest route ever on Antarctica, has postponed his expedition due to logistical reasons. He plans to start his traverse at Novolazarevskaya and head to the Pole of Inaccessibility, then to the Geographic South Pole, onward to Russia’s Vostok Station, and end at Casey Station (as per his website).
Last year Charles Werb designed a Snowsailer that he took to Antarctica. His plan to sail to the South Pole didn’t work out but he sailed around Novolazarevskaya. Charles told Exweb his Snowsailer is still at Novo but he plans a new expedition from the Pole to Novo, with a new version Snowsailer. Check here for more info.
Hvitserk is planning on a 2017 expedition to the South Pole, but this is depending on the number of clients interested. They added, they have three Greenland expeditions crossing from West to East in April 2017, and a Spitsbergen North-South expedition April 2017.
Newland has several people who have deferred a year on full distance trips, due to recent injuries. Helen told us they seem to be getting increasingly involved in Svalbard, last degree North Pole, Greenland and Norway, and their Vatnajokull crossing in Iceland.
PolarExplorers has one last degree expedition and one combo (LD and Vinson).
Ultra runner, Richard Donovan‘s, long-term goal is to run across Antarctica, but not this year, he told Explorersweb. «I ran across Europe this year and North America last year, but Antarctica will have to be another time 🙁 I’ll be organising the Antarctic Ice Marathon in November, the Antarctic 100k in January and the World Marathon Challenge in January, where competitors run 7 marathons on 7 continents in 7 days with the first leg at Union Glacier.»
Astrid Furholt from Norway wants to become the first woman to do Amundsen’s route from the Bay of Whales, next year. She teams up with veteran Norwegian guide, Bengt Rotmo. Fellow countryman, Lars Ebbesen told us Astrid’s story:
«It’s a real beauty of a story as she is a cancer nurse and her drive stems from her dying patients telling her they should have followed more dreams and that she must promise them to live while she can. She stumbled into expeditions via a Greenland crossing — came out of it in a shock / hate coma before digesting it all and discovering it was actually her new love… Since then she has been dogsledding on Greenland, done the Northern Patagonian Glacier with Bengt and crossed Spitzbergen with Børge and pulled tires day and night. She has started this thing of urging people for following a dream that can change their life. They can sign up and for a fee, they will get their portrait on her sledge as a sign of them and her pulling together towards their goal — cheering each other. Astrid on her way to the South Pole, all the others to their goals. The project is just in the starting phase but is gathering pace — and is called ‘Finn Din Sydpol’ — Find Your Southpole.»
Previous on Explorersweb/Pythom
ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions)
ALCI (Antarctic Logistics Center International)