2014-15 Expedition Update

It’s January and the 2014 Antarctic Ski South Pole expeditions are closing in on their goal. Here’s a re-cap of who is on the trail and how they’re doing…

Antarctique Solo – Solo Kite Skiing Traverse

Route: Novolazarevskaya – Pole of Inaccessibility – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skier: Frédéric Dion (Canada), Solo

Frederic Dion_222Frédéric has completed his epic, solo Antarctic crossing. He arrived at Hercules Inlet on January 3, having first reached the Pole of Inaccessability (Dec 15) and the South Pole (Dec 24). Frédéric spent Christmas day resting and socializing at ALE’s South Pole Camp, then started north toward Hercules Inlet. Good winds helped him cover 200 km on his first day, but wind speed and resulting distances were inconsistent in the days that followed. In fact, Frédéric even took to napping in his sled, so that he didn’t miss any wind! Finally the winds picked up and Frédéric was ready. On his final day he logged an< incredible 627 km of kiting in just over 24 hours. Dion was picked up by ALE ski aircraft and flown to Union Glacier, where he was greeted with champagne and enjoyed a shower.

Follow Frédéric’s Journey:
 | www.facebook.com/dionfred

Runners to the Pole

Route: Messner Start – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skiers: Stéphanie & Jérémie Gicquel (France) & Are Johansen (Norway)

image1-117Stéphanie, Jérémie and Are arrived at the South Pole on December 22, after 40 days of skiing. The team enjoyed two days at ALE’s South Pole Camp, before continuing their trek to Hercules Inlet on Christmas day. As they left the pole, they passed several Ski Last Degree groups heading the opposite direction and even stopped in for coffee with one team. They reported that it felt a little odd to be heading north and that they are looking forward to heading downhill! All of the team members are feeling good and – despite tough snow conditions – are in good spirits. They expect to arrive at Hercules Inlet sometime during the last week of January.

Follow their progress at:

20130408_154715-e1419453106938Expédition Transantarctic 2014

Route: Novolazarevskaya – South Pole
Skier:Faysal Hanneche (France), Solo

Kite-skier Faysal has been challenged by poor winds and now tough sastrugi as he makes his way from Novolazarevskaya to the Geographic South Pole. January 1 was a good day, covering 100km with better winds and a mix of sastrugi and flat terrain. He hopes to continue at this pace and be at the South Pole early January.

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South Pole All the Way Expedition

20141224_172412Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Guide Company: Adventure Consultants
Guide: Einar Finnsson (Iceland)
Skiers: Hugh Dougall (Canada), Tim Garrett (Australia), & William Morrison (UK)

The Adventure Consultants team got a great Christmas present – they arrived at their second cache and halfway point to the South Pole on Christmas eve. They celebrated Christmas with a second day of rest and good food, Bill’s famous English Christmas pudding,  After Eight mints,  blue cheese and more. They set off refreshed and full of vigor and have been keeping a good pace, averaging 13 nm per day. On January 1 Einar reported, ‘We have now done 755 km total which is over two thirds of the way to the Pole and we have now less than 400 km to go’.

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ALE Ski South Pole Expedition

ANI Messner startRoute: Messner Start – South Pole
Guide Company: Adventure Network International
Guide: Rob Smith (UK)
Skiers: Julian Thomas (UK), Paula Reid (UK), Arabella Slinger (UK), Vincent Piguet (Switzerland)

The last week of 2014 brought highs and lows for the ALE team. Some were literal – as they ploughed through big sastrugi between 87 and 88S. Some were figurative – as they celebrated Julian’s birthday on December 30 and said goodbye to team member Vincent Piguet, who was picked up by ALE ski aircraft. January 1 saw them past 88S and the worst of the sastrugi and skiing under blue skies. The team is trekking steadily south, maintaining a daily distance of 12.6 nm and expecting to arrive at the South Pole around January 10.

Follow the ALE team:

South Pole Solo 2014

Route: Messner Start – South Pole
Skier: Newall Hunter (UK), Solo

newell hunter 222For Scottish born Newall Hunter, this was the ‘First New Year in a long time I haven’t had the Kilt on’. Newall offered an eloquent summary of how it feels to be, high up on the polar plateau, ‘It’s definitely much colder now than it was at the start. Just stopping for my break to eat and drink is a major operation…It’s an amazing place though. A white desert. The only colours I see are the white snow and blue sky. The sky is light blue at the horizon and very dark blue directly up. The only sound is the wind when it blows. When it isn’t blowing it’s hard to comprehend the absolute total silence.’ Newall arrived at the South Pole in good health and spirits on January 4, about 3.30 am (Union Glacier local time). He appreciated having a chair to sit on and a hot stove to sit in front of at the ALE South Pole Camp and reported that ‘a can of coke and some cookies never tasted so good!’ after 40 days in the field. Newall will return to Union Glacier, then rest up for a few days before climbing Mount Vinson.

This expedition is also a test-run for the 2015 Shackleton Trans-Antarctic Centenary Expedition, a team attempt to complete Sir Ernest Shackleton’s planned 1915 crossing of Antarctica and we look forward to his return to the continent in October 2015 as part of that team. www.shackleton2015.com

Follow Newall’s Journey:

2014 Full South Pole Ski Expedition

Route: Messner Start – South Pole
Guide Company: Polar Explorers
Guide: Keith Heger (USA)
Skiers: Ian Evans (Canada), Andy Styles (UK), & Bradley Cross (UK)

Polar Explorers SP Team

The Polar Explorers team have been upbeat throughout their expedition. They had a great Christmas, reporting, ‘Wonderful day, enjoyed rest, had big meal with lots of desserts. Opened a few small presents, made phone calls home.’ They were a little sad to be away from family, but glad to be out there in Antarctica. As they approached the pole, all thoughts were on ‘Finishing!’ They arrived at the South Pole on January 6, after 44 days en route.

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