2015 South Pole Expedition Line Up
“I had a dream when I was 22 that someday I would go to the region of ice and snow and go on and on till I came to one of the poles of the earth”
– Ernest Shackleton
It’s one hundred years since Shackleton aimed to cross the Antarctic continent from coast to coast. He never made it to the South Pole, but his dream lives on in a new generation of explorers. This season, six expeditions will ‘…go to the region of ice and snow…,’ each hoping to reach the South Pole – or perhaps beyond – and challenge themselves along the way.
ALE Ski South Pole Expedition Hercules Inlet
Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skiers: Emma Kelty (UK), Khai Nguyen (Canadian resident in US), Carl Alvey (UK, Guide)
ALE’s Ski South Pole-Hercules team is a diverse and talented bunch. Emma Kelty, 41, has dreamed of skiing to the South Pole since she was ‘knee high to a grasshopper’. She describes herself as ‘an ultra-trotting giggler who likes a challenge’ and we’d have to agree. This past summer she hiked the entire 2600 mile (4180km) Pacific Crest trail, from the United States-Mexico border to Canada; and her recent video called ‘Antarctica Striptease’ certainly made us giggle.
Khai Nguyen, 43, is returning to Antarctica having skied the Last Degree to the South Pole with ALE in 2009. He has also climbed four of the Seven Summits and will go on to climb Vinson after the South Pole if time allows.
They are guided by Carl Alvey who is returning to Antarctica for his seventh summer season and to guide his second Ski South Pole expedition. The team will fly to Antarctica the last week of November to begin their 702 mile (1,130 km) ski from Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole.
ALE Ski South Pole Expedition Messner Start (and Kite Return)
Route: Messner Start – South Pole
Skiers: Shahrom Abdullah (Malaysia), Stewart Edge (UK) & Mostafa Salameh (Jordan), Devon McDiarmid (Canada, Guide)
Our second ALE expedition brings together an international team from across the globe. Shahrom Abdullah is a 36 year old adventure racer and athlete from Kuala Lumpur. He brings experience from Denali and a polar training course.
Mostafa Salameh hopes to be the first Jordanian national and the first Muslim to ski all the way to the South Pole and in so doing, ‘promote a positive global image of the Middle East and inspire the next generation of Arab youth to believe in their impossible dreams.’ He has climbed all Seven Summits including Vinson in 2005.
Stewart Edge, 37, climbed Everest in 2011, and has been preparing for a polar expedition for several years. He plans to ski to the pole, then kite-ski back to the coast. Canadian polar guide Devon McDiarmid will lead the team, guiding his sixth ski expedition to the South Pole. Not many polar professionals can match his experience.
The team of four will set off from the ‘Messner Start’ on the Ronne Ice Shelf and ski 566 miles (911 km) to the South Pole. Shahrom and Mostafa will complete their expedition at the South Pole, while Devon and Stew will kite-ski back to the coast. After a couple of hearty meals at ALE’s South Pole camp, the two will exchange their man-hauling sleds for wider kiting sleds, change to AT ski boots and skis, load up with kites and ski sails and then set off on the 702 mile (1,130 km) northward leg to Hercules Inlet.
Henry Worsley: Shackleton Solo
Route: Berkner Island – South Pole – Shackleton Glacier to Ross Ice Shelf
Skier: Henry Worsley (UK)
Henry Worsley is the only person to have skied both Roald Amundsen’s and Captain Scott’s routes to the South Pole. Now he is back in Antarctica for his third major expedition – a solo Antarctic crossing from the Weddell Sea coast to the Ross Ice Shelf. Shackleton Solo commemorates the Antarctic crossing planned by Sir Ernest Shackleton 100 years ago, as part of his Imperial Transantarctic (Endurance) Expedition. Henry will start from Berkner Island in the Weddell Sea and ski solo without resupply (unsupported) and without using kites or sails (unassisted) across the continent to the Ross Ice Shelf, the first-ever solo Antarctic crossing without resupplies or use of the wind. The Berkner Island-South Pole leg was travelled several times about twenty years ago but only once in recent years and this will be the second expedition ever to descend the Shackleton Glacier to the Ross Ice Shelf. Henry has just left the British Army and is raising funds for Endeavour Fund.
Route: Novolazarevskaya – Pole of Inaccessibility – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skier: Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy)
Michele Pontrandolfo is attempting a 2485 miles (4,000 km) solo unsupported (no resupply) snow kiting and ski sailing Antarctic traverse from Novolazarevskaya in Dronning Maud Land; through the site of the former Soviet Pole of Inaccessibility Station Polyus Nedostupnosti; to the South Pole; and then on to Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf. Michele has many years of Arctic expedition experience and has been planning his traverse for several years. Only two parties have completed this extraordinarily long Trans-Antarctic route. It was pioneered by Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland in 2011 and soloed by Canadian Frédéric Dion in 2014. Frédéric’s sled broke, necessitating a resupply, so if Michele’s expedition goes as planned, he will be the first person to complete the route solo, without re-supplies.
Luke Robertson solo
Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skier: Luke Robertson (Scotland, UK)
Luke Robertson is no stranger to adversity. At age 23 he was fitted with a pacemaker and in 2014 he underwent urgent surgery for a suspected brain tumor. The operation went well and the suspected tumor turned out to be a rare type of cyst, but the experience was life-changing. Luke believes in the strength of human character to overcome hardship, which is why he has taken on a series of physical challenges and trained hard for his toughest challenge yet – a solo ski expedition to the South Pole from Hercules Inlet. Luke hopes that his expedition will inspire others and ‘demonstrate the possibility of overcoming physical or emotional issues, to reach goals and to conquer even greater challenges.’ His expedition is also raising money for Marie Curie Cancer Care. Luke is aiming for an unsupported (no resupply) solo ski expedition which he thinks will take about 35 to 40 days. If successful, he will be the first person to ski to the South Pole with a cardiac pacemaker.
Douglas Tumminello solo
Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skier: Douglas Tumminello (USA)
Doug Tumminello is a graduate of West Point and former US Army infantry officer who has successfully combined a professional career as a lawyer with a life of adventure. He has climbed the highest mountains in North and South America, climbed Everest in 2006 (along with Will Cross who was the first person with type 1 diabetes to ski to the South Pole), and in 2009 rowed across the Indian Ocean. Now he will ski solo to the South Pole.
In his own words, Doug ‘has been preparing for this expedition for most of his life’, having been captivated by Shackleton’s Antarctic adventures when he was in 4th grade. Doug’s expedition team includes his wife Lisa (personal trainer), Hannah McKeand (consultant and coach) and – we might add – Sir Ernest Shackleton (inspiration).