2016 South Pole Expeditions

The Antarctic summer draws a host of unique expeditioners to the white continent every year, each with their own objective and particular method of travel. 2016 is no exception and ALE is proud be the logistics provider for a diverse group of individuals and teams, most of whom aim to reach the Southernmost Point on Earth, and some of whom will go beyond the South Pole, completing extraordinary traverses or return journeys. We wish them all clear skies and small sastrugi!


spear17_team_photo2Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole – Ross Ice Shelf
Skiers: Alex Brazier (UK), Chris Brooke (UK), James Facer-Childs (UK), Alun George (UK), Ollie Stoten (UK), Lou Rudd (UK, Expedition Leader)

The South Pole Expedition Army Reserves 2017 (SPEAR17), made up of 5 British army reservists and Expedition Leader Lou Rudd, is tackling one of the most challenging routes this season, covering over 1,100 miles.

They started from Hercules Inlet and are skiing unsupported* to the South Pole. At the South Pole they’ll receive a re-supply and then take on the final leg of their journey which pays tribute to Henry Worsley’s Shackleton Solo Expedition. The team will ski from the South Pole, over the Titan Dome, down the Shackleton Glacier and finish at the edge of Ross Ice Shelf.

The reservists are raising funds for ABF The Soldiers’ Charity which supports soldiers and their families in times of need, even after they have left the army.

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johanna-davidsson1-foto-anna-lovehed-1JOHANNA DAVIDSSON: SOLO SISTER TO THE SOUTH POLE

Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skier: Johanna Davidsson (Sweden)

Johanna is taking on a solo unsupported and unassisted** expedition from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. At the South Pole she will receive a resupply, change her skis and boots, and set off on a return journey to Hercules Inlet by kite and ski-sail. She is one of two women taking on solo return journeys this season.

If successful, Johanna will be the first Swedish woman to complete a solo expedition to the South Pole and the first Swede to complete a return journey to the Pole and back. Her expedition name is inspired by a prior Greenland crossing with her sister and her profession as a nurse where she is also a ‘sister’ at work.

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emma_tam_kelty_at_south_pole_jan_2016-websiteEMMA TAMSIN KELTY: TO THE POLE AND BACK

Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skier: Emma ‘Tam’ Kelty (UK)

Emma is back for her second Antarctic ski expedition. In 2015 she skied as part of an ALE guided team, led by Carl Alvey, from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. This season, she ups the challenge as a solo expeditioner. Emma plans to ski from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole, receive a resupply at Pole, and then complete a return journey back to Hercules Inlet, all without assistance from kites or sails. If successful, she will be the first female to complete a solo unassisted return journey in Antarctica.

Throughout her expedition, Emma is raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis and Teach Africa.

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risto_hallikainen_exped-websiteRISTO HALLIKAINEN: THE TRUTH IS SOUTH THERE

Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skier: Risto Hallikainen (Finland)

Risto is taking on a solo, unsupported, unassisted, return journey from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole and back. He set off with all of his supplies and will lay a number of depots on his way south which he will then pick up on his ski back north to Hercules Inlet.

Risto first learned to pull a sled in the Finnish Parachute Regiment and has since completed several ski trips in northern Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

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Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skier: Malgorzata Wojtaczka (Poland)

Malgorzata is skiing solo, unsupported, and unassisted from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. She aims to be the first Polish woman to complete the journey.

Malgorzata is an active expeditioner on both land and water. She is a member of Selma Expeditions, a yacht company which takes on challenging sailing expeditions in polar waters near Spitsbergen, Cape Horn, and Antarctica. She is also passionate about caving, skiing, canyoneering, and trekking in remote areas.

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carl_alvey_bob_maxwell_sksp_hi_team_2016_by_adam_ungarALE SKI SOUTH POLE EXPEDITION

Route: Messner Start – South Pole
Skiers: Bob Maxwell (New Zealand), Carl Alvey (UK, Guide)

ALE’s Ski South Pole-Messner team is a small but sturdy crew this season with just one guest skiing alongside ALE Guide Carl Alvey. The two men will receive two resupplies along the route and anticipate reaching the South Pole before the New Year. Bob will stay on after the expedition and aims to climb Mount Vinson, Antarctica’s tallest peak.

Carl is returning to Antarctica for his eighth summer season and this will be his third Ski South Pole expedition. The team will travel 566 miles (911 km) from the Messner Start on the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole.

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Route: Messner Start – South Pole
Skiers: Katrina Follows (UK), Scott Kress (Canada), Paul Adams (USA), Ryan Waters (USA, Guide)

Ryan Waters returns to Antarctica to guide an international team of skiers on the Messner route to the South Pole. The Mountain Professionals team is skiing unsupported and unassisted on their journey from the Ronne Ice Shelf to the Geographic South Pole.

Ryan led a successful Mount Vinson expedition with over 30 climbers from the True Patriot Love organization in January 2015. In 2009, he and Cecilie Skog completed an epic, 2-person, unsupported, unassisted, Antarctic traverse from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf via the South Pole. This was the first, and to date the only ski expedition to travel more than 1,000 miles across Antarctica without resupply or use of kites.

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doug-aron-1POLE OF HOPE

Route: Leverett Glacier – South Pole
Skiers: Aron Anderson (Sweden), Doug Stoup (USA, Guide)

Aron Anderson is taking on a challenging sit ski expedition from the bottom of the Leverett Glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf to the Geographic South Pole. He is accompanied by Guide Doug Stoup of Ice Axe Expeditions for the more than 358 mile (576 km) journey.

Aron was diagnosed with cancer as a child and has been using a wheelchair since he was 9 years old. While confined to his bed, he read about Ola Skinnarmo’s 1998 expedition to Antarctica and was inspired to one day plan his own expedition and prove the wheelchair would not limit his dreams.

Aron’s Pole of Hope expedition is raising funds for Swedish Childhood Cancer Foundation.

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Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skier: Sebastien Lapierre (Canada)

Sebastien is skiing solo, unsupported, and unassisted from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. If successful, he will be the first Canadian to complete this journey solo and unassisted (without kites or sails).

Sebastien is no stranger to cold climates, having completed prior expeditions in Greenland and Iceland and having traversed the Northwest Passage by sea kayak and dog sled. When not on expedition, he is a firefighter and first responder.

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Route: Reedy Glacier – South Polereedy-glacier-crop
Skiers: Keith Tuffley (Australia), Robert Smith (UK), Eric Philips (Australia, Guide)

Ice Trek has put together a 3 man team that will attempt a new route from the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole via the Reedy Glacier without resupplies.

Keith is an endurance cyclist and a sailor and Rob is former military. Earlier this year, they both completed a 93 mile (150 km) ski to the North Pole. They will be joined by Guide Eric Philips of Ice Trek.

Eric is an experienced polar expedition leader and guide, who has worked in the Arctic and Antarctic for more than 20 years. He has led expeditions on the Arctic Ocean, Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, Svalbard, and the South Patagonia Icecap just to name a few.

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hank-cropRoute: South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Cyclist: Hank Van Weelden (Canada)

Hank’s solo bike expedition has an unusual start point, the South Pole! For most expeditioners, the South Pole is their final destination or midway point, but Hank will be dropped off at the Pole in December and begin his journey north to Hercules Inlet. He will receive 3 resupplies en route.

Hank has been a life long cyclist, riding thru Pakistan, Tibet, Thailand, and the choices routes of Canada and the US. For this expedition, he will be riding a custom built, titanium and carbon bike, equipped with two tires in the front and two tires in the back, giving him 11” inches of combined tire width designed to tackle soft snow and sastrugi. He hopes the extra flotation will enable him to cycle more of the route than the previous cyclists who have attempted to bike towards the South Pole.
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Route: Novolazarevskaya – Pole of Inaccessibility – South Pole – Hercules Inlet
Skier: Michele Pontrandolfo (Italy)

Michele Pontrandolfo is making a second attempt at a 2,485 mile (4,000 km) solo 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 attempted this route last season, making it 250 nautical miles before requesting pick-up just before Christmas.

Only two parties have completed this extraordinarily long Transantarctic route. It was pioneered by Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland in 2011 and soloed by Canadian Frédéric Dion in 2014.

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*ALE defines unsupported expeditions as those that start the expedition with all the equipment and supplies for the whole journey. They have no pre-placed depots, no resupplies, no support vehicles, and receive no outside help.

**ALE defines unassisted expeditions as those that are human powered and do not use external power aids for significant speed and load advantage. Assisted Antarctic expeditions typically use wind power (kites and ski-sails) or engine power (motorized vehicles).

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