2019 Expedition Kick Off

The start of the 2019 Antarctic season takes off with a lot of excitement as each traveler begins their long anticipated expedition. Eight solo expeditions start off the Antarctic summer, carrying on the grand tradition of solo exploration. Some are returning from previous seasons, while others will take this journey for the first time. Each an inspiration of endurance and human powered exploration.

The extraordinary accomplishments of polar explorers change from year to year but the depth of their ambition and individual journeys does not. Explorers have been ticking off the mystical South Pole for years, setting records and inspiring those to come. Antarctica is a place of unspoiled beauty and deafening silence across striking landscapes. A place where the great white continent doesn’t distinguish between gender or position but where the playing field is leveled to test strength, endurance, and resolve among travelers. Polar explorers are part of an elite group of adventurers from all corners of the globe, and ALE is a proud logistics provider to those who make their way to the ice. This is not a race to the ends of the Earth, but an exploration in life and a pilgrimage for each one of us.

There are four women all attempting solo ski expeditions to the South Pole: three are British, Jenny Davis, Wendy Searle, and Mollie Hughes and they are all skiing from Hercules Inlet, and one German, Anja Blacha, who has just set off from Berkner Island.  Jenny Davis and Wendy Searle are both aiming to beat the current women’s speed record on the Hercules Inlet route – 39 days set by Johanna Davidsson. Mollie is hoping to become the youngest woman to ski solo to the South Pole. The 4 remaining solo expeditions are men seeking their own polar goals, including Neil Hunter, who is seeking to accomplish the title of first diabetic to ski solo to the South Pole, Jacek Libucha going for his own solo crossing, Xu Wen crossing from Berkner Island to the South Pole and Tanel Tuuleveski who, upon completion will be the first Estonian to reach the South Pole.

The 2019 season’s expeditioners come from all walks of life to fulfill their personal goals and be one of the few to cross the Antarctic landmass, with no shortage of challenges.  See more details below.



Route: Hercules InletSouth Pole 
Skier: Neil Hunter (UK)

Neil is a former Royal Navy Engineer, who when diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, began his journey as an adventurer and advocate for diabetes. He will be undertaking a journey of 700 miles during his solo unsupported, unassisted man haul from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. During this expedition he will be raising funds for Diabetes UK to support their research to find a cure. You can follow his blogs and posts from the ice at the links below and support him online.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition:



Route: Hercules InletSouth Pole
Skier: Jenny Davis (UK)

Jenny Davis is a lawyer turned professional athlete. She spends her time travelling the globe to compete in some of the world’s toughest races, events and expeditions. Davis attempted to reach the South Pole in 2018, and will be tackling her goal again this year beginning at Hercules Inlet. She is sponsored by DHL and Atkins who have helped take her on this journey. Davis’ expedition begins on the geographic coastline, where she will kick off her attempt to ski 700 miles to the South Pole. The attempt will be solo, unsupported – no resupplies and no support vehicle – and unassisted – no use of kites or ski-sails – meaning Jenny will receive no outside assistance. During the attempt she will be hauling a 80kg pulk carrying her tent, food and equipment. She is determined to continue to inspire thousands of individuals across the globe.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition:



Route: Berkner Island – South Pole
Skier: Anja Blacha (Germany)

Anja is taking on her first major polar expedition and has been training thoroughly for her solo expedition. In 2019, she has already climbed K2 and is ready for the next adventure in Antarctica.  She will be covering 870 miles unsupported and unassisted in around 60 days. Starting at the Gould Bay Camp cache she will be farther north than any other Berkner start where she  wants to see the penguins and make it a true challenge. During her preparation, she has been trained and advised by Ousland Expeditions and is now part of the polar community.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition: 


Route: Berkner IslandSouth PoleRoss Ice Shelf
Skiers: Xu Wen (China)

Wen is a 32-year old scientist who has just started his cross continent expedition and plans to ski solo and unsupported from Berkner Island to the South Pole. He will review progress there and has the contingency for a resupply of food, fuel and of kiting and ski-sailing equipment for the second leg of the planned route. From the South Pole, his route will take him over the Titan Dome and down the Axel Heiberg Glacier to a pick-up on the Ross Ice Shelf a total distance of roughly 1242 miles in approximately 80-85 days.







Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skiers: Jacek Libucha  (Poland)

Jacek is a manager with multi-year project experience in the industrial goods and energy sector, who has taken his passion of adventure to the next level with this year’s solo ski expedition from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. He is an avid traveler and athlete who kicks off his polar adventure by pulling a sled with all of his gear 700 miles – unsupported and unaided from coast to Pole. He hopes to arrive in 55 days. This expedition is also a tribute to his father  – Adam Libucha – a sailor, a dreamer and unfulfilled traveler.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition:




Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skier: Mollie Hughes (Scotland)

Mollie’s expedition goal is to become the youngest woman to ski solo and unsupported from the coast of Antarctica to the Geographic South Pole. This is Mollie’s first Antarctic expedition, but she is no stranger to adventure. She has climbed Everest from Nepal in 2012 and from Tibet in 2017, becoming the youngest women to climb Everest from both sides. She is sponsored by the Scottish outdoor equipment retailer Tiso and leads for The Polar Academy.  This immense physical and mental challenge will see Mollie ski 700 miles across Antarctica’s challenging terrain.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition:



Route: Hercules Inlet – South Pole
Skier: Wendy Searle (UK)

Wendy is a polar adventurer from Salisbury who caught the expedition bug and skied across Greenland with Lou Rudd and started providing logistics support to polar expeditions 5 years ago. Now she has launched her own expedition to break the women’s world speed record for skiing solo, unsupported – no resupply – and unassisted – no use of kites or ski-sails –  from the coast to the South Pole. She is a mother of 4 and has trained for this expedition while being a mom and working full time as a civil servant. During this expedition, she will be fundraising for two charities – the ‘ABF The Soldier’s Charity’ and The Youth Adventure Trust.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition:


Route: Messner Start – South Pole
Skiers: Tanel Tuuleveski  (Estonia)

Tanel is seeking to become the first Estonian to ski to the South Pole unassisted. He hopes to cover the approximate 584 miles in 45 days. He is an entrepreneur, seasoned climber, long time athlete and adventurer having climbed Everest in 2011 with Jagged Globe Expedition and Mount Vinson in Antarctica. Another milestone for this expedition is the celebration of the Antarktica 200 bicentenary of the Bellingshausen Antarctic expedition, which was led by both Estonia and Russia. The Bellinghausen expedition made the second ever circumnavigation of Antarctica.

Learn More & Follow the Expedition:




There are other expeditions that have not announced their plans yet and we will respect their confidentiality until their plans are announced or confirmed.

*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).

Sign up for the newsletter

Thanks for Signing Up!