Antarctic/South Pole Nongovernmental Ventures

2005-06 through 2010-11


last photo of the BerserkAborted after three deaths! The Berserk expedition
was Norwegian Jarle Andhøy's tragic venture...he headed south from Norway aboard the 47-foot steel-hulled motor yacht Berserk II in an attempt to reach Pole...they landed at Horseshoe Bay (just north of Cape Royds) on Ross Island, and dropped off the Pole party (Jarle Andhøy and Samuel Massie) on 13 February 2011. The Pole team headed south on 4x4s (quad bikes) for perhaps 125 miles before a storm came up and the Berserk was swept out to sea (or sailed intentionally), and it, and its 3 crew members were lost. After hearing the news, Jarle and Samuel immediately headed north to Scott Base My full coverage, including info about the photo at right...the last view of Berserk and the 3 lost crewmen.

Christian Eide (blog archive in Norwegian and English)
announced late in the planning cycle that he would do a solo ski trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole starting in December...after a Vinson climb and a Last Degree trip as a guide. After doing that preliminary stuff he started out for Pole on 20 December. He arrived on 13 January...the time of 24 days is almost 10 days faster than that of the Canadian team of Richard Weber, Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely who arrived in January 2009. Christian was not very happy with the "official" NSF reception he received...I'm not sure what happened, since general relations with NGO visitors seemed to be better than they were when I was around in the 80s.

The Korean "green expedition" (The Dong-A Ilbo news article)
arrived at Pole on 28 January after a 41-day trip from Hercules Inlet. The group, led by Park Young-seok, used snowmobiles powered by solar panels. The trip was slowed by cloudy weather which slowed down their recharging, they almost had to abort the trip because of the scheduled closure of ALE flight operations--to speed their journey, 2 team members and some of their cargo were evacuated to Union Glacier along the way. Typically it took 3 hours of recharging to provide enough power for one hour of travel. I haven't been able to find out much English language news about this interesting venture...although there was an unconfirmed and presumably false rumor that he might have stolen the South Pole marker. is my coverage of this venture with more photos. This 29 January 2011 Explorersweb article has a few more details as well as a list of the seven expedition members as well as the six-person TV crew(!) Sadly, he perished in an October 2011 Annapura summit attempt per this (28 December 2011 Explorersweb article).

The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition 
the Moon Regan vehicles at the Ceremonial Polewith co-leaders Andrew Regan and Andrew Moon, happened at last, after several years of delays (my coverage with Pole photos). The group flew from PA to the AL&E Union Glacier (UG) camp on 26 November. There the group assembled their Winston Wong Bio-Inspired Ice Vehicle (BIV), and they set out for Pole on the 28th (SP time), arriving on the 3rd. The BIV was a one-person vehicle, its engine was recently switched out to a four-cylinder 115-HP 1.2 liter Rotax 914 aircraft engine, which burns E85. The rest of the 10-man expedition rode in 2 converted Ford Econoline vans, one of which we've seen at Pole before. The team left the BIV parked at Pole and continued on a 7-day drive to...McMurdo on the South Pole Traverse (SPoT) route via the Leverett Glacier. Or they were supposed to, but because of delays they turned around when they hit the Ross Ice Shelf at the base of the Leverett Glacier on 10 December. They then retraced their route, arriving back at Pole on 12 December, and at UG on the 17th. They had fuel depots at Pole and Marble Point...the latter one they felt they couldn't get to before the ice melted...needless to say they never made it even to McMurdo. They did pass the SP Traverse on the SPoT route. Here's an October 2010 news article from The Engineer (UK magazine/blog) with many more technical details. Oh, the BIV was towed back to UG on the return trip. The photo at right shows the 3 expedition vehicles at the Ceremonial Pole, a well as friend Chad Carpenter who shared the photo.

Willem ter Horst (archived site)
from the Netherlands planned a resupplied trip guided by Hannah McKeand, starting from Hercules Inlet. After the usual delays (and discovering they forgot to pack the stove) they started out on 27 November. They reached Pole on 12 January,

the 2010-11 South Pole Race (archived event site) and (my coverage)
was a 2010-11 preliminary event to the big 2011-12 Race to the South Pole sponsored by German and Austrian TV networks ZDF and ORF. 4-man Austrian and German teams traveled 200 miles to Pole, supported by some of those wheeled vehicles that have been seen on the continent in the past few years. The Austrian team featured Hermann Maier and Tom Walek (archived Yahoo news article), accompanied by Sabrina Grillitsch (Austria's only woman member of the mountain infantry), and Husky racer Alexander Serdjukov. The German team was led by celebrity Markus Lanz and triathlete Joey Kelley, along with scientist Claudia Beitsch and Air Force member Dennis Lenhart. Advance teams showed up at Pole around 26 December...the race teams finished a couple of days later, and there was a big New Years Eve party attended by some of the Polies. Who won? Well, I know, but...the TV shows were aired in Europe in April 2011, and you can watch a YouTube summary. Or have a look at Robert Schwarz's documentation and pictures...

An 8-man team from the Indian Army (archived 24 March 2011 article)
led by Anand Swaroop and including Bala Karthik, Showkat Ahmad MirArjun Kumar Thapa, Parsuram Gurung , Ram Singh, Khilap Singh and Tsewang Morup, and guided by ALE/ANI guides Devon McDiarmid and Svante Strand, started from Hercules Inlet on 26 November and reached Pole on 15 January. No good blog site, but here's an archived 8 March 2011 India Education Diary article, and here's a blog site with a few pictures.

Chris Foot (archived page)
from southern England, set off on a 2010-11 solo unsupported return trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole. Walking...he set out from Hercules Inlet on the morning of 26 November SP time. If he'd succeeded, he would have been the first Brit to do so, but he called off the return portion of his trip a couple days before successfully reaching Pole on 6 January, since he wouldn't have had enough time to get back to the coast before the ANI/ALE season ended on the 28th.. He was an ex-Royal Marine and Special Air Service member, part of his preparation included the Polar Challenge race to the North Magnetic Pole earlier in 2010. Here is an archived 10 October 2010 Telegraph article and an Explorersweb article with more information. After reaching Pole he hinted at a new Antarctic venture for next season.

The Kazakh Geographic Society (KGS) (archived Arctic Trucks blog), and my coverage...
planned a trip from Novo to Pole with 7-10 people, using three or four of those Arctic Trucks AT44 vehicles, including some of the same ones used by the scientific expedition by the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research. They cut back their plans to a 4-person crew, Konstantin Orlov and Stanislav Makarenko from KGS, Hlynur Sigurðsson from Arctic Trucks, and Andrey Myller of ALCI. They departed Novo on 4 December (SP time), originally planning to go only to the fuel depot at 83°S, but they made such good time that they continued on to Pole, arriving at midday on 9 December--total travel time of 108 hours. This was later certified as a Guinness world record for the 1434-mile trip from Novo, at an average speed of 13.3 mph, beating out the British record of 10.8 mph for the shorter trip from Patriot Hills. They left Pole the next day, returning to Novo late evening on the 14th. This trip was a test run for a much larger expedition planned for 2011-12.

Thanks to the economy, the list was shorter than usual this year, with some cancellations.

Cecilie Skog and Ryan Waters (their website did not archive readably)
(here is an archive of Cecilie Skog's blog in Norwegian) planned an unsupported unassisted ski trip from Berkner Island to Pole--the longest distance--800 miles, of any of the traditional NGA routes. And...time and weather permitting, they proposed to continue across the continent and descend to the base of the Axel Heiberg Glacier where it meets the Ross Ice Shelf. Cecelie is a Norwegian adventurer and guide...the only woman at the time to complete the "Adventurer's Grand Slam" (7 summits and both poles), and Ryan is an American outdoor educator and mountain guide. They were among several teams who arrived at PH (Patriot Hills) on the Ilyushin on 13 November (SP time) and were flown to their starting point later that day. They reached Pole on New Years Day, and after a tour of the station and some very positive comments about the station and the science on their blog (which is no longer readable), they continued (grid) south toward the Ross Ice Shelf, which they reached on 22 January. Here is an old Ryan Waters biography page which mentions the expedition, and a 2 February 2010 Colorado Daily article (Ryan was living in Boulder, Colorado).

Eric Larsen (archived site with little remaining detail)
from Grand Marais, MN, guided an ANI/ALE trip from Hercules Inlet this year, with resupply. The trip included Canadian Dongsheng Liu (who grew up in China) and Irish/Canadian William Hanlon. This was also a kickoff of Eric's attempt to complete the Three Poles (North Pole, South Pole and Everest) in 365 days. They also were on the 13 November flight and were delayed getting to PH because of high winds, they made it to the starting point on the 17th and set out the next day. On day 47 (3 January SP time) they arrived successfully at Pole, and were flown back to PH less than a day later.

Hannah McKeand
the British woman who previously set a South Pole speed record, led a guided resupplied trip for ANI/ALE from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf, also known as the "Messner Start" (82° 26'S, 64° 58'W) since Reinhold started his 1989-90 crossing from nearby. She guided Canadian Arnold Witzig. They reached Pole around 27 December, although there was very little public news except for this ExploraPoles page. Hannah embarked on a solo trip to the North Pole in 2010.

The Kaspersky Commonwealth Antarctic Expedition (archived site)
consisted of 8 selected women from the British Commonwealth countries of Singapore, Ghana, India, Jamaica, Brunei, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, and Cyprus. The group was led by 31-year-old Felicity Aston from the UK...the other group members also have web presence (archived list of team members). They also arrived at PH on the 13th, and waited at PH (suffering a tent-battering windstorm) for many days before getting flown to their "Messner Start" position on 22 November. Kim-Marie Spence from Jamaica was forced to abandon the trip after only one day due to severe frostbite. The team completed the 562-mile trip to Pole on 30 December. All of their blog entries are available from this archive page, and this ExploraPoles page also describes their venture.

Morten Grundsøe and Jens Erik Nielsen (nothing about this venture was archived from their website)
are two Danes who set off on a trip from the "Messner Start" on 30 November after some last-minute scrambling for a sponsor after their original flight arrangements were cancelled. They successfully reached Pole on 29 December.

Cancelled! 670 Arctic Miles
was Swedes Ted Karlsson and Christian Rosenqvist, who said they would ski this distance (which is also 1130 km) from Hercules Inlet to Pole, unassisted and unsupported, in the 2009-10 season. But there was nothing new on their now-disappeared website for months, their venture never happened.

The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition
was to be a rather unusual venture planned to include not one but two of those tricked Ford 6-wheel-drive vans ("Science Support Vehicles")--one of which made the trip to Pole already in 2005-06 in a trip which included Andrew Moon--as well as a "Concept Ice Vehicle"--a 3-ski biofueled propeller-driven lightweight vehicle developed by Lotus. They planned to start from PH, head to Pole, and then cut through the Transantarctic Mountains and cross the Ross Ice Shelf to McMurdo. The team includes Moon and Andrew Regan, this is another of those expeditions that had been in the planning stages and the media for awhile, but no dates. They never said how they will get their vehicles shipped from McM. Actually, an updated version of this expedition happened in 2010-11.

Meagan McGrath (archived Science North article about her Pole arrival)
adventurer from northern Ontario, aimed to be the first Canadian to complete a solo unsupported/unassisted from Hercules Inlet to Pole. She's already done the seven summits and the Marathon des Sables, and is working on the rest of the 8000 m peaks. She flew south from PA to PH on 29 November and was dropped off at Hercules Inlet on 1 December. Buther trip to Pole was a bit rough, after starting off from HI on 2 December, she fell into a crevasse and spent 8 hours in it before being rescued, with bruised ribs. After resting up a bit, she set out again from PH on 8 December. She arrived on 16 January. Here's her website with a brief mention of the Pole trip. (archived site)
was a journey featuring 17-year-old British Katie Walter, from Shackleton's furthest south (88°23'S) to Pole, the last 97 nautical miles. They (Katie and three others--56-year-old Nottingham pharmacist Shally Suri, 43-year-old IT manager Ian Berry from Croyden, and 53-year-old Wendy Kidd (MS Society Scotland fundraising page), a publicist from Northern Ireland) were based out of Patriot Hills and guided by veteran Mike Thornwill. The team arrived at PH on 17 December, did a bit of training, flew to the starting point on the 22nd, and reached Pole on New Years Day. Here's another blog from guide Mike's Polar Challenge International site.

Cancelled! Pôle Nord -- Pôle Sud (archived site)
was Frenchman Charles Hedrich's planned adventure for 2009, when he hoped to leave the North Pole on skis in February 2009 and (after using various means of transport) arrive at our striped South Pole 10 months later during the 2009-10 austral summer. The Arctic portion of this venture did happen, but not the southern part. This ExploraPoles page describes his original plans, and his Wikipedia entry has a bit more info. In 2007-08 Charles tried for a speed record to Pole but had to abandon the trip for medical reasons.

Postponed! Ronny Finsaas and Fiona Lindsay
had planned a crossing of the continent starting at Novo, heading to Pole with a return to Patriot Hills. Sometimes chef at the PH camp, Ronny, who was born in Norway, kited from Pole to the camp in 5 days in January 2008; and Fiona is from Scotland.

The Last Great Challenge (archived site)
was the English businessman John Wilton-Davies' next proposed venture with Justin Miles--a planned unsupported round trip in 77 days from Hercules Inlet. John previously tried to reach Pole in 2006-07 but was delayed by weather and problems with a crevasse field, and had to abort his venture when the ALE airlift support season ended. This was considered for 2008-09 but John couldn't find a sponsor. This time he hoped to do the return trip in 77 days. John was again having trouble finding a sponsor, so this never happened.


The Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race (archive page)
was another competition that picked up a lot of interest. In the spirit perhaps of Kim Stanley Robinson's Antarctica it was a real life challenge--a 480-mile race supported from Cape Town and staged south of Novo (south of what is left of the Filchner Ice Shelf,) in 2 legs, by 3-person teams. All equipment was provided, as well as some training events in the months before the race. Only £42,300 per person. This event was originally planned for 2002-2003, but this time it really happened. The event was scheduled to start 1 January and actually started on the 4th. While there were 7 teams signed up (all but one from the UK), six actually started and 5 officially finished. And if running wasn't your bag, you could have joined an SUV caravan in one of the four pace/safety vehicles (specially prepped by Arctic Trucks of Iceland) (archived page), which headed back from Pole to Novo after the race. Only £55,000 for that's the economy treating you? Anyway...Ben Fogle (archived page), James Cracknell and Ed Coats were among the first Brits to announce their participation in said Race. James is an Olympic gold medalist in rowing, and the pair came in first for pairs/third overall in the 2005-06 Atlantic Rowing Race, 2931 miles from the Canary Islands to Antigua. They were Team QinetiQ. The winning team was the Norwegian one, Team Missing Link (archived Norwegian language site)...they reached Pole on 22 January with a time of 17 days, 8 hours, and 58 minutes. The other teams in order of finish were QinetiQ (archived site), Cornwall South Pole Challenge (4 February 2009 Falmouth Packet article), Due South (Hylton James' site), and South Pole Flag, which included blind member Mark Pollock. Team Southern Lights (archived site) also finished but not officially as they received assistance from the race support team. This 18 January 2009 ExploraPoles article gives a bit more information on the teams.

Mark Langridge (archived site)
from Wales, was up for a solo unsupported round trip from Hercules Inlet...on 10 November he finally got underway, after the delays due to aircraft mechanical problems in PA and high crosswinds at PH. He was one of several travelers planning a speed attempt...but at the end of November he realized he wasn't going fast enough and decided to abandon his planned return leg. After 49 days of travel he arrived on the morning of 30 December, making him reportedly the 8th person to travel solo unsupported to Pole. In 2011-12 he would lead the "Scott" team in the Scott-Amundsen Centenary Race.

South Pole Quest
were the 3 Canadians Richard Weber, Ray Zahab and Kevin Vallely who made up this expedition. Richard is a veteran Arctic explorer, and Ray and Kevin are extreme long-distance runners--thus this was to be another speed attempt from Hercules Inlet--perhaps 35 days. They planned to start later in November than other teams, hoping for better weather. They reached PH on 29 November and planned about a week of training before setting out from Hercules Inlet on about the 4th...reaching Pole on 8 January for a record time of 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes.

The British South Pole Expedition 2008
was Gavin Booth and Adam Wilton, both in their 30s. They were underway with an unsupported, unresupplied trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole. They too started on 11 November; they crossed 82°S on the 25th...and reached Pole in the evening of 27 December, taking 45 days.

An ALE/Northwinds guided trip
led by veteran Sarah McNair-Landry of Northwinds (archived profile), included Canadian cancer survivor Tom Davenport (a July-August 2009 Bethesda magazine article), Australian Steven Gates (archived blog index; the entries are unreadable because they required Adobe Flash), New Zealander Ross Maxwell (his blog section about the expedition), and Norwegian Kari Gundeso. They planned a round trip from Hercules Inlet using kites, without resupply. They flew to PH on 10 November and got started the following day. The group reached Pole just after midnight on 3 January SP time after a 53-day trip. Afterward Sarah and Tom kited back to PH, heading north on 7 January and reaching PH on the 19th.

A second ALE guided trip...
...used the Messner route (which he and Fuchs pioneered in 1989-90) starting from the Ronne Ice Shelf at 82°10'S-65°W. They were guided by Eric Larsen (his blog post at the expedition start with links to newer posts); the five others included Daragh Horgan from Ireland, Australian doctor Jill Maxwell (archived site), and Londoners Doug Oppenheim and Jeremy Rogers. They flew to PH on 21 November and to the starting point the next day. At the beginning of December Jill decided to abandon the effort and was flown back to PH. The rest of the team completed their journey on 4 January. After reaching Pole, Jeremy kited back to PH along with Norwegian guide Ronny Finsaas (Ronny was a chef at PH). The return took 10 days, they arrived on the 15th.

Hvitserk Happy Feet (their archived website is blank because it required Adobe Flash)
were 5 Norwegians who attempted a 900 km trip to Pole from the Ronne Ice Shelf. The venture was put together by Hvitserk, a Norwegian company. They were led by Christian Eide, the other members of the "Happy Feet" are Rune Midgaard, Mads Agrup, Morten Andvig and Jørgen von Tangen. They left PA for the ice on 20 November and started traveling south on the 22nd, but Jørgen ended up in pain and required evacuation. The rest of the group returned to the starting point on 3 December so as to retain their unsupported unassisted status and began again, reaching Pole on 27 December. Have a look at this 1 January 2009 Explorersweb interview with guide Christian Eide about this expedition.

Chus Lago (archived and current Spanish language sites)
Chus in front of the 2009 Pole markera Spanish woman (and movie star) who was 44 in December 2008, undertook a solo unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet known as the "Caixanova Expedition." She too started on the 11th and was held up by the intense windstorm that buffeted the teams near PH on 15 November. She was the only solo woman on the ice this year, and wanted to be the first Spanish woman to ski to Pole. She successfully reached Pole on 8 January, but not before running out of food and getting a resupply. I couldn't find much about this venture on her websites, but This long 31 July 2009 Revista Fusion article (in Spanish) has a good description of her trip. The photo at right, of her in front of my favorite Pole marker, is from that Revista article. This 9 January 2009 Explorersweb article credited her as being the first Spanish woman to ski from the coast of Antarctica to Pole...and she published the book Sobre huellas de gigantes in 2016 about the venture.

Julio Fiadi (Portuguese language site)
the Brazilian, was again going to try taking his "polar capsule" from Hercules Inlet to Pole as he had done in 2000-01, this time alone and with one resupply. But I haven't found any info that says he actually did it.

Todd Carmichael (archived site)
after failing to get past 84°S last year, tried what he'd hoped would the first American completely solo unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet, to Pole, to "properly plant the American flag at the heart of Antarctica" as he said. He headed south to PH on the 10th and got started from Hercules Inlet on 11 November. He was also shooting for a fast time of less than 40 days, and he made that...on the 22nd and briefly held the record...according to Explorersweb he made it in 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes, beating Hannah McKeand's time of 39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes in 2006-07. His ski bindings broke early in the trip and he had to walk most of the way...he was a bit exhausted when he reached Pole. And alas, his blog entries required Adobe Flash to view so they are no longer viewable. This was his third Antarctic 2003-04 he walked the last 100 miles to Pole, and in 2007-08 bad weather forced him to abandon his 700-mile trek.

Extreme South (archived site)
was Robert Conway, a Type I diabetic who planned to be the first diabetic on insulin to reach Pole unsupported, and Toby Williams, another medical student from St. George's Hospital in SW London (a third team member, Doug Orr, backed out in 2006). Their previously planned trip in 2006-07 to recreate part of the Scott/Shackleton route. This was postponed until 2008-09 for financial reasons. They'd planned to use kites to help the otherwise unsupported trip from the top of the Beardmore to Pole and thence to Patriot Hills. Since they became doctors, nothing has happened with this...except that that remnant of Rob's website notes that he DID make it to Antarctica--as an expedition doctor at Union Glacier in 2012-13.

South Pole without Limits (expedition info on Ramón Larramendi's site)
was a Spanish team of Jesús Noriega, Xavier Valbuena and Eric Villalón, guided by Ramón Larramendi and Ignacio Oficialdegui. This group had special challenges per this 12 December 2008 Explorersweb article--one member without a hand, another who lost a leg, and a third with only 5% sight. They completed a 125 mile trip and reached Pole on 20 January 2009. The expedition link has been taken down, as was a brief YouTube video in Spanish about their trip.

South Pole for Kids Expedition (archived site)
Led by Doug Stoup, the team was 4 Canadians: Fred Losani, Steve Stipsits, Mark MacLennan, and Peter Turk. This was a "last degree" trip (well, 100 miles) starting at 88.26°S. They arrived at Patriot Hills on 7 December and got to their start point on the 11th, but Mark suffered frostbite to his hands after having his gloves off for too long, and was medevaced to PH on the 12th. The rest of the team reached Pole on 16 December SP time. Their return to Chile and home was delayed over Christmas by a bad storm at Patriot Hills, they eventually left Antarctica on the 28th. Here is a 23 December 2008 Hamilton Spectator article with a photo that mentions their delay.

Another Last Degree group, Southpole09
guided by Alan Chambers, included Kevin Gaskell, Matt Gaskell, John Harrison, Pete Lowrie, Andrew May, and Angelo Speranza, They started on 5 January and finished on the 14th. Kevin (50) and Matt (18) are father and son...but no, Matt isn't the youngest to do this, and this isn't the first father/son team. 20 January Explorersweb article describes their arrival.

PolarExplorers/ Northwest Passage
did a "last degree" trip--well, they actually started on 10 January at 89°20'S because of overcast conditions at 89°S. They reached Pole on the 14th. They consisted of American Mike Strong, Maud Oortwijn from the Netherlands, Andrzej Wojda of Poland, and Brit Peter Lemon. They were guided by American Keith Heger. Immediately after flying back to PH, everyone but Mike caught another flight and headed off to try to climb Mt. Vinson (they were unable to summit). There is nothing much to see on their archived flash-enabled website, but this 20 January Explorersweb article gives an update on this and other expeditions.

Kari Poppis Suomela and Pasi Ikonen (archived site; the journal entries are not available)
proposed the first Finnish trek to Pole, a 2008 unsupported venture from Hercules Inlet. Poppis was part of the Finnish expedition to the North Pole in 2006, and Pasi was part of a Greenland ski crossing the same year. They too started walking from Hercules Inlet on the 11th. And they made it to Pole on Christmas Day SP time...making Poppis the 12th person to reach both poles unsupported.

Teemu Lakkasuo (archived site)
another Finn, was trying his own unsupported/unassisted solo ski trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole...he too flew south on 10 November, he officially started his trek from Hercules Inlet on the 12th, but was slowed first by a stubborn case of flu, and then by a leg injury in a fall...perhaps a fracture. He was evacuated to PH but was contemplating going on...he returned to the ice to do a "last degree" venture, getting dropped off around 11 December and arriving at Pole on 16 December SP time, although the archived site is missing the details of his injury and last-degree trip. Here is his current 2022 website (in Finnish).

The Matrix Shackleton Centenary Expedition (archived site)
was proposed by Henry Worsley, Will Gow and Henry Adams--descendents of members of the Nimrod Expedition that got within 97 miles of Pole in 1908-09. The three men were duplicating the original route from Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds, getting there on a flight from Patriot Hills. On Friday 14 November they set out from the hut toward Pole via the Beardmore Glacier. They reached Shackleton's farthest south, 88°23'S-162°E, on 9 January, the centenary day of the original achievement. At that point they were joined by Shackleton's great-grandson Patrick Bergel, Jameson Boyd Adams' great-grandson David Cornell, and Frank Wild's great-great-nephew Tim Fright for the last 97 miles to Pole. Henry, Will and Henry reached Pole on the 18th, and the 97-mile group arrived a day later. The Ross Island team carried Shackleton's original compass...and solar panels to recharge iPods and other electronic devices. The group also had plans to duplicate the 1908 first ascent of Mt. Erebus but they arrived on Ross Island late and there wasn't time for that. This was a one-way trip, the group was flown back to PH from Pole.

Mike Horn (there is almost nothing indexed from his current website about this venture)
the South African who was one of a 2-man trek to the North Pole in the previous boreal winter, had announced the Pangaea Expedition--a 3+ year pole-to-pole expedition named after his new 35m aluminum yacht to carry him part of the way. First stage was to be a 9 October sailing from PA to the Antarctic, from where he was to trek to Pole. He was in fact dropped off near Adelaide Island on 10 November but was unable to find a good landing spot. So he reboarded the yacht and went back to PA. He later flew south with ALE around 27 November to begin his Pole trip in the more usual way, starting from HE actually on 7 December and reaching Pole on 19 January. His blog index is gone, but this is the first of many blog posts for his trip (which can be followed day-by-day)...7 December from ALE's Patriot Hills camp. He had been joined on 11 January per this blog post at 88°42'S by Børge Ousland, Clémence Cadario and Nicolas Valdivieso, the latter two folks being selected from Mike's Young Explorers Programme...and a day later they were joined by Prince Albert and his team of 8. They all flew close to Pole and walked the final 22km, arriving on the 14th...then Mike, Borge, Clémence and Nicolas flew back to their campsite to complete the main trek, arriving back at Pole on the 18th. Mike then started kiting back north. But not fast the ALE season was ending, he was the last NGA traveler still out...he was picked up at 86°34'S on the 28th.

Postponed! Alastair Humphreys (archived site)
the British round-the-world cyclist who competed in the Marathon des Sables earlier in 2008, had announced an 1800-mile round-trip from Berkner Island to Pole, along with Ben Saunders, which was planned for October 2009. That did not happen...nor did several other Antarctic ventures he was slated for in later years, including the 2013-14 The Scott Expedition.

Postponed! The Moon Regan Transantarctic Expedition
was to be a rather unusual venture planned to include not one but two of those tricked Ford 6-wheel-drive vans as well as a "Concept Ice Vehicle"--a 3-ski propeller-driven lightweight vehicle developed by Lotus. The team includes Andrew Regan and Andrew Moon (who first visited Pole by van from PH in 2005 Wikipedia article), as well as designer Jason de Carteret. They plan to start from the Ronne Ice Shelf, head to Pole, and then cut through the Transantarctic Mountains and cross the Ross Ice Shelf to McMurdo. When? The web site didn't say, although they originally announced the venture for 2007-08. The project received some New York Times coverage in February 2008, was postponed once to 2009-10, and finally happened in 2010-11.

Postponed! The Last Great Challenge
was the English businessman John Wilton-Davies' next proposed venture--a planned unsupported round trip in 77 days from Hercules Inlet. John previously tried to reach Pole in 2006-07 but was delayed by weather and problems with a crevasse field, and had to abort his venture when the ALE airlift support season ended. This time he hoped to do the return trip in 77 days. He was having trouble finding a sponsor in time for a 2008-09 venture this archived 30 August 2008 "this is" article. He postponed it again until 2009-10, which never happened.

Postponed! The Bear Dodgers
were Aussie Cynan Rhodes, Englishman Charlie Hunter, and Irishman David O'Brien, who'd planned a round trip from PH (manhauling south, kiting back north, otherwise unsupported). The team name came from earlier plans to cross Svalbard on kite-propelled skis and snowboards during the boreal 2007 summer--bears are very common there. the current financial climate they found it impossible to come up with the £30,000 each needed for the trip, much less support the Bowel Cancer UK charity. So they thought they might try the next season. Not.

Postponed! Robert Knight (archived site)
an Australian who reached the North Pole in 2007, had planned a solo unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet to support the "COFE for Cystic Fibrosis" charity, but he found the financial crevasses too daunting...he has postponed his planned departure until November 2009...but I've seen nothing about any further efforts.


Ronny Finsaas
an ANI/ALE chef at Patriot Hills, set off from Pole on the afternoon of 20 January in an attempt to set a kiting record to PH. He made 190 miles in the first 2 days, and successfully made it to Hercules Inlet at midday on the 25th (SP times)--five days, or 60 hours of actual kiting, which included a record run of 312 miles in less than 24 hours. No website, but here is the article announcing his success. Ronny actually warmed up by starting at 87°S, 46°E (250 miles from Pole) between the 15th and 19th, with a rest day at Pole before the main venture.

South Pole 2007 a precursor to check out the course for the South Pole Race which happened in 2008-09, Doug Stoup guided Brits James Fox and retired champion jockey Richard Dunwoody (archived page) on an unsupported trek. They flew south from Cape Town to Novo on 29 November and then flew further southwest via DC-3 to the Herbert Mountains from where they started their trip on 1 December--this was to have been the start of Shackleton's land crossing of Antarctica in 1915. James suffered from strain and altitude and was flown out on Christmas Day. Doug and Richard continued, as of 3 January they were at 86° 51' S. They reached the Pole late in the evening of the 18th, and were flown back to Novo. Here's a 26 October Sierra Sun (then the North Lake Tahoe (California) Bonanza) article about Doug and his preparations for this trip. Doug runs Truckee-based IceAxe Productions. Hmmm. I wonder if Doug has found any more Hershey bars on this trip!

the Friluftsaktiviteter team (29 January 2008 "The Adventure Blog" post)
is leader Ine-Lillie Gabrielsen and Rita Glenne, two Norwegian women who planned a unique venture starting with a climb of Mt. Vinson, followed by an unsupported trip from the old Vinson base camp to Pole. Yes, a new route! They started from the base camp on 5 December; as of 16 January they were still 225 miles from Pole. But they made it on the 27th. Whew...ALE/ANI air support was supposed to end the 25th (Chilean time). Here's a brief entry (in Norwegian) from their old web site.

Vision South Pole (otherwise known as the Optical Express South Pole Challenge) (archived page)
was doctor Cameron Hudson planning a 2007-08 venture in support of vision charities...the Cardiff (UK) eye researcher announced he'll participate in a 700-mile sledging trek as part of a group including guide John Huston of Northwinds, Sumio Tsuzuki (who climbed Everest and Cho Oyu and starred in the Everest IMAX flick) and Peter Blaikie (age 70),starting at Hercules Inlet. The team left PA on 26 November, Peter decided to bag and was flown out on 8 December; they crossed 88°S on the 15th after shifting their schedule to 29-hour "days" in an effort to reach Pole before air support ended. They made it on 25 January.

The CANDU ANI Messner Route South Pole Expedition (archive page)
started at the edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf and followed the route used by the 1989-90 Messner/Fuchs expedition. The resupplied group was led by the Australian guide Eric Philips (Icetrek), along with Merete Gjertsen (Norway), George Szwender (Canada) (blog), Alison Levine (USA) (blog archive), and Bernice Notenboom (Netherlands). They reached their starting point on 5 December; as of 4 January they were 125 miles away from that reflective ball. Which they reached on the 14th.

Sibusiso Vilane and Alex Harris (archived site)
are 2 South Africans who tried an unsupported/unassisted trek. They started from the Hercules Inlet on 16 November, they passed 87° on 4 January and made it to Pole on the 18th to be the first to do so from their country.

The ANI South Pole Quest
ended up consisting of a bunch of folks, including Evelyne Binsack (her Expedition Antarctica German language page--her plan for an 18-month effort to reach Pole was to start with a bicycle trip across parts of Africa and the Americas beginning in September 2006, followed by a ski trip from PH to Pole beginning in November 2007)--Evelyne was the first Swiss woman to summit Everest, in 2001. Here is an archived 8 August 2006 interview with her about her plans. Other participants included Adrian Hayes (archived site; the Adobe Flash links no longer work)--he was a former British Army Special Forces officer who'd lived in Dubai for the previous 10 years doing motivational speaking and selling Airbuses among other things. After climbing Everest in 2006, he decided to hit the poles in 2007, starting with a 4-man expedition to the North Pole from Ward Hunt Island in the 2007 boreal spring, followed by this trek to the South Pole. Also along...Norwegian cross-country skier Hans Foss and Lebanese climber Maxime Chaya (his blog archive). Max had made it up Everest and done previous last-degree ventures to both poles.And they were guided by Canadian Devon McDiarmid. They started at Hercules Inlet on 12 November, and reached Pole on 28 December. This site has a detailed log with many photos; Explorersweb identified this as the "ANI South Pole Quest" guided by Canadian Devon McDiarmed.

Hvitserk South Pole expedition
was a 7-person unsupported/unassisted Norwegian trek led by guide Bengt Egil Rotmo. The others were Jens Kristian, Ann Trude, Gro Mette, Bjørn, Truls and Lars. They reached their starting point on 12 November and reached Pole on New Years Day (SP time). It was put together by the Norwegian company Hvitserk (archived Norwegian site) which of course was also putting together a tour for the future 2011-12 centennial of Amundsen's trip. Alas, I was not able to learn the last names of Bjørn, Truls and Lars.

Beyond Endurance (archived site)
originally planned a 2007-08 3-person Irish venture following Shackleton's original planned route across the continent from the Weddell Sea to McMurdo. That was scaled back to a 4-person supported Pole trip from Hercules Inlet. They had considered continuing going some distance past Pole, but this trek extension was cancelled. The team members included leader Pat Falvey (his current website), Dr. Clare O'Leary, Shaun Menzies (trip blog), and Jonathon Bradshaw. This 3-year project included a trek across South Georgia in 2006 (and another planned one in 2008). The successful South Georgia crossing was led by climber Pat Falvey, as was a boreal 2007 summer crossing of southern Greenland via DYE 2. They started from the inlet on 12 November. On 5 January they were at about 89° 20', they reached Pole early in the morning of 9 January SP time.

"Last Degree" ventures
included one from 89°S that started on 9 December, reaching Pole on the 16th. This one included Kevin Dempsey, Lance Ranger, Stefan Anders, and Armund Mussey, led by ALE guide Tim Hewette. This one is newsworthy because Kevin Dempsey continued to speculate about the station and the alien forces behind IceCube...alas...his archived website is totally unreadable because it relied on Adobe Flash, but here is a good 16 January 2008 Explorersweb article mentioning the conspiracy theory. :) Later, two separate "last 2 degree" groups were dropped off at 88° on about 10 January. They split up into 2 groups, one with Børge Ousland (guide): Nils Thomas Lien, Britt Thorstensen, Nicolas (Nick) Moga, Otto Kalvo, and Stephan Kucsko. The other was guided by Svante Strand: Adrian MacLaughlin, Andrew Pearce, Helen Turton, Rudi Jansen, and John Bourke. As of the 18th both groups were at 89 degrees. Borge's team made it to Pole on the 20th; Svante's group was flown to a point 8-1/2 miles from Pole, Borge went out to meet them as they came in. Yet another "last degree group" was the British venture Shackleton's Unfinished Journey which consisted of a group guided by vet Mike Thornewill and team co-leader Barry Harper, with Murray Howitt, Carolyn Aitchison, Deb Stevenson, Richard Durance, Lynsey Gawn, Dean (Woody) Woodcock, Jo Craig-Humphreys, and Mary ?. They were doing the "last 112 miles" that Shackleton didn't finish when he turned around at 88°23'S. They arrived at PH on 9 January, got flown to their starting point (well, latitude, not longitude) on the 11th, and made it to Pole on the 22nd.

What was off...cancelled, deferred, or forgotten...
Opération Pole Sud (archived French language site)
was Frenchman Charles Hedrich's solo attempt at a speed record from near the coast of Berkner Island, assisted by kites. He started on 2 December and made great speed for awhile--completing 350 miles through the 22nd, but he had to abandon the trip due to a nagging urinary tract infection and fever. After waiting 5 days he was flown back to PH on the 27th. He planned a new pole-to-pole 2009 venture...but only the Arctic portion came off.

Sub-Zero Antarctic Expedition (archived site)
consisted of Jason de Carteret (British) and Todd Carmichael (American) who were doing an unsupported unassisted trip from Hercules Inlet. They started on 28 November hoping to break the speed record of 40 days for this route. But Jason had suffered injuries during the first few days and was flown out on 5 December. Todd continued on until 23 December. Storms slowed his progress, and he decided to be picked up after pushing on to near 84°S. Todd was already planning a solo unassisted/unsupported try for next year. Alas...yet another web site that relied on Adobe Flash which means their diary entries are no longer readable.

Slovakian Peter Valusiak (archived Slovak language website)
again planned a continental crossing to McMurdo, this time starting from Novo. He just barely started when word came that his mother had suffered a stroke, he was airlifted out on about 20 November. He announced a postponement until 2008-09; that didn't happen either.

Extreme South (archived site)
was Robert Conway, a Type I diabetic who'd planned to be the first diabetic on insulin to reach Pole unsupported, and Toby Williams, another medical student from St. George's Hospital in SW London (a third team member, Doug Orr, backed out in 2006). Their previously planned trip to recreate part of the Scott/Shackleton route was postponed until 2008-9 for financial reasons... that didn't happen either, although Robert id eventually make it to the ice as an expedition physician at Union Glacier in 2012-13. They'd planned to use kites to help the otherwise unsupported trip from the top of the Beardmore to Pole and thence to Patriot Hills.

was still planning their "kitesled" trip over a "new route," but they were set back by the death of one of the original expedition members, Andrew McAuley, in a kayaking accident off the west coast of the South Island (NZ). They recently reworked their kitesled during a Norway trip, now they are trying to figure out how to finance their trip to a remote part of the continent, including provision for rescue. In the boreal 2008 summer they planned to venture along the shore ice of Hudson Bay. Alas, there was nothing worth saving from their old website, although this archived page mentioned a future 2010-11 trip.

Journey South 2007 (Alex Hibbert's cancellation blog post)
was a planned 2007-08 four-man unsupported venture led by Briton Alex Hibbert, to be age 21 at the time of the expedition. Other members were to have been Richard Smith (age 36), Adam Griffiths (24), and Andy Wilkinson (31). Originally his plan was to be the youngest British person to reach the Pole and the youngest unsupported expedition leader. Later the plans were to do a new route from Halley to Pole. That was cancelled as well...later plans were to do the North Pole in 2008--actually he did a Greenland crossing during the 2008 boreal summer, and he earlier and later did some other Arctic expeditions. In other blog posts Alex commented significantly on other Antarctic ventures.

South Pole Solo (archived site)
was 24-year-old Mark Evison, from Dulwich (near London), he wanted to be the youngest person to walk to the Pole (from Hercules Inlet) alone and unsupported...something originally planned for 2006-07 per this 27 September 2006 Explorersweb interview. But he postponed things due to lack of funds for 2 years (well, looks like 2008-09) until he was to graduate from Sandhurst...that didn't happen.

90° SOUTH (Ben Saunders' 24 October 2007 archived blog post announcing the trek postponement)
was the planned unsupported round trip from Berkner Island by Brits Ben Saunders and Tony Haile (their current 2022 websites). They planned to pull sledges to Pole, and switch to backpacks for the return trip on skis. Hmmm...on 24 October they pushed this trip back to the 2008-09 the meantime, in March/April 2007 Ben attempted a solo speed record trip to the North Pole, which he had to abandon after only 8 days when his ski bindings failed. After the cancellation, Ben planned to accompany Alastair Humphries on his 1800-mile return venture in to Pole in 2008-09, but that didn't happen.

Hummers to hit Highway 90 (archived Mac Observer page)
Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak announced he was planning to join an expedition of hydrogen-fuel-cell powered Hummers on a drive south from McMurdo in December 2007, along with astronaut Buzz Aldrin. Yeah right. The trip was to be filmed in 3D by Academy Award winner James Cameron. Another old story (archived Barrons blog post--scroll down). Presumably they intended to travel the much cussed-and-discussed "road to Pole," but they would first have to get their vehicles to McM. Hmmm.

Cynan Rhodes (archived article)
had another green trip planned for the Antarctic, at least according to this news article. He had no plan to go with the Hummer team, but was going to use an electric car to cross the continent. Right. That's all I know.


Correne Erasmus-Coetzer (archived site; the dispatches required Adobe Flash and are thus no longer visible)
from South Africa, wanted to be the first African woman to ski from Hercules Inlet, she was part of three-woman expedition which also included Brit Beth Cheesebrough and guide Denise Martin. They had several resupplies en route. Denise (with Matty McNair) guided the 1997 McVitie's Penguin Polar Relay (archived site), the first all-woman trek to the North Pole. Correne did "last-degree" trips to both Poles in 2001 and 2002. They arrived at PH on 24 November and were flown to Hercules Inlet two days later to begin their trip. They successfully reached Pole on 18 January, where they were offered an early-morning snack of coffee and cookies in the galley. Here is Beth Cheesebrough's home page, although the links no longer seem to work, and also a 5 March 2007 The Northern Echo (Darlington, England) interview article with Beth after her return.

Antarctic Solo Expedition (archived site)
was 44-year-old Brit John Wilton Davies, who tried his own solo unsupported from Hercules Inlet to Pole. Impressive--he had no Polar experience and if he succeeded he told folks he'd be the oldest person to do this. He started on 28 November, as of New Year's he was halfway (85°S) but it was slow going and he was running short of supplies. He ran out of food and time...stopping at 89°S where he had a food drop and then waited for ALE's last flight to pick him up on the 26th...and take him to Pole to gather up the last Last Degree group.

Polar First (archived site covering their January 2007 visit)
the helicopter team, Jennifer Murray and Colin Bodill, that visited Pole in December 2003 (my coverage) shortly before crashing north of PH on a transpolar venture, are did it again this season. It again was a Bell 407, they headed south starting from Dallas, Texas on 5 December. On 31 December they reached Marsh Base on KGI, and they showed up at Pole on around 1700 on 7 January, after a 9-hour 1200-mile trip from Fowler with two fuel stops. Conveniently for Polies it was a Sunday, and Jennifer and Colin shared the limelight with two Russian helicopters that arrived the same day. This time Jennifer and Colin were accompanied by a second backup Bell 407 aircraft. They stayed around Pole for about 8 hours (a photo of one of the Bell helos at Pole is on the bottom of this page) and then headed back north to PH for some welcome sleep. After a couple of rest days they continued north (one of their stops was their 2003 crash site) and crossed the Drake from Marsh to Ushuaia on 19 January.

Ray and Jenny Jardine
from Arizona, did a ski venture from Hercules Inlet with one resupply. They left Patriot Hills on 12 November, first skiing north from PH to the inlet before turning around. They arrived at Pole on 9 January. Originally they planned to kite back to PH but they changed their mind and flew back instead...and Ray then decided to go climb Vinson, which he summited on the 26th. These guys have done a lot of extreme the Kiwi "Thermal Heart" team, they've also rowed across the Atlantic. They're the first American married couple to ski to Pole.

Hannah and GlennHannah McKeand (archived page about her 2006-07 expedition)
who did a group traverse to Pole in 2004-05, announced that she would do it again this in 2006-07--this time a solo unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet. She hoped to complete the Pole trip in a record 40 days, and she did! She showed up at Patriot Hills on the 12th and started a training trip before racing south, starting from Hercules Inlet on 19 November. to complete what would be the fastest trip to Pole to date--39 days, 9 hours and 33 minutes, arriving Pole on 29 December at 0933 Pole time. She had the station and IceCube tour, dinner in the elevated station, and spoke to the USAP community before being flown back to PH the next day. At right, a photo of her with Glenn Grant in the galley, photo from Glenn. She'd planned to follow this venture with a sailboat voyage from Tasmania to the South Magnetic Pole. Here is Hannah's current 2022 web site.

Kiwis on Ice (archived site)
also known as the Thermal Heart Antarctic Expedition, was the expedition by Jamie Fitzgerald, a Kiwi from Tauranga who holds some Atlantic rowing records. He announced a round-trip trek from PH along with age-25 Auckland oarsman Kevin Biggar. They hoped to be the first all-Kiwi trek in 50 years. Back in March 2006 they talked to media (the Bay of Plenty Times) about their planned unsupported 1800-mile trip. They were on the first flight to PH and started their trip from Hercules Inlet on 12 November. Temps were above zero (F) auspicious start. But on 1 January they were late, still 5 miles from Pole, which they reached the next day. They announced that due to hamstring injuries and unfavorable weather they'd abandon their return trek and fly back to PH. This 2 January 2007 New Zealand Herald article describes their arrival at Pole.

team n2i (archived site; n2i stands for "Novo to Inaccessibility")
was a venture by Rory Sweet, Rupert Longsdon, and Henry Cookson, guided by veteran Paul Landry. They flew into ALCI's blue ice runway (70°51'S-11°36'E, about 10 miles from the Russian Novolazarevskaya Station. Starting from Novo, they headed southeast towards the Pole of Inaccessibility (POI, 82°58'S-54°40'E; 12,226' altitude) by skiing and kiting when possible. They left Novo on 3 December and completed the trip to the POI on 20 January...surprised to find the rumored statue of Lenin that supposedly had been there for 48 years, mounted on the chimney of the IGY-era Soviet hut. They proceeded to dig out the hut entrance looking for the guestbook, not to mention cigarettes and vodka (!) but they could not get the door open! They were flown north to Russian base Progress and then were to go on to Molodezhnaya...perhaps in 2 weeks they were back in Cape Town.

Polar Quest 2006 (archived site)
Royal Navy camp at Polewas a Royal Navy (UK) joint venture to the magnetic North Pole and the geographic South Pole during 2006. The Antarctic trip was a 4-man 1500-mile round trip--the "longest ever journey undertaken on foot in Antarctica by a British expedition." They showed up at PH on 12 November and started south from there almost immediately. They arrived at Pole on 27 December, the halfway point of their trip. They held a memorial service at the site of Scott's January 1912 camp. On 1 January they attended the annual Pole marker surveying ceremony, they then moved their camp 2 miles away in hopes of finding better winds to help them sail north. At right, a photo of their camp from Glenn Grant. They left Pole on 2 January and kited 70 miles the first day. They made it back to PH on 21 January after a final day of kiting 86 miles.

Didn't quite make it... Southern Reach (archived site)
Not to be outdone, the Royal Air Force also planned an unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet. The four-man ice team, led by Warrant Officer Alan Sylvester, trained in Iceland and with David Hempleman-Adams. The other team members were deputy team leader Cpl Iain Kirk, Flight Lt. K. Scully, and Cpl P. Mainprize. They were on the first flight to Patriot Hills on 12 November, and made good progress until their team was medevaced by ALE only 101 miles short of the destination due to aggravation of severe frostbite injuries that two members of the team incurred at the beginning of the trip. But they did make it to Pole...their ALE flight refueled at Pole before taking them back to Patriot Hills.

"Last-Degree" guided trips (archived site)
--some of these were being run by Polar Explorers--including a "last-degree" trip by Sara Kameswaran (from India and living in California) guided by Annie Aggens (do a search on that archived site for "Sara"), and a "last-two-degree" trip by Laurie and Richard Goldsmith (from California--do a search on that archived site for "Goldsmith") and Ajeet Bajaj (video) (from India), guided by Keith Heger. Both teams flew south to Patriot Hills (PH) on 8 January and were dropped off for their walks on 11 January. Sara and Annie reached Pole on 21 January, while the 2-degree team (which had actually started from 88°-17' S due to poor landing conditions at the 88th parallel) reached Pole on 26 January.

Another "last degree" team
was to be led south from Shackleton's furthest point, 97 miles from Pole, by Fiona and Mike Thornewill...guiding Cedric DeSousa (archived page) from NYC, Veronica Shaw (18 January Wiltshire [UK] Times article), Lorraine Kelly, Dick Durance, Danusia Derben, Polly Hatchard (archived Navy News chronicle of her dispatches), and Wincent Kordula. But, four members of this group were hit by food poisoning (BBC News article) in PA. As a result, some of the group dropped out, and guide Mike had to be medevaced en route. Eventually the resulting trip included only the women. When they got to Pole on 1 January, Polly Hatchard (a Royal Navy officer) posed in a bikini (17 January BBC News article, alas, without a photo).

Yet another team
included Chinese guy Jin Fei Bao (who summited Everest in 2006 and had also bagged Vinson on this Antarctic trip), Richard Laronde from Boston, German Norbert Kern (German language site which includes Richard's blog in English), and Alex (?) from Moscow, guided by David Hamilton. They left 89°S on 11 January and reached the glass ball on the 19th.

Alpine Ascents (archived page of their dispatches)
another mountain guiding organization, earlier led yet another Last Degree group of as many as ten including two guides and Canadian Claude Boisvenue of Montreal. One of the guides was Patricia Sotos, the only Chilean to have summited Everest, and other participants included Vern Tejas, Todd Passey, Eric Murphy, John Giorgini, Al Schummer, and Bill Kind. The group first attempted a summit of Vinson but were beaten back by weather, and some of the folks flew back to PA rather than do the Last Degree trip. Those who did left 89° on 14 December and reached Pole a week later. Some of the group did successfully summit Vinson in mid-January, per the dispatches.

The Indian Navy
yet another Commonwealth military group, announced a planned 10-person ski trip to Pole in 2006-07, led by CDR Satyabrata Dam (no mention of this venture on his available blog). The group trained in Greenland and Iceland, and a PR firm was hired to promote the event. This was announced as a 125-mile "last-two-degree" trip, with an ALE guide making a team of 11. They arrived at PH on 12 December 2006, were flown south to their starting point of 88º36'S, and arrived at Pole on 28 December per this 31 January 2007 UPI news article. (campsite photo by Glenn Grant).

Jesus College, Oxford (archived page from September 2004...the only mention of this venture I could find)
had a group of six alumni who were planning a 2006-07 trip from Hercules Inlet, guided by the Northwinds folks...but their site disappeared with no further news.

Postponed! Extreme South (archived 2006 home page)
was Robert Conway, a Type I diabetic who planned to be the first diabetic on insulin to reach Pole unsupported, along with Toby Williams, another medical student from St. George's Hospital in SW London (a third team member, Doug Orr, backed out). Their trip to recreate part of the Scott/Shackleton route was postponed until 2008-09 for financial reasons. By then they would be doctors. They planned to use kites to help the otherwise unsupported trip from the top of the Beardmore to Pole and thence to Patriot Hills. The 2008-09 venture did not happen either.

Postponed! Icebird Expedition (archived site)
were three Australians, Ben Deacon, Andrew McAuley and Patrick Spiers, they plan to use a newly designed steerable "kitesled" created by NZ designer Peter Lynn to cross the continent to Patriot Hills. They later announced that they've postponed things again until 2007-08 (which didn't happen either). Their route to Pole was to be "a new route" which the team wasn't announcing. In April 2006 they were testing their kitesleds in Greenland. Earlier in 2006 Andrew was part of a 3-person kayak venture south from Trinity Peninsula (63°37'S-58°20'W) along the west side of the Antarctic Peninsula, which also included Laurie Geoghegan and Stuart Trueman. This, the John Rymill Memorial kayak expedition (archived page), retraced portions of Rymill's seminal British Graham Land Expedition of 1934-37, The team's yacht stopped at Palmer Station on the way north after the venture.


The list of adventures for 2005-06 included some rather unusual ones...
Unsupported to the South Pole 2005 (their website was not archived)
was two separate Norwegian teams of originally of six and five, arranged and guided by Norwegian members of tour operator Hvitserk, which started from 82°S on opposite sides of the Foundation Ice Stream (60°W), south of the Ronne Ice Shelf. The six-person "Team Rolf-Cecilie" was led by Norwegian Rolf Bae, who visited Pole on the famed 2000-01 Norwegian Antarctic crossing, and included Norwegian Per-Henry Knudsen (a K2 base camp manager), Austrian Wolfgang Melchior, Germans Rolf Dieter Seel and Ronald Krueger, and Britisher Cecilie Skog (Rolf Bae's husband). Rolf Bae's team did a restart (to retain their" "unsupported" status" after Rolf Dieter Seel had to be evacuated with serious back injuries after a fall. This travel explorations article mentions the first team's arrival on 28 December. The other team, which included Norwegians Inge Meløy (guide), Hanne Marit Normann, Asbjørn Hjertenes, and Jann-Ivar Didriksen, as well as Brit Simon Streater, arrived on the 31st--their arrival is described in this travel explorations article. The routes were about 140 miles shorter than the one from Hercules Inlet. After being flown out of Pole, several members of the groups headed off to climb Mt. Vinson.

Wang Yongfeng (archived CRIENGLISH news article)
led an unofficial Chinese 7-person group that did a "last 120km" trip taking 9 days and arriving on 16 December. Other members included Ci Luo, Liu Jian, Wang Qiuyang, Liang Qun (the first Chinese women to arrive at Pole in this way), Li Weiwen (Liang Qun's husband), and one other person. Here's an earlier 30 November embassy press release. A second Chinese group of six, including Wang Sachs and Chung Kin Man (who, along with Wang, Ci, and Liu) also completed the "7 + 2" [the seven summits plus the two poles] by summiting Vinson) arrived in Antarctica on 18 December and reached Pole on the 28th (archived press release from Xinhua).

Proyecto Cumbre (Summit Project) (archived Spanish language site)
was the Venezuelan team of five: Carlos Calderas, Marcus Tobia, Carlos Castillo, Martín Echevarría, and Marco Cayuso that wanted to be the first Venezuelans to ski to Pole, doing so unsupported from Hercules Inlet. The group's original goal was the Seven Summits; they have one more to go after the Pole venture. The team did a "last degree" North Pole trip in 2004 (Spanish language website). They started on 21 November; as of 13 January they were less than 2 degrees from Pole, but Carlos Castillo was evacuated with frostbite, thus ending the "unsupported" status for the remaining members of the team. The rest of the group reached Pole on the 27th.

Ice Challenger (archived site)
the expedition campsitewas a 1996 7.3 liter diesel 14-passenger Ford E-series van, heavily modified into a 6x6 with solar panels and a 110-gallon fuel tank. This vehicle was flown to PH aboard a Russian cargo aircraft in November. There the 6-member team loaded up and headed for Pole. They actually arrived at Pole on 13 December after a nonstop 69-hour drive, they then planned a quick return drive. Here's a site with more about the vehicle. Hmmm, last year's Invesco Challenge (archived site) wasn't able to get their wheeled vehicles much out of PH much less to Pole...but these guys did. I never found any photos on their website or documentation of their return trip...but I do have more info and photos here from friends at Pole, including the one at right of their campsite in front of the station.

A Norwegian kiting team,
Staale Samuelsen (age 46) and Sverre Hollie (62), did a 19-day kite-assisted trip from Pole to PH, arriving on 18 December. 62-year-old Sverre has an artificial hip. I never found a website, but this 5 January 2006 Explorersweb article mentions that the trip downhill "the other way" is faster because it is all downhill and the winds are favorable.

the Numis teamNumis Polar Challenge (archived site)
was a 5-man British team led by Antarctic veteran Geoff Somers--the plan was a 170-mile walk to Pole along Scott's route. They were flown from PH to the starting point (where the last of Scott's supporting party turned around in 1911)...and the venture was a recreation of Scott's trip--clothing, food, sledge, navigational techniques, etc. (well, they had a GPS for backup). The team arrived at Pole on 14 January after a 17-day trip. At right, a photo of four expedition members that was posted on the above website.

Doug Stoup
had planned a November 2005 ascent of the south face of Mt. Tyree (the second highest Antarctic mountain at 15,918 feet) but that may have been postponed. In February/March he headed for Bellingshausen on KGI with a robot from Stanford. Hmmm, someday perhaps!?

Børge Ousland (archive of his solicitation for this venture)
that Norwegian who had already ventured to Pole privately twice before this season, was soliciting 4-6 participants for a "last 2 degree" ski trip in November/December. He actually found one taker, Fredrick Syberg, of Norway, and they arrived on 8 December after doing the ~137 miles/220 km in 9 days.

Rune Gjeldnes (archived diary of what he called The Longest March)
Rune Gjeldnes at Polea Norwegian, successfully completed the longest trans-Antarctic crossing--2988 miles. On 3 November he was landed at the Russian Novolazarevskaya station on the coast of Queen Maud Land, and he set out on the sixth. He was crossing the continent via Troll and Pole, to Terra Nova Bay--descending the Priestley Glacier. He arrived at Pole early on 21 December and only rested one day before continuing on. He reached Terra Nova on 3 February after a struggle with crevasse fields--he is now the first person to cross both poles unsupported (he did an Arctic crossing in 2000). The photo at right is from his above linked diary.

The Spanish (Tierras Polares) Transantarctic Expedition  (archived page)
was a twice-postponed 3-man Spanish venture led by Ramón Larramendi, this year with Ignacio Oficialdegui, and Juanma Viu, to cross eastern Antarctica using a kite-powered sled. On 3 November 2005 they were landed at the Russian Novolasarevskaja station on the coast of Queen Maud Land, and they to started the following week for the Pole of Inaccessibility and the Geomagnetic Pole. The sled was a 17x10-foot catamaran, towed by a triangular "NASA" kite-sail (they have several up to 650 SF!), with a tent platform to allow the group to sleep in shifts en route. Apparently they did well with those high altitude wind conditions that have frustrated other of 13 January they were done, having traveled 2800 miles in 63 days (they did not visit Pole). They were picked up by helicopter from the plateau and flown to an icebreaker offshore of Mirny. They had been heading "downhill" toward Mirny, but logistics prevented their completion of the venture on land. Here's another archived link (in Spanish); their expedition page with dispatches is no longer available.

Cancelled! The Argus Expedition (archived page)
proposed by Eric Philips, veteran of the original 1988-89 Icetrek expedition, was to be a 2005-06 traverse from Pole across Dome A (Argus) to the Avery Ice Shelf per the 1 December 2004 post on the above website link--described the first traverse of Australian Antarctic Territory and only the second visit to Dome A after it was discovered by a Russian traverse in the 1950s. He proposed a meeting in Melbourne on 13 December 2004 to present his plans per this pdf. Also, here is a larger image of Eric's proposed route, from the above website. Nothing else ever was announced...

Cancelled! Malaysia's Antarctic Expedition (archived site)
twice postponed, was to consist of duo M Kamaruddin Md Isa and Encik Suhardi Alias. Their planned venture was to cross the continent from Blue One to Pole via Troll Station, then on to McMurdo, a total of 120 days, starting in November with resupply at Pole. Didn't happen.

Cancelled! SP1 South Pole Solo (archived site)
was actually to be 2 separate Australian unassisted solo treks from Hercules Inlet--one by Rob Porcaro (mentioned just below) and the other by Matt McFadyen. Matt went with Rob to the North Pole in April. Nothing heard since...

Cancelled! Rob Porcaro
an Australian, originally planned this trip for 2003-04. He said he'd try this year--a solo trek along the route from Berkner Island to Pole, and although he did a training trip in 2005 --68 miles from Borneo to the North Pole (archived web site news article), there was no word of his Antarctic venture. The purpose of the trek was, among other things, to raise awareness of depression (!) Rob, a former ad man and marketer, had a unique fundraising plan--he proposed to shoot the first TV commercial here (archived article in B&T--a Sydney-based media/marketing publication). "Products such as whiskey or cleaning powder could make creative use of the icy location," he said.

Postponed! Pole to Pole 2005 (archived site)
was a proposal by Martyn Williams to travel from the South Pole across several continents to the North Pole, beginning in December 2005, as a follow-on to his successful Pole to Pole 2000 venture in 2000-01. The Antarctic route was to be from Pole to the coast north of PH, where the group was to be picked up by boat for a trip to Cape Town...and travel north via bicycle, camel, Nile river rafts, kayaks, and eventually skis to the North Pole in May/June 2007. The team was to be "an international team of young adults." A postponement to a December 2006 start was announced, but that never happened.

Cancelled? Sky Odyssey (archived site)
was a 2-part Russian venture--the first part which did happen was an international youth expedition, flown to King George Island by the Chilean Air Force in March of 2005, where they participated in games (to promote Moscow's bid for the 2012 Olympics) and communicated with the ISS. The second phase was supposed to be an IL-76 flight from Moscow via Libya and Cape Verde, Chile, to the South Pole, where the participants including cosmonauts were to do flights by ultralight and hot-air balloon, skydive, and drive ATV's around the place, test new cosmonaut emergency suits and gear, erect an Obelisk of Peace, etc. "Celebrities" (Russian publication, article in English). The website linked above specifically mentions Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, but I have yet to see an IL-76 aircraft with skis. Hmmmmm...

Postponed! Wave Vidmar/South Pole Solo
had originally planned to come in 2004-05, but that didn't happen. This year the 41-year-old had planned to attempt the first American unsupported solo expedition from the McMurdo side (!). How's he getting to McMurdo and which glacier will he come up? We'll see maybe next year...Wave tried for the North Pole from Cape Arktevchski in 2004 but was seriously injured and had to be rescued by Viktor Boyarsky's logistics team as he made his way to the Barneo tourist base (ExploraPoles profile which hints at several Polar expeditions which didn't happen). He later was involved with ocean row and kayak ventures. There is almost nothing left on his archived website.

Postponed! Icebird Expedition (archived site)
is three Australians, Ben Deacon, Andrew McAuley and Patrick Spiers, they planned to use a newly designed steerable "kitesled" created by NZ designer Peter Lynn to cross the continent to Patriot Hills. The route to Pole was to be "a new route" which the team was not going to announce until they had full financial backing, which they did not get. They planned to test their sled in Greenland in the 2006 boreal spring and head for the Antarctic in 2007, which didn't happen. The February 2007 website blog archive linked above mentions their 2005-06 Antarctic plans and their trials in Greenland if you go down to the earlier posts.

Postponed! Pilot Gus McLeod (archived site)
who crossed the Drake twice on the way to Pole before turning around in February 2004, was trying again, after he'd proposed a trip in 2004-05. He left Montgomery, MD Sunday 16 October in his retooled Firefly aircraft...and had to land 30 miles away with landing gear problems. And in early November he found contamination in the fuel systems...too difficult to clean out and still make it over Pole this summer. He said he'd think about heading north over the North Pole in the boreal spring and then head south later. His single-engine Firefly now had a new turbocharger to give him the lift he needed last time when he hit icing conditions south of Marambio. No coverage of the current venture on his web site which only mentions his 2003-04 attempt; here's a 3 November PRweb press release with more information about the fuel contamination, and a December 2003 Aero News article mentioning his aborted 2003-04 plans.