Antarctic/South Pole Nongovernmental Ventures

1996-97 through 2004-05


The 2004-05 expedition list...another fairly successful year, but with some surprising postponements and cancellations...

Antarctica Solo Expedition 2004 (archived site)
was Datin Paduka Sharifah Mazlina S. A Kadir, a 38-year-old sports lecturer and the former third member of the now-postponed Malaysian expedition. On 9 December she began her ski-sailing trip from Pole to PH, guided by ALE's Mike Sharp. They averaged 10 miles/day for the first 5 days, and completed the trip to Hercules Inlet on 31 December SP time.

...two people comprising the Scot100 South Pole Expedition (archived home page and archived intro page from the old ExploraPoles site)
--accountants Craig Mathieson and his colleague Fiona Taylor, who had announced in January 2004 that they planned a £1 million charity walk from Hercules Inlet to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Scottish National Antarctic Expedition of explorer William Spiers Bruce, and to be the first team of Scots to ski to Pole. After a fine start Fiona was forced to quit on 8 November due to "chronic hypothermia." Craig continued south to Pole with Hannah is an archive of his diary.

...Owen Jones
an investment banker working in Japan, decided to out of the group on 8 December due to serious Achilles' tendon problems. His website includes an excellent diary of the trip until he dropped out.

...and Hannah McKeand
a British adventurer who was a third of the way through her planned adventure year--Afghanistan, Pole, and a round-the-world sailing race. The above archive link is to the first of her dispatch pages...not all of the dispatches may have been archived.

There was another 3-person team underway, Northwinds guide Devon McDiarmid with clients Stewart Smith, an attorney (and 7-summiter) from Waco, Texas, and Linda Beilharz, who became the first Australian woman to trek to Pole. But after Devon badly cut his hand on 12 November, he was forced to withdraw...Stewart and Linda joined Denise Martin's group. All reached Pole on 29 December.
Polar Challenge 2004 (archived site)
was actually a British "last degree" walk sponsored by West Nottinghamshire College, consisting of two students and two trained staff members. They arrived at Pole on 12 December after meeting up with the northbound Chilean scientific traverse. This was the first such expedition to Pole organized by an educational institution.

Marek Kamiński (archived page in Polish, I cannot navigate his site in English to find more info)
no stranger to Pole, is bringing 15-year-old Jasiek Mela (who lost an arm and a leg in an electric shock) and filmer Wojciech Ostrowski on a "last 100 nm" trip from 88°-20'S. They started on 16 December and finished up around the 28th. Jasiek had visited the North Pole with Marek earlier in 2004. Here is an LYO news article describing both of the polar expeditions.

Robinson R44 Raven Helicopter expedition
R44 helicopter at Polewas Brits Quentin Smith and Steve Brooks, who flew this aircraft from the Argentine station Jubany to Patriot Hills and then to Pole, arriving on 18 January 2005. My coverage, with another photo and credits, is here.

Doug Stoup
was to be back on the ice in November, but that apparently didn't happen. In October he was climbing in the Everest region. Hmmm. After he tested his ice bike for 200 miles in the Patriot Hills area in January 2003, he'd proposed this trip to Pole: Someday perhaps!?

The Omega High Antarctic GPS Expedition (archived page)
Damien Gildea on Vinsonwas one of a series of ALE-supported ventures by the Omega Foundation to accurately locate, map, and measure the high peaks of the Vinson Massif. The team members were Damien Gildea, Rodrigo Fica, and Camilo Rada, who spent almost two months in the field taking GPS measurements. One of their accomplishments was to confirm the height of Mt. Vinson to be 4892 m / 16,050 feet. At right, one of the expedition photos showing Damien Gildea preparing to spend the night of 28-29 November 2004 on the summit of Vinson.

Kites on Ice (archived site)
was Paul Landry's wife Matty McNair, two of their children--Sarah (age 18) and Eric (20), and British couple Hilary and Conrad Dickinson. This 29 October Nunatsiaq News (based in Iqaluit and Ottawa) article describes the frantic last-minute preparations of the McNair-Landry family. On 2 November they were underway on a planned Northwinds 72-day outing, skiing unsupported to Pole and returning with kite assistance. After some food rationing, they arrived at Pole on 24 December. They headed back north the next day, with the kites pulling them an incredible 52 miles on the 25th. They finished the return trip successfully around New Years. There is very little left on the archived site...these archived pages from the old Explorapoles site have a bit more information.

Partially abandoned! Another Northwinds-guided group was led by Denise Martin,
also part of the ALE team. Denise went to the North Pole in 1997 with Matty McNair and the McVitie's Penguin Polar Relay (here is Denise's site about that North Pole trip). The group received one resupply in the Thiel Mountains and a second late in the journey. Her group arrived on the ice 1 November. The four original guided members were...

Partially abandoned! "Expedition Trans-Antarctica" (now renamed the Invesco Perpetual Challenge) (archived site)
a British group, planned a 2-team supported approach--a 4-man ski team started from the Ross Ice Shelf at the base of the Axel Heiberg Glacier--completing the first successful ascent since Amundsen's in 1911. The second team was to have started for Pole from Hercules Inlet driving two 4x4 Land Rovers towing sleds. Unfortunately, this group was unable to configure their wheeled equipment (!) and sleds to keep them from sinking into the soft snow, so after 3 weeks at PH, on 30 November they abandoned their portion of the venture. The ski team continued on to a resupply at Pole, arriving safely on 22 December. They continued to Hercules Inlet, arriving successfully (and quickly) on 11 January. Ski team leader Patrick Woodhead and Canadian Northwinds guide Paul Landry (archived site--their newer page) came to Pole as part of the White Desert venture in 2002-03. The team also included Alastair Vere Nicoll and David de Rothschild. The vehicle team spent time near PH testing equipment.

Postponed! Strive South (archived site)
Briton Caroline Wilton, also 23, had the same "youngest woman" ambition to walk to Pole from Hercules Inlet; she was to go with a guided group...she originally announced her plans in May 2003 but nothing happened.

Postponed! The Spanish (Tierras Polares) Transantarctic Expedition (archived old website proposing the successful 2005-06 venture)
led by Ramón Larramendi, with Francisco Soria and Sebastian Alvaro, was another venture postponed from last year, to cross the continent in 2004-05 from the former Belgian King Baudouin station site (70°S-24°E) to Dumont D'Urville via the Pole of Inaccessibility, passing perhaps 700 miles east of Pole. They planned to use a unique 17x10-foot catamaran sled, towed by a triangular "NASA" kite-sail (up to 375 SF!), with a tent platform to allow the group to sleep in shifts en route (!). Based on tests on the Greenland plateau, they expected to average 150+ miles per day. Hmmm, the altitude there is over 12,000 feet, oh well.

Postponed! South Pole Solo
Wave Vidmar, who successfully reached the North Pole unsupported earlier in 2004, was in training to be the first American to solo unsupported from Hercules Inlet to Pole. The 2004-05 trip didn't happen...he planned to try again in 2005-06, but that didn't happen either.

Postponed! Malaysia's Antarctic Expedition (December 2004 site archive)
now consisting of duo M. Kamaruddin Bin M. Isa and Encik Suhardi Alias, were to try their postponed venture across the continent from Blue One to Pole via Troll Station, then on to McMurdo, a total of 120 days with resupply at Pole. They were scheduled to fly south to PH and Blue One in mid-November.

Postponed! Scott's Challenge
was Pete Goss and Alan Chambers, two ex-Royal Marines planned an unsupported round trip from the McMurdo side, retracing the steps of Scott's tragic 1911-12 expedition...this would have been the first venture in a few years to follow the "footsteps." They had hoped to raise €400,000 to help African children afflicted with AIDS. This venture was postponed from 2003-04.

Postponed! Pilot Gus McLeod (archived site mostly from 2003-04)
announced in mid-2004 that he'd try his circumnavigation again in his Firefly aircraft, reworked with a new turbo and auxiliary fuel tanks. This time he was to head across the North Pole first, then down to Australia, from where he'll head east across the Pacific. His Pole flight was to be a round trip from Marambio. Nothing new on the web site, at the time it was uncertain if it ever would happen. Here's the archived July 2004 news article describing his plans, and the archived proposed 2004-05 itinerary from his old website..

Abandoned! South Pole Ice Maidens (archived site)
was an Australian female team--Sandra Floate, Michele Bloomcamp, and Noelene Weightman, all in their 40s, planned an unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet. Like some of the other groups, they were in PA at the end of October, but they had to wait for lost baggage (including their unique kayak-style sleds), so they missed the ALE flight to Patriot Hills on 1 November. They finally started on 20 November, they gave up on the 27th because their bodies didn't adapt well to the cold. Here is a 26 October 2004 ABC News Australia article about their venture. This group is not the same as the British Ice Maiden Expedition that reached Pole in January 2018.

Abandoned! Ole Martin Martinsen (his Norwegian language site was not archived)
a 57-year-old Norwegian, departed on a solo unsupported trip from PH, but he also gave up due to Achilles' tendon issues--he was taken back to PH on the same plane as Owen Jones. He'd been planning to go a year later, but Børge Ousland and Liv Arnesen suggested he not wait...(this archived 5 November 2004 Norwegian news site gives details about his plans).

Cancelled? Anoushka Kachelo
age 23, wanted to be the youngest woman, as well as the first Pakistani, to trek to Pole. Earlier in 2004 she completed a last degree trip to the North Pole (Business Recorder news article). She had planned to travel as part of an ALE-guided trip from Hercules Inlet, but there was no recent word of her venture.


Expeditions for actually turned out to be a fairly successful year for NGA's and tourists, although some treks were announced with fanfare but didn't happen. ANI (Adventure Networks International) announced on July 24 2003 that they were canceling all Antarctic operations for the 2003-04 season. This was from the departing former owner and operator Anne Kershaw, who shortly afterward dropped out of sight. This disrupted plans of this year's tourists and adventurers.

After the demise of ANI's operations, two organizations stepped into the breach, struggling to line up aircraft, environmental permits, employees, and customers. Antarctica Logistics and Expeditions (AL&E), comprised of many ANI veterans per this 15 August 2003 press release (MS Word document), and the French/Russian company Cerpolex (Polar Circle) (an archived home page from December 2003). Cerpolex had previously supported nongovernmental and program activity including activities at Barneo (the floating camp near the North Pole) and the original abortive 2002 Antonov-3 flight to Pole the 2002 Antonov-3 story from Scott Smith, originally published on In September 2003, Cerpolex announced that they had been tasked by the Russians to recover that aircraft in 2003-04, along with support of skiing and climbing expeditions. They were to use an updated model of the Snow Buggies. In mid-October Cerpolex announced they were pulling out of the business for this season, so the aircraft will spend another season on the berm where it has been since January 2002. Here are details of their 2004-05 plans (archived page) including tourist support, the aircraft recovery, and more info on the Snow Buggies.

AL&E, meanwhile had a busy schedule of climbers and skiers. On 13 November 2003 they announced the purchase of the Antarctic support assets, equipment, and logistics operations of ANI from Grand Expeditions (archived press release from AL&E opened Patriot Hills with two Twin Otters in mid November, but their first Ilyushin-76 flight to PH wasn't scheduled until November 25, (and didn't make it until the 30th). This was later than some of the trekkers had originally planned start their journeys. AL&E retained the ANI name and web site (home page archive) for a time. It was updated with information about their 2004-05 plans...and more significantly, rosters of all the customers they've ever supported or taken to Pole between 1987-88 and 2002-03, or the Vinson Massif between 1983-84 and 2002-03 (archived pages)...great resources.

Gus Mcleod (archived site)
another private pilot with a small single-engined experimental aircraft, set out from College Park, MD on 29 December 2003; here is a 28 December 2003 Aero News Network announcement about his trip and a Centennial of Flight press release noting his departure. His plans were to fly across Antarctica over the pole to McMurdo and on to NZ. Since he couldn't get landing rights at McM, he later revised his plans to head back to Ushuaia. He headed south across the Drake Passage twice, once ending up at Rothera and once at Marambio, but icing problems and weather made him give up and return to Ushuaia. He would try again in 2004-05.

Jon Johanson
landed his RV-4 on the McM ice runway on 8 December. Outa gas. Oops. Outa there a week later. The above link goes to my full coverage.

is Michael McGrath's quest to be the first disabled person to reach both Poles. He got to Patriot Hills on 9 January, was flown to within 3 miles of Pole on the 13th, and was pulled on a sledge in a wheelchair until he walked the last 1000' to the Pole on the 14th (he made it to the North Pole in similar fashion in 2002). Here's an AL&E photo of him at Pole, and a January 2004 BBC News article about his achievement.

Doug Stoup
had scheduled a climbing/eclipse expedition to Queen Maud Land, but he is still planning a bike ride to Pole someday. He tested his equipment during 2002-03 near Patriot Hills. He missed the eclipse. They made it to Novolazarevskaya from South Africa, repaired a Stanford weather station, did some climbing, and headed back from the ice at the end of January.

Park Young-Seok (archived Arirang TV news article)
the Korean adventurer then age 41, led a 5-person expedition unsupported trip to Pole from Hercules Inlet...the other four members of the team were Lee Chi-Sang, Oh He-Joon, Kang Chel-Won, and Lee Hyun-Jo (in Korean the surnames precede the given names). They started their venture on 30 November and reached Pole on 14 January. This 13 January 2004 dong-a-libo article includes a photo of the team at Pole, as well as alternate spellings of the teams' names. At the time Park had only one more venture to complete before claiming the "Adventure Grand Slam"--a trip to the North Pole planned for the following season, becoming the first person to do so per this Wikipedia article. He went missing on an Annapurna attempt in October 2011.

Polar First (archived site)
helicopter crash siteBritish pilot Jennifer Murray and copilot Colin Bodill were underway south from New York flying a Bell 407 helicopter around the world via both poles to benefit the World Wildlife Federation. They made it to Pole on 17 December but crashed 3 days later north of Patriot Hills Both Jennifer and Colin were injured and were medevaced by AL&E to Punta Arenas, where they are recovering. Here's my page with more information and photos. At right, a view of the crash site used by permission of the PolarFirst team.

Matty McNair (archived diary)
that experienced female polar guide on her third Pole venture, led 4 male AL&E clients to Pole from Hercules Inlet...this group, dubbed the Famous Five, picked up a resupply at the Thiel Mountains and arrived at Pole on 21 January. It included 50-year-old Irishman Mike Barry--the first Irishman to trek to Pole; London attorney Iain Morpeth; Ray Middleton, age 43, a Hong Kong-based Cathay Pacific pilot; and Alex Blyth, age 42, a London financial publisher. Ray and Alex raised more than $200,000 for the HALO Trust, an organization dedicated to clearing land mines from former war zones. Here is Ray and Alex's archived website with links to their diary. They were flown to their starting point on 30 November 2003 and reached Pole on 21 January 2004 SP time.

Snickers South Pole Solo Challenge
was British woman Rosie Stancer who planned a solo 700-mile unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet with an iPod full of music and (presumably) lots of candy bars for energy. She made it to the ice on 30 November to Pole on 14 January (SP time) in 44 days, the second fastest trip.

Fiona Thornewill (link to this expedition log frame; her home page is here)
Fiona and Rosie at Poledid the same trip unsupported, but not without controversy. She set a record of 42 days for the trek from Hercules Inlet, and was without satphone comms for most of the trip. She made it to the Hercules Inlet starting point on 30 November and reached Pole on 11 January 2004...not long after her arrival, an article appeared in the Korea Times (not archived) quoting Park Young-Seok who claimed that Fiona had gotten an airlift at least 17 miles south of Hercules Inlet. On 14 January 2004, (archived page) refuted this claim. Both Fiona and Rosie Stancer had been involved in previous treks to both poles. Meanwhile, Fiona's husband Mike, who accompanied her to Pole in 1299-2000, led a group of 5 novices--Mark, Steve Bull (who was medevaced on 17 January), Richard, Vickie, and Linnea on the uncompleted portion of Shackleton's 1907 route. They were flown to their starting point at 87.46ºS on 12 January and arrived at Pole on 27 January (Mike's diary frame and the archived ExplorersWeb version) to meet Fiona, who'd camped out since her arrival. Above right...Fiona and Rosie at the Ceremonial Pole, from Fiona's site. Since Fiona and Mike met up at Pole, this venture was termed the "Solo Together" expedition.

The Lupus Antarctica Expedition (archived site)
consisted of Geoff Somers (a member of the 1989-90 International Trans-Antarctic Expedition), Norwegian ski-sailing expert (who would later cook at Patriot Hills), and Martin Burton, CEO and Founder of Monument Securities, and an experienced skier. The venture was successful. I have not found any details of the trip...although it is detailed in Martin Burton's 2004 book An English Amateur in Antarctica.

The Tetley South Pole Mission
Pen Hadow, Arctic veteran and organizer of several female polar treks...with Simon Murray did an unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet, arriving on 29 January Pole time. That made Simon Murray the oldest person to make the trek to date. Their web site has updated details and a diary...

Polly Vacher (archived site)
was on a round-the-world flight in a single-engined Piper Dakota aircraft, with plans to go via via (or at least fly over) Pole. After a month-long wait in Ushuaia, she flew to Rothera on 1 December 2003, per this NBC News article. She started her 16-hour flight to McMurdo on 12/5 but had to turn back because of strong headwinds. Now because of the fuel shortage she's cancelled the rest of her Antarctic leg. Last summer the Russian tourist icebreaker Kapitan Khlebnikov depoted fuel for her at Rothera and Scott Base. Alas, most of her diary entries were not archived. One of the few that was...this description of her failed flight from Rothera to McMurdo on 5 December 2003.

Rob Porcaro (archived website frame)
an Australian, announced this solo trek along the traditional route from Berkner Island to Pole. The purpose of the trek was, among other things, to raise awareness of depression (!) He didn't go, now he proposed doing it in 2005-06 which did not happen either.

David Hamilton
guided four folks--Rob and Jo Gambi from the UK (who had summited Vinson) and Canadians Bruno and Jason Rodi on a "last degree" venture...starting at 89ºS-87ºW after a flight from Patriot Hills. After 6 days of travel they reached Pole on 30 December 2003.

Never happened...The Taiwan Antarctic Expedition 2004 (TAE)
was a 6-person group planning a two-part expedition: an ascent of Vinson Massif as well as a trek to Pole. It was announced in this August 2002 Taipei Times article. But I never saw any more about it, and the first successful (partial) Taiwanese venture to Pole didn't happen until 2018-19.

Postponed! Over Both Poles
was to be a planned commercial aircraft (747-451) flight by Concorde Spirit Tours, around the world over both poles. Hmmm, later versions of their website indicated it might happen in 2004-05, but no. This would have been only the fourth commercial flight over Pole, the last went overhead while I was there in October 1977.

Postponed! Ice maidens (archived route information site)
was a group of 3 Australian women--Michele Bloomcamp, Sandra Floate, and Jane Yeadon--planning an unsupported trip from PH to Pole...this website link from August 2003 already indicated they'd postponed the trip until 2004-05, but many of these links still work to indicate their plans. They did start out in 2004-05, but aborted.

Postponed! Scott's Challenge (archived site)
is Pete Goss and Alan Chambers, two ex-Royal Marines who plan an unsupported round trip from the McMurdo side...this would be the first venture in a few years to follow the "footsteps"...they trained in Greenland but they didn't raise enough funds so their trip is off at least for this year. Here's a November 2003 BBC article about the postponement, and a May 2003 Yachting World article about the original venture plans.

Postponed! Malaysia's Antarctic Expedition (October 2003 website archive)
was a 3-man team planning to cross the continent from Blue One blue ice runway (71°31'S-8°48'E) to Scott Base with resupply at Pole. The team was to be M. Kamaruddin Bin M. Isa, Sharifah Mazlina Bt, Syed Abdul Kadir and Encik Suhardi Alias. To be on schedule they should have started in mid-October...they postponed until 2004-05, which did not happen either.


What the NGA expeditions were for 2002-03:
The Novalog Ultimate Walk to Cure Diabetes (Curewalk) (archived site)
arrived at Pole on the morning of 18 January. The trip from Patriot Hills to Pole consisted of Will Cross, a 35-year-old Type 1 diabetic from the Pittsburgh, PA area, guided by mountaineer Jerry Peterson, age 36, and the only non-diabetic team member. These two headed south from PH on about 29 November. Later, Will's father Mike Cross from England, along with Dr. Bret Goodpaster, age 35 and a physician/researcher at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) who was studying the expedition participants, flew to PH at the end of December. They were flown to a point between 88º and 89°S and traveled a bit north to meet up with Will and Jerry. Some of them participants had previously completed a "last degree" expedition to the North Pole in 2001. The trip goal was to raise funds for juvenile diabetes research.

and then there was to be the second ANI South Pole marathon
scheduled for 18 December 2002 but cancelled. Maybe next year. However, there was the second marathon at the NORTH Pole on 17 April 2003. Here is participant Brent Weigner's blog about the event--Brent also did (and blogged about) the 2001-02 marathon that actually WAS at Pole.

The 2002 South Pole Expedition (brief archived page about Andrew Cooney)
was one of the the ANI commercially guided trips from Hercules Inlet. In 2002-03 there were two teams, "Ski South Pole 1" was 6 people: Spaniards Guillermo Banales and Angel Navas, and Britons Graham Stonehouse and Andrew Cooney, accompanied by Devon McDiamid, ANI assistant guide, and guide Matty McNair (Paul Landry's wife). Andrew was 23, he became the youngest traverser to Pole when they arrived on 3 January, beating out the 27-year-olds who arrived the week before with the British Centernary Expedition mentioned above, per this 2 January 3003 Guardian article.

British Centernary Expedition
(or "White Desert" denoting their planned book about this trip) was "Ski South Pole 2," the second ANI-guided venture. This 4-man group featured South African Andrew Gerber; and 27-year-old Patrick Woodhead and Tom Avery, who were attempting to be the youngest Britons to reach Pole. This group was guided by the Canadian guide Paul Landry. The group reached Pole on 28 December. Archived reports on their web site indicated they had been running low on whiskey and needed resupply...

Doug Stoup
spent some time in and around Patriot Hills in January 2003...among other things testing his Ice Bike, which he'd been planning to ride to Pole for awhile...

Called off! The Kit Kat Ice Kites Expedition (archived site)
was Brian Cunningham and Jamie Young. They brought kite-propelled "ski buggies" from the UK to travel downhill from Pole to PH. The lightweight vehicles were to make the trip in "less than two weeks." They flew to Pole from PH on 30 December (Pole time) and set out the same day. However, they got becalmed and camped 2 miles away from Pole...and on 3 January, based on extended weather forecasts for light winds, they gave up. Their web site has a good post-mortem.

Finally, there were "last degree" (from 89°S) treks...and perhaps 40 tourists flying directly to Pole. The first did so in mid December.



All of the groups who did private expeditions to Pole in 2001-02:
Wearables Expedition (diary archive of the last part of their Pole trek)
Thomas and Tina Sjorgen, who aborted last year's trip 160 miles short of Pole, tried again with another generation of "wearable" electronic devices. This is the fragment of their updated web site that is directly available from the Internet Archive. The Internet Archive records are incomplete and disjointed, so I've gone in and collected as much from their diaries as I could find...go to this page. On 29 November 2001 they flew to PH and the coast, 4 weeks behind schedule. After slow travel most of their electronics froze up, and they suffered from the cold temps of late summer before arriving at Pole on 1 February 2002.

Doug Stoup
who made a successful ski trip last year as part of blind Miles Barber's trek, planned a 2001-02 solo bike ride on a specially made fat-tire titanium bicycle. This may happen some day, but in 2001-02 Doug led the ANI "last degree" trek to Pole, which arrived on Christmas, and more recently managed the ANI South Pole marathon. He's done a bunch of other extreme stuff in Antarctica recently including a climbing expedition on the Peninsula last summer, and an October/November 2001 climbing/boarding trip to South Georgia.

"Ski to the South Pole" (NorthWinds Arctic Adventures archived site)
is Adventure Network International (ANI)'s commercial operation of supported ski trips from Patriot Hills. In 2001-02 there was one group of three--Canadian guide Paul Landry of NorthWinds, along with Chris Weyers, a Briton from Australia, and Timo Polari of Finland. They arrived at Pole on 27 January SP time and were flown back to PH the next day. This June 2002 archive of the NorthWinds "Newsletter" page briefly describes their experience.

South Pole Marathon (my page of coverage)Richard Donovan crossing the finish line
sponsored by ANI, was the first and only one that actually happened at Pole! ANI flew folks to the starting line 26.2 miles/42 km from the dome. Three people finished the marathon run, while two others did a half, and one dropped out. This was originally scheduled for 4 January. Here's a diary by Brent Weigner and Don Kern. The winner, Richard Donovan, had to sue for his winnings after the race organizers attempted to change the rules after it was run, and that wasn't the only bit of controversy. Here is an archived August 2002 National Geographic Adventure interview with Richard Donovan. At right is a photo shared by Richard of his crossing the finish line in the dark sector. I've done hundreds of miles at Pole including some half marathon+ distances, but I prefer groomed surfaces, the sastrugi are murder! For a longer but more leisurely pace, ANI also was offering a "last degree" ski trip from 89°S to Pole.


The 2000-01 venture list:
Pole to Pole 2000 (archived site)
came from the North Pole (well, they changed their route and started at the Magnetic Pole in Canada). They arrived at PA on 26 November; from there they flew to Patriot Hills (PH). Their late arrival on the ice caused them to start in the Theil Mountains 250 miles south of PH rather than on the coast as originally planned. There were 9 team members--Martyn Williams [leader] and Dylan Spencer (both Canada), Jay Choi (South Korea), Devlin Fogg (South Africa), Jessica Casas and Heidi Hausman (both U.S.), Mercedes Rosauer (Argentina), Naoki Ishikawa (Japan), and Renaurd Richard (France). They made it to the dome the day before the millennium started (1/1/1). Original plans called for 4 people to make the return trip overland, but after leaving a time capsule (!) behind, everyone left by air for PH on 1 January. The web site has recent journals and maps...and Steven McLachlan has the arrival pictures from Scott Smith on his archived site. Martyn Williams (archived page), co-founder of Adventure Network International (ANI) (since acquired by ALE), was one of the expedition organizers.

The Origin Expedition to the Source...Dutch Origin Water cachet
also known as the Sasquatch Expedition, had 4 ventures covering the 4 primeval elements: earth, air, fire, and water. The 2-man Dutch "Water" expedition, consisting of Marc Cornelissen and Wilco van Rooijen, originally was to be an unsupported ski trek from Blue One to PH via Pole. That was off, but they arrived at Patriot Hills on 9 November on their way to do an unsupported round trip. During their first two weeks of travel they redesigned their sledges, depoted some supplies, and covered about 120 miles. They arrived at Pole on 27 December and departed before New Years on their return trip. Photos of their arrival by Katy Jensen and Neil Conant are here on Steven McLachlan's archived site (as well as their cachet logo at above right). They completed their trip back to PH on 16 January.

Bancroft Arnesen Expedition (archived site)
crossed the continent from the ANI runway "Blue One" (71°31'S-8°48'E near SANAE--now Wolfs Fang) to McM. Both Ann and Liv have been to Pole before, this was another "first Transantarctic" attempt with a resupply at Pole using skis and parasails. They arrived at Blue One on an ANI Ilyushin 76 aircraft on 13 November, 10 days behind their plan. They had hoped to reach Pole by New Years and McM by mid-February. They reached Pole early on 17 January and left the next day. They successfully completed the crossing of the continent on 11 February, but unfavorable winds made it impossible to finish the journey across the Ross Ice Shelf to reach their pickup vessel before it is forced to leave. So they called for ANI to shuttle them to Williams Field....which they reached on 17 February. The next day they were flown by helo to the Australian vessel Sir Hubert Wilkins. Their archived website includes daily diary entries by Katy Jensen, the South Pole Area Manager for Raytheon. Also, here's another archived page about Liv, who wrote the book Good Girls do not Ski to the South Pole after her solo trip during the 1994-95 summer.

Danish South Pole Expedition 2000
Kristian Joos and Gregers Gjersøe attempted to be the first Danish expedition to reach Pole unsupported from Hercules Inlet. They started from there on 19 November. As of New Years they had about 165 miles to go, and they arrived on 13 January. Steven McLachlan has some photos (archived site) by Scott Smith and Katy Jensen.

Norwegian Antarctic Expedition 
(archived Norwegian language site) (trip partially sponsored by the Norwegian Polar Institute)...Rolf Bae and Eirik Sønneland set off on 20 October to ski/parasail, unsupported, the 1250 miles from Troll Station, 72°S-2°E, to Pole along the 0° meridian. Oh yes, before they did that they wintered at Troll. The 4-man winter crew was Norway's first w/o party since the IGY era; the doctor is 65 years old! Because they wintered on the ice, they got an earlier start than the other adventurers. They reached Pole on 21 December--there was no news on their web site but Steven McLachlan has many pictures of their journey by various folks, from Scott Smith. Then they surprisingly headed for McM...where after problems with lack of wind they showed up at Willy Field on 5 February. Here's an exclusive photo of Eirik (left) and Rolf upon their arrival (photo by David Berry). They spent time at Scott Base while transportation arrangements were made for them to be picked up on the 13th by the cruise ship Akademic Shokalskiy. The Bigdeadplace archive site has an excellent interview with Eirik Sønneland. Their planning and communications foibles have been the subject of Antarctic Treaty meeting discussions...

Partially abandoned...Miles Hilton-BarberCook, Stoup, and Gildea at Pole
...a 52-year-old British adventurer, attempted to become the first blind person to trek from Patriot Hills. Miles has previously completed the Marathon des Sables and climbs of Mt. Kilimanjaro and Mt. Blanc. The four-man party (also known as the Challenging Horizons group) included sighted friend Jon Cook and guides Doug Stoup and Damien Gildea; they hoped to raise £2.5m for the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), as well as to inspire blind and partially sighted people to regard their circumstances as a challenge rather than a handicap. They left PH on 20 November, 10 days late, and after 260 miles Miles was forced to abandon the trip on 22 December due to frostbite on his left hand...he was flown back to PH and hoped to back in the UK by Christmas. The rest of the team continued, they reached Pole on 21 January. of his guides, Californian Doug Stoup, was planning to do a solo second trip to Pole on a bicycle (!) after the trip with Miles is completed. That is off for this season, but he hinted about future ventures. At right, a small photo of Jon Cook, Doug Stoup, and Damien Gildea at Pole, from the Doug Stoup page linked here.

Abandoned! Antarctica 2000 (archived Slovenian language page)
was a solo unsupported ski/parasail trip from Blue One to Ross Island via Pole. Stane Klemenc of Slovakia left Blue One at about the same time as Liv and Ann he had serious comms difficulty, and was held back by his incredibly heavy 440 lb sledge/parasail chair. After he stopped for several days due to probable injury, ANI went to look for him and flew him back to Blue One on 3 December. The link above is to the final version of his website...the menu at top left gives links to earlier posts...for example, this page gives the details about his rescue. This page gives more information about his venture and possible reasons for its termination.

Abandoned! The Poles Wearables Expedition (archived site)
consisted of the U.K./U.S. couple Thomas and Tina Sjorgen, who left Hercules Inlet for Pole on 20 November. Their expedition name comes from the use of "wearable" comms and computing devices, which they have already used to send pictures back. As of 19 January they were still about 180 miles from Pole, they gave up the next day and were flown back to PH. They intended to try again the next year...and were successful. The above link includes the text of all of their dispatches; at some point I may attempt to dig out the images as I did for their successful 2001-02 venture.

Postponed! The Canadian Antarctic Millennial Expedition (archived site)
...Laurie Dexter and Scott Smith, was planning a transcontinental trek from Berkner Island to McM but they said this was off perhaps until 2001-02, which never happened. Laurie did venture to Pole as the leader of ANI's "Last Degree" one-week ski trip from 89° S.

Postponed! Trinity Expedition Trinity Expedition (archived site)
This was a 3-man team from Chile, Argentina, and Britain, planning a trip to Pole from the ice edge west of Berkner Island. Their web site included a detailed chronology of their efforts to obtain funding, supplies, and information. As of late August 2000 it seemed unlikely that their effort would proceed. This page described their plans for a venture postponed to 2001-02 which didn't happen.

Cancelled! TAE 2000
Two women, Sunniva Sorby of Canada and Uiloq Slettemark from Greenland, were planning an all-female crossing from Berkner Island to McM via Pole with help from kite sails...they announced the cancellation on 18 October 2020 due to a lack of funds, and they threw their support behind the Bancroft Arnesen expedition mentioned above. Not much info remains about their plans. Sunniva accompanied Ann Bancroft on the first women's trek to Pole in 1992-93; see this July 2000 San Diego Reader article.

Polar Skydiving LTD
were planning to show up in January 2000 and have folks jump out of ANI's Basler twin turbo aircraft (rebuilt as-new ex-DC-3's). Only $19.5K out of PA... Not enough takers in 99-00, they'd planned for the following season, but the company has faded away. I mentioned their plans here.


The turning of the millennium at least by some's who came:ballooning at Pole
The skydivers/Russian "MIL" expedition...who showed up from Patriot Hills on 6x6 gasoline powered "snow bugs"
are covered on my page here...yes, they brought a hot air balloon (right)! The gondola was still around at Pole in 2008.

M&G ISA Challenge (Women's South Pole 2000) (archived site)
5 British women led by Caroline Hamilton, along with Ann Daniels, Zöe Hudson, Pom Oliver, and Rosie Stancer, all from the UK. Some of them went to the North Pole in 1997 as McVitie's Penguin Polar Relay. They left Hercules Inlet on 23 November and arrived at Pole at 1900 24 January. Their trip is documented in Caroline Hamilton's book South Pole 2000 ( link).

Geoff Somers from the UK (Wikipedia page)
along with Russian Victor Serov, guided the second commercially organized expedition to Pole, from Hercules Inlet. The group included Grahame Murphy (AU), Veijo Merilainen, Steve Peyton , Justin Speake, as well as Mike and Fiona Thornwill and Catherine Hartley all from the UK. They left Hercules Inlet on 6 November and got to Pole on 5 January. Here's Fiona's web site and a BBC News article. Geoff has extensive polar experience including the 1989-90 International Trans-Antarctica Expedition.

Antarctica 2000 (archived site)
was a large Singapore venture that included a Vinson climbing team as well as a ski traverse to Pole from Union Glacier. The four-man Pole team was led by Swee Chiow Khoo and co-leader Robert Goh, along with Yau-Choon Ang and David Lim. They started on 4 November from Horseshoe Valley in the Ellsworth Mountains (80º5'S-82ºW) and arrived on New Years Eve (31 December). They were resupplied by ANI's Basler 67 aircraft, which was in use for the first time in Antarctica.

Peter Treseder and Tim Jarvis
"Operation Chillout," two Australians tried to cross from Berkner Island (78°S 45°W) via Pole to McM. They started on 31 October and reached Pole on 16 December, and cancelled the second half of the trip due to leaky fuel containers. Their web site is gone; this archived link is from the Australian Antarctic Division (AAD).

A seven-man Argentine Army team of geography professionals, the Second Technical Scientific Patrol
showed up unannounced from Belgrano on snowmobiles. The team--Lieutenant Colonel Victor Hugo Figueroa, Captain Eugenio Nicolas Bernardi, Principal Deputy Officer Julio Cesar Dobarganes, Assistant Sergeant Ramon Rosamel Celayes, Assistant Sergeant Luis Armando Cataldo, Sergeant First Juan José Brusasca, and First Sergeant Daniel Rafael Paz--were on station between 4 and 7 January conducting scientific studies. Here's a photo of the group at the Ceremonial Pole provided by Adriana E. romero, wife of LTC Figueroa.

Laurence de la Ferriere (8 December archived story from the AAD)
left Pole on 23 November heading southwest to Dumont d'Urville via Dome Charlie, er, Concordia, alone on skis. She arrived at that French station on 30 December and continued north with help from the French, arriving at Dumont d'Urville on 6 February. The full story is on the AAD site. She finally arrived at Dumont d'Urville on 6 February. Before she left Pole she was interviewed by Dr. Robert Thompson (letter #3). Earlier, she was the first French woman to ski to Pole alone, arriving in January 1997.


A rather sparse travel year...thinking folks were waiting for the turn of the century (and this was before I created my website and collected info that has vanished from the webs).
Eric Philips
along with fellow Australian Jon Muir and Peter Hillary from NZ (Hillary's son), skied from McMurdo to Pole via the Ross Ice Shelf and the Shackleton Glacier...using kites when that was practicable, and satphones to communicate back home. They left McMurdo on 5 November and got to Pole on 27 January. They'd planned a return, but delays due illness and bad weather made them cancel that. The venture is cussed and discussed in this old Guardian article, and documented in Eric's book Ice Trek ( link).

High Mountain Military Group (French language site)High Mountain team
is not nongovernmental...rather they are an elite part of the French Army with extensive mountaineering and exploration experience. Five members--Maj. Bernard Virelaude, Capt. Thierry Bolo (group leader), Lt. Antoine De Choudens, Adj. François Bernard, and Staff Sgt. Antoine Cayrol--flew to Patriot Hills and left Berkner Island on 21 November, pulling 285-pound sledges. En route they tested equipment at high altitude and participated in medical studies. They reached Pole on 9 January 1999 (0830 10 January SP time) and spent 2 weeks at Pole due to bad weather before being flown back to Patriot Hills. At right, my photo of the signed poster they left at Pole.

Ola Skinnarmo
was the first Swede to reach the South Pole, solo with no resupply, but using a parasail. He left Hercules Inlet on 6 November and got to Pole on 22 December...only 46 days! He published a book Ensam Mot Sydpolen in Swedish in 1999 but I have not found any more information about his trip.

Antoine Cayrol, Antoine de Choudens, and François Bernard
did a trek from Berkner Island to Pole, leaving on 22 November 1998 and getting to Pole on 10 January.

Thierry Bolo and Bernard Virelaude (French language sites)
part of the GMHM/Groupe Militaire de Haute Montagne/High Mountain Military Team, ventured to Pole from Berkner Island, leaving on 22 November and reaching Pole on 5 January.


The six-person 1997 skydiving team (my full coverage)the skydivers' hero shot before the fatal jump
was flown into Pole from Patriot Hills by Adventure Networks on 7 December 1997. The six jumpers pictured at right before the jump were (from left) Ray Miller, Hans Rezac, Michael Kearns, Trond Jacobsen, and Morten Halvorsen. Kneeling in front was Steve Mulholland. Alas, 3 of the four guys in blue left Pole in body bags.

Dixie Dansercoer and Alain Hubert
from Belgium, traveled from Roi Baudouin (70º26'S 24º18'E in Queen Maud Land, site of a Belgian IGY station near Blue One) to Scott Base using skis and kite sails. They started out on 4 November 1997, got to Pole in early January, and arrived at Scott Base on 3 January.
Their venture is described in their book In the Teeth of the Wind: South Through the Pole ( link). Dixie did other Arctic and Antarctic ventures including a 2011-12 kite-sail trip from Novo to Pole and partway back via Dome C...alas, he died in June 2021 after falling into a crevasse in southwestern Greenland (ExplorersWeb article).

The Spirit of Australia South Pole Expedition
consisting of Aussies Peter Treseder, Keith Williams, and Ian Brown, left Berkner Island on skis on 2 November 1997 and successfully reached Pole on New Years Eve without assistance or resupply. Here's a chapter in Walking and sitting in the Australian Antarctic Territory: mobility and imperial space by Christie Collis which includes a description of their expedition.


Børge Ousland ( website)
the Norwegian explorer, completed the first solo crossing of Antarctica, from Berkner Island to Scott Base via Pole and the Axel Heiberg Glacier using a parasail. He left Berkner Island along with other venturers including Sir Ranulph Fiennes (who dropped out due to kidney stones) as well as the folks listed below. He left Berkner on 15 November 1996, got to Pole on 29 December, and reached Scott Base on 18 January 1997.

Marek Kamiński
from Poland, left Berkner Island along with Børge on 15 November also using a paraglider...he originally had plans to cross the continent to McMurdo Sound. but abandoned his trek after arriving at Pole on 13 January 1997. This was not his first Pole visit...he reached Pole in 1995. A bit of info about his Pole travels is on this page.

One Step Beyond (partial archived site which includes Robert Swan's diary)UNESCO team at Pole
was an project by Robert Swan, which changed, evolved, and celebrated 50 years of the United Nations organization UNESCO. The original plan announced in 1995 was for Robert, along with his wife Nicky, Russian explorer Misha Malakov, and BAS veteran Crispin Day, to trek to Pole from the Filchner Ice Shelf. This turned into a trip from Pole to Berkner Island by Robert, Crispin, and Geoff Somers...this was Robert's effort to complete his walk across Antarctica, which he'd started in the 1985-86 "Footsteps" expedition. They left Pole on 11 December 1996...after some slow progress, Robert was flown out on 31 December so to meet the Russian vessel Professor Khromov which was heading to Bellingshausen with a number of Young Explorers (a group of 35 sponsored young people)...Crispin and Geoff continued, reaching Hercules Inlet on 11 January 1997...and completed their journey on 18 January at the Hauberg Mountains using parafoils. Related--an effort which required 8 years of fundraising--to clean up 1500 tons of waste left after Bellingshausen Station on King George Island was abandoned. At right above, an old web page with a photo of Swan, Crispin, and Somers at the Ceremonial Pole.

Heo Young Ho (or Ho Young Heo?)
from South Korea, traveled to Pole with 5 other South Koreans--Sung-Taek Hong, Seung-Hwan Kim, Jae-Chun Yoo, and two other unidentified folks in a trek titled "Dream and Adventure" from the Ronne Ice Shelf to Pole. They left on 15 November and reached Pole on 21 January.

Laurence de la Ferrière
from France, traveled from Hercules Inlet to Pole using a parasail and with resupply...she departed on 26 November 1996, a few days after Børge Ousland, and reached Pole on 19 January. Of interest, she served as the station leader at Dumont d'Urville in 2009.


Marek Kamiński
born in March 1964 and from Poland, set out from Berkner Island on 5 November 1995 pulling a plastic pulk loaded with more than 260 pounds of supplies. Although this was a solo trip, he had a significant support organization and communicated with his team by accessing the Argos satellite system. He reached Pole on 27 become the first person to trek to both the North and South Poles in the same year. He and Wojtek Moskal left Ward Hunt Island (83º6'N-74º10'W in Canada) on 13 March 1995 manhauling supplies. They reached the North Pole on 25 the North Pole on 23 May. Wojtek Moskal wintered at the Greenpeace Antarctic base in 1987-88, and during that time, Australian pilot flew Moskal and another base resident to Pole in return for Greenpeace supporting and supplying fuel for the flights. In the early 2000s Kamiński and Moskal worked as polar guides from Camp Barneo to the North Pole.

Børge Ousland
had plans to do a solo trek across the continent. He started at Berkner Island on 8 November on skis and with a parasail, and reached Pole on 21 December. He then continued toward McMurdo, but turned around and was returned to Pole by ANI to Pole because of severe frostbite injury on the inside of his thighs, which became badly inflamed. He was treated by the Pole physician and flown to Patriot Hills.

Bernard Voyer and Thierry PetryBernard Voyer with his satcom device
from Quebec, left from Berkner Island on 9 November 1995 on skis and pulling sledges...they reached Pole after 64 days on 12 January, becoming the first Canadians to reach Pole on skis. They also used satellite technology to stay in touch. At right is a photo of Voyer with his portable satellite transmitter, which was developed by the New Brunswick company Cube Technologies. It could send predermined messages including weather and location...presumably also to the Argos satellite system. Photo courtesy of Gilbert van Reenan, Clean Green Images.

David Hempleman-Adams (Wikipedia page)
then 39, from Swindon, Wiltshire, England, completed a 60-day solo trek from Hercules Inlet to Pole on 5 January 1996. He'd started on 7 November 1995 pulling a 330-pound sledge, and encountered blizzards and significant sastrugi, and his last few days were difficult as he'd aggravated old back and leg injuries. He's the first to complete the Explorers Grand Slam (both geographic and magnetic poles and the seven summits) and has also indulged in significant balloon exploits. Otherwise, he's been involved in several chemical manufacturing businesses.

Fedor Konyukhov
from Russia (born in the Ukraine in 1951) successfully completed a solo trek from Hercules Inlet to Pole, leaving on 8 November 1995 and getting to Pole on 5 January. He subsequently summited Mt. Vinson...and otherwise he's participated in a number of serious balloon trips and solo round-the-world sailing races.

Norman Vaughan
the intrepid guy who handled the sled dogs on Byrd's first expedition in 1928-30, had planned a dog team venture to climb Mt. Vaughn in 1993-94 before dogs were banned from the continent. That trip was cancelled after the aircraft with his dogs crashed short of Patriot Hills, but he did summit his mountain in 1994-95, and visited Pole by air in 1995-96...I have a couple of photos and info here.

Aborted! Roger Mear
age 45 at the time, set out from Berkner Island on 4 November--four days before Børge Ousland--in what was slated to be a race to cross the continent to McMurdo Sound via Pole. Alas, on 16 December after covering 500 miles, Roger sent an emergency radio message to his supporters in Plymouth, England, requesting evacuation due to worse than expected conditions and problems with his sled, which had been equipped with removable wheels. He was rescued by an ANI Twin Otter on 17 December--cold and tired and in good health. Roger Mear previously had visited Pole in 1985-86 with Robert Swan and Gareth Wood as part of the tragic "Footsteps of Scott" venture.