Many websites have been covering these...some with live updates, interviews and videos...but there is only one website that that has at least been mentioning and linking to them every year since 2000...and you are here.
These pages are still under construction...but we will start with:
- There WERE trips planned for 2020-21...before that pesky pandemic showed up. ALE didn't operate, and foreign visits to US Antarctic stations were forbidden.
An image of the COVID-19 virus (CDC
- Shackleton 2020
- was a 4-person British venture that planned to retrace Shackleton's intended 1914-17 route across the continent, starting from Vahsel Bay (the last confirmed location of Shackleton's vessel Endurance) and crossing the continent via Pole and the Beardmore Glacier to McMurdo Sound. The team was to consist of Alan Chambers (age 50), Ann Daniels (55), Wayne Hoyle (52), and Rupert Fyne (52), using kites. The website contains only biographies of the team members and a promotional video (the YouTube link) (mostly but not completely without sound). A description of their plans is available on the extremeleaders website. I've found no post-pandemic updates.
- Postponed from 2019-20 Team WETWO
- is "We Two"--Phoebe Smith, a British writer, broadcaster and journalist, and Dwayne Fields, a Jamaican living in London. They've announced and were in training for a 2020-21 trip to Pole, starting from the Emperor penguin colony on Berkner Island. In 2010, Dwayne participated in the Polar Challenge, a 400-mile trek to the 1996 location of the north magnetic pole (Wikipedia information), and he'd previously announced Antarctic treks for 2012-13 and 2013-14 which didn't happen. In December 2019, Phoebe plans a training trek the length of the United Kingdom island hauling a wheeled sledge. And in 2021 they'd planned to take a group of underprivileged young people to Antarctica on a specially chartered expedition ship, which might yet happen. This 9 November 2019 Isle of Wight County Press article has a bit more information about Phoebe. Current post-pandemic (hopefully) plans...Phoebe and Dwayne are planning a 2022-23 walk (!) from the Berkner Island penguin colony to Pole and are currently seeking sponsors.
- Postponed from 2019-20 Baz (Barry John) Gray
- is the Royal Marines Commando veteran who in 2018-19 skied solo and unsupported/unassisted from Hercules Inlet to Pole. Before he started that trip, he announced that in 2019-20 he'd do an 1800-mile solo Antarctica crossing from the north end of Berkner Island, across the plateau via Pole, and to McMurdo Sound via the Shackleton Glacier. His sponsor SATcase's current website posits a trip from the Bay of Whales area to Berkner Island via Pole, but with no date indicated. This PDF gives more information about his more recent plans. As of November 2019 I'd seen no recent news on his website or elsewhere, but I learned that he was considering this trip for 2020-21, which obviously did not happen.
- Tom Warburton
- a 21 year old British student, was training for a 2020-21 solo walk from Hercules Inlet to Pole...if he succeeds, he'll be the youngest person to do so. His plans were first reported by news media in April of 2019, including this 11 April Euronews article. Tom is currently a student at the University of Nottingham, and he'd originally considered doing this in 2019-20. He still hopes do do this in 2021-22 but I've seen nothing recent.
- Here is the listing of NGO treks, ventures, a flight(!), and a rowboat trip (!!) which mostly happened in 2019-20:
The Impossible Row crew posing for a hero shot after arriving on the mainland
of the Antarctic Peninsula...photo from Colin O'Brady's Instagram account.
- Colin O'Brady
- now age 34, followed up his transcontinental trip of last season with what he called the "Impossible Row," which he first announced on Jimmy Fallon's "Tonight Show" on 15 November. Briefly, it was a six-man ocean row from the tip of South America to the Antarctic Peninsula in a 24-foot ocean rowing boat. This trip HAS been done before...in 1988 Ned Gillette and three others did it in a 28-foot aluminum craft, although their boat had a small sail occasionally used to maneuver the vessel near land. Here's a good memorial page by Eva Schandl with details and photos of the Sea Tomato venture, as well as a bit more information shared by participant, good friend, and 1980 Pole winterover Jay Morrison (he, Ned, and Mark Eichenberger of the crew are no longer with us).
In addition to Colin O'Brady, his team includes Cameron Bellamy, Fiann Paul, John Peterson, Jamie Douglas-Hamilton, and Andrew Towne. They set out offshore south of Cape Horn (Hornos Island--further south than Ned Gillette's departure point closer to the Patagonia coast) on 13 December 2019 at 0900 Chilean time (UTC-3) and landed on the Peninsula (at at 1045 Chilean time on Christmas Day at about 64º-12'S-61ºW--just south of Hughes Bay--with a time of 12 days 1 hour 45 minutes. The team took turns rowing in 3's for 90-minute shifts 24/7. This discovery.com page includes a bit more info and a link to a photo gallery of their training in Scotland. And unlike the Sea Tomato, O'Brady's craft was followed by a 120-foot boat from the Discovery Channel--this was a required safety measure, but it also enabled photo/video coverage of the trip for a documentary, although no support was to be offered except in case of emergency. The Discovery Channel put up links to their videos here (archive site)...they may or may not work depending on your location and your browser. Here's a Guinness World Records page about the venture...also see the above photo of the crew after their arrival on the Antarctic continent.
- Flying Thru Life
- was a planned flight by Robert DeLaurentis from pole to pole scheduled for 2019-20 after being postponed from last season. He was scheduled to head south from San Diego's Gillespie Field on 16 November. This is by no means a fast flight, as he plans to stop in a number of countries along the way (route details)...the overflight of Pole is planned for New Years Day. His original plan was to take off from PA, overfly Pole, and head to King George Island for refueling...a 20-hour flight in his modified twin-engine Turbo Commander. He will then make many stops in Africa and Europe before flying over the North Pole to Anchorage. He may carry representatives from his sponsors on some of the legs, but not on the Antarctic leg. Robert's plans are described in this 12 November KGTV San Diego article. He left San Diego on 15 November and initially flew to Portland, OR before returning to Los Angeles. As of November 26th he was in Panama City, Panama. When he got to southern South America his plans changed; he successfully finished his return flight from Ushuaia over Pole on 16 December. After the Antarctic trip he visited the Falklands over Christmas before continuing north to Brazil and Africa. As of 7 January he was northeast of Durban. The full trip including the Arctic portion was completed during the pandemic on 8 August 2020.
- The Longest Journey (archive site)
- is Queensland physician Geoff Wilson, who was starting out on a really long solo kite/ski journey--3600 miles--from Thor's Hammer, a 2000-meter peak southwest of Novo, to Pole via the Pole of Inaccessibility (POI), and then a return to Novo via Dome A (Dome Argus), the site of China's summer Kunlun Station. Dome A is the highest plateau on the continent (14,000') and has never been ascended on foot. He was flown to Novo by ALCI on 6 November, and apparently driven to his starting point on 11 November by Arctic Trucks. I'm unable to locate Thor's Hammer on a map or atlas...his planned start point was 72º 0'18.31"S, 10º51'56.96"E, but I'm unsure of the actual start point. On 2 December he reported arriving at the bust of Lenin at the Pole of Inaccessibility, his first expedition milestone. But after losing 3 bottles of fuel due to leakage, he announced on 8 December that he would not visit Pole but instead travel directly to Dome A. He then successfully returned to Thors's Hammer on 3 January and then continued downhill to Novo, after stopping for several hours late that day at 4,500 feet, the wind changed allowing him to reach Novo early on 4 January Novo time (UTC+3) shortly before a serious windstorm hit the base. Here's a map of his final route, this is from his Facebook page where he also posted updates and photos. His final distance of 3297 miles/5306 km is a new distance record for solo unsupported Antarctic travel. Here is his blog which is still online.
- Mollie Hughes
- age 29 from Edinburgh, was on a solo unsupported ski expedition from Hercules Inlet to Pole. Previously she has summited Everest twice, from both the north and south sides. She hopes to become the youngest woman to do the solo/unsupported trip. Here is a 1 March 2019 Renfriewshire News article about her venture. In February she was training in Norway, followed by two weeks in eastern Greenland. Her Facebook page includes additional info, including updates and photos of her training, and she was also posting updates on Twitter. She was on the first ALE passenger flight to Union Glacier on 10 November...fortunately her sled, stuck in Santiago for a week, arrived in PA in time for her flight south. She set out on the 14th, and on the 26th she crossed 81ºS. On Tuesday 8 January SP time she was at 89º-27'S and hoped to reach Pole by Friday. Earlier, on 27 December, she'd met up with Wendy Searle. She reached Pole on 10 January after traveling 58-1/2 days, although she lost her unsupported status by needing an emergency food resupply near Thiels Corner. Still, she's set a record as the youngest woman to reach Pole solo, as she is 15 days younger than Anja Blacha, who also reached Pole on 10 January 2020.
- was a 2019-2020 expedition by Wendy Searle, a mother of four from Salisbury in the UK. Originally her plan was to be a 400-mile trip from the Ross Ice Shelf "coast of Antarctica" up a never-before-climbed glacier to the plateau and thence to Pole with an unnamed guide, but her plans shifted to setting the women's speed record from Hercules Inlet to Pole, solo/unsupported/unassisted. In May 2018, Wendy completed a 27-day crossing of the Greenland ice sheet guided by Lou Rudd (Lou is her expedition manager for her current venture). Here's a January 2019 Guardian article about her plans, and here's an interesting guest blog post she wrote before the Greenland crossing about "how to go to the toilet in the Arctic" and other relevant topics. She left Heathrow on 10 November en route to PA, where as of the 20th she was still waiting to go south. She reached UG on the 23rd and was flown to the starting point on Wednesday the 27th. She reached the Pole after 44 days late on 8 January or perhaps early on 9 January SP time...without resupply. As for a speed record to Pole, that didn't happen...Johanna Davidsson's 39-day record in 2016 remains unbeaten (Explorersweb article). Wendy's travel time was 42 days, 16 hours, and 23 minutes. The other woman who was attempting a speed record is...
- Jenny Davis
- the London-based lawyer and athlete, planned to complete the solo/unassisted/unsupported ski trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole that she had to abort last season. After traveling more than 200 miles she was running out of food, and was later evacuated to Punta Arenas with a bowel infection and peritonitis. She headed south from England around 18 November and as of the 20th was probably still stuck in PA. Presumably she made it to UG on Saturday the 23rd along with Wendy Searle and was also flown to the starting point on the 27th, but not on the same flight as Wendy. As of 6 January, Jenny was within the last degree, but was suffering from a thigh injury and also having problems with her (only) broken stove. This and other recent updates are on her Twitter feed. She reached Pole on 10 January after receiving an emergency resupply a few days earlier...she'd traveled for 43 days.
- Southern Solitaire
- is Anja Blacha, a 29-year-old German now living in Zurich, had plans for a solo unsupported/unassisted trek to Pole from Berkner Island...or more specifically the emperor penguin rookery at Gould Bay Camp Cache, which is 125 miles further north than most "Berkner Island" starts. She planned to complete the 870-mile trip in about 60 days. In 2017 she became the youngest German to complete the Seven Summits, earlier in 2019 she summited K2, and she's also crossed Greenland. In mid-October she was interviewed by Ash Routen for Explorersweb, her Facebook page includes a "Not Bad for a Girl" video from RTL.de, and she also added posts on Instagram. She arrived at Union Glacier around 10 November. She started on the 13th and posted weekly video updates in German on intersport.de (which I cannot find now). In early January she was on the Plateau but I've seen no exact location. She reached the Pole on 10 January after traveling 57 days 18 hours 50 minutes.
- Jing Feng
- another Chinese explorer who in 2017-18 was the first Chinese woman to ski to the South Pole (from Hercules Inlet), had a unique expedition planned--a trip from the coast near Novo to the Pole of Inaccessibility. She was accompanied by guides Sarah McNair-Landry and Erik Boomer and they did not use kites. This 6 November Xinhuanet news article has more information, including that she flew from Cape Town to Novo on the 5th. As the described distance of their journey is 1100 miles, presumably they would be picked up at their POI destination. According to ExplorersWeb the team was into their fourth week of travel as of 6 December...and by 2 January they were 340 miles from the POI. They arrived on 25 January after traveling about 1120 miles in 77 days, after which they were picked up.
- The Women of Antarctica
- ...specifically the five women listed above (as well as others from previous years), were discussed in this excellent 12 January 2020 Team Fram blog post.
- Tanel Tuuleveski
- plans to be the first Estonian to ski from the Messner Start to Pole...also solo and unsupported/unassisted. He's previously summited Everest and Vinson, and one reason for his trip is to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Bellingshausen Antarctic expedition which was a Russian/Estonian venture. He has posted several updates on Facebook...as of the 20th he was stuck in PA with the others. He also was on the flight to UG on the 23rd and was flown to the Messner Start point on Monday the 25th. He didn't post many reports, but he did reach Pole on 30 December (his photo documentation from Facebook) after a mad dash for the last 20km to catch an ALE plane north...so he could attempt a Vinson summit. So it appears that Tanel was the first of the NGO folks to reach the Pole on foot this season. He completed the Vinson ascent on 2 January--the last of his seven summits.
- Jacek Libucha
- from Poland, was underway on a solo unsupported ski trip from Hercules Inlet. He was on the flight to Union Glacier on 11 November...and he was flown to the starting point and set out on the 13th. There were not many updates on his website, but he did reach Pole around 2100 UTC on 5 January after traveling for 53 days and 4 hours, per this londynek.net (mostly in Polish) news article.
- 90 Degrees South Solo
- is Neil Hunter, a Royal Navy veteran, currently a police officer in Surrey, England. He was to fly from PA to Union Glacier on 18 November to begin his solo/unassisted/unsupported ski journey from Hercules Inlet to Pole. As a Type 2 diabetic, he was raising money to support Diabetes UK. He was scheduled to leave the UK around 11 November...on the 20th he was among the group stuck in PA as flights have been delayed. He also was on the flight south on Saturday the 23rd and was also flown to the Hercules Inlet starting point on November 27th. As of 8 January he was at 88º16' S. He also posted updates on his 90 Degrees South Solo Facebook page. He reached Pole on 16 January.
- Robert Swan
- now age 63, attempted a trek which he calls "Last 300"...in other words, completing the last 300 miles of his 2017-18 Pole venture that he had to abort because, in his words, he was slowing the group down. After returning home, he had a hip replacement in September 2018. He was accompanied by filmmaker Kyle O'Donoghue and guides Johanna Davidsson and Kathinka Gyllenhammar. They started in the Thiel Mountains near the point from which he was evacuated in December 2017, halfway to the Pole from the Messner Start (82º10'S-65ºW), while leading the South Pole Energy Challenge. This last 300 miles was also to complete Robert's long-term goal of crossing the entire continent, albeit not all at once. The first part of this crossing was the 1985-86 "Footsteps of Scott" expedition from Ross Island to Pole. In October 2019, while preparing for his trip, Robert visited his 104 year old mother in Teesdale, England per this Teesdale Mercury article. He arrived at Union Glacier on 23 November and since then he already suffered a blister on his toe while doing some local skiing. Updates and videos were being posted on the 2041 Foundation Facebook page. The team set off from Thiels Corner on 3 December. But...on 30 December at 88º22'S Robert suffered a severe hip dislocation from a fall (2041 Foundation press release). He was medevaced to Union Glacier and thence to Punta Arenas on 4 January SP time (4 January 2041 Foundation press release). Meanwhile, the rest of his team pushed on to 89ºS where they were met up with their "last degree" team on 5 January. Members of this team include Robert's son Barney, Paulina Villalonga Abscal (age 19), UK/Australian Mary Nicholson, and Americans Rob Miller, John Foster, and Cameron Kerr. Massachusetts native Cameron, who lost his lower left leg in Afghanistan in 2011, was training in Breckenridge in December (15 December Summit Daily article). The total team of 11 people reached Pole on 14 January per their web site. This website page includes a bit more info if you click "continue reading" and scroll to the bottom.
- The All Women Expedition to Antarctica (AWETA) (archived site) (postponed from 2018-19)
- was a planned 4-woman venture to be led by Malaysian Sharifah Mazlina (full name Sharifah Mazlina Syed Abdul Kadir), who previously made a ski/sailing trip from Pole to Patriot Hills in 2004-05, guided by Mike Sharp. This time she led 3 other women--selection finalists Salehah Abu Nor, Siti Jumaida HJ Bensali, and Nurul Atiqah Tamarun--on a trek from...not Union Glacier but from 89ºS, to Pole beginning in November 2019. One of the goals is to retrieve a time capsule she left at Pole in 2004...while leaving another one to be uncovered by future generations of Malaysian women, perhaps in 2050. Three 2018 news articles--this one from This Week in Asia describes her 2004-05 venture, and this one from the Sun daily has more details about the training and the upcoming trip, and this New Straits Times article mentions the time capsules. Not much detail available from the website...the now-deleted FAQ was presented in Malay graphics. At a press conference on about 23 October 2018 they announced the postponement of the event to 2019-20 (graphic of announcement). The original plans involved six women...there was limited information on their Facebook page. And...from that FB page it turns out that this was a Last Degree venture...starting on the 24th and reaching Pole on New Years Eve SP time. Here's a YouTube video of the team arriving at the Pole ALE tourist camp--this was once available on the expedition home page.
- Richard Parks
- who aborted a 2018-19 trip to Pole after difficult snow conditions and what he described as body failure, announced a trek to Pole per this 11 November 2019 ExplorersWeb article, but as of the New Year there was nothing about it on his website or anywhere else. BUT...on 11 January he emerged on social media to say that he'd been in Antarctica since mid-December (11 January Instagram post from his website) and left Hercules Inlet for Pole on 17 December. As of 13 January he'd made it to the last degree, but was he carrying enough food? Here's the 13 January ExplorersWeb story. He arrived at Pole on 15 January as reported in this BBC News article...and he also posted this and other updates/photos on Instagram.
- Xu Wen
- a 32 year old Chinese scientist and mountaineer, had also announced a major solo unsupported ski manhauling journey, starting from Berkner Island, to Pole, and originally planning to finish at the base of the Axel Heiberg Glacier--3231 miles--longer than the distance covered by Lou Rudd and Colin O'Brady last summer. He's posted some updates here on Facebook, and this 13 November Adventure Blog post describes his plans and references this 22 October China Daily article. As of 20 November he was underway. His original plans had him finish at China's newest and fifth Antarctic station on Inexpressible Island, but that would require SAR support. As of 30 December he'd crossed 87ºS en route to Pole, and on 8 January he crossed 89ºS. He reached Pole on 10 January at the same time as Anja Blacha. He was planning to continue north, but he head to cancel that because of delays--soft snow on Berkner Island--and his supplies were delayed 12 days in Chilean customs due to ongoing riots and strikes. He posted photos and updates here on Instagram.
- Lucy Reynolds
- a nearly 40-year-old breast cancer survivor from London, was underway on a guided/assisted trip to Pole from Hercules Inlet...the ALE Ski South Pole Expedition. She was flown to the starting point on the 27th...the group was guided by Christian Styve, although I don't know about the rest of the team. As of 8 January they had reached 87.8ºS...they crossed the last degree on the 14th and reached Pole on the 18th.
- Jaco Ottink and Paula Strengell
- were being guided to Pole from Hercules Inlet by Ryan Waters of Mountain Professionals. Ottink (originally from the Netherlands) had previously climbed the Seven Summits. They were on the flight to the starting point on the 27th along with Neil Hunter and Wendy Searle. They crossed 87ºS in early January and reached the Pole on the 17th after traveling 52 days.
- Ski South Pole Axel Heiberg
- was the first ALE guided trip on this route which followed Roald Amundsen's route up the Axel Heiberg Glacier, starting with a visit to the cairn Amundsen left behind on Mount Betty. They reached Pole on 12 January. Not much detail, but his and other ALE-supported expeditions are discussed on this ALE news page.
- Headsouth 2020
- was an 11-person "last degree" venture led by Brits Michael Tobin, Louis Moody, and Alan Chambers. They planned to raise money for brain tumor research--here's their justgiving page as well as this 2 December article on the braintumourcharity.org page. They arrived in PA on New Years Day before heading south....and after traveling for 10 days from 89ºS they reached Pole on 12 January per this Brain Tumour Charity article; the effort raised more than £300K.
- Not On... Olivia Gourley
- currently 15, from Stewiake, Nova Scotia, planned a Pole trip in 2019-20 along with her 42-year-old father Chris. Not a lot of details yet, but the two intended to start from the Union Glacier base and ski to Pole alone and unsupported/unresupplied. At age 11 Olivia had major spinal surgery to deal with scoliosis (abnormal spine curvature), but the following year she was fit enough for a 5-day hike with her father in high-altitude Peru. More here from this 21 August 2018 CTV News article with video. I've seen no recent news, and her website and her GoFundMe site were deactivated with no archive. And at this point in the season their venture obviously has not happened.
- Announced NGO Antarctic ventures for 2018-19, and how they turned out:
Above, Colin O'Brady calls his wife Jenna Besaw after completing his "Impossible
First" crossing of Antarctica on day 54, 27 December SP time, after reaching the
juncture between the Leverett Glacier and the Ross Ice Shelf marked by the wooden
post seen behind him. The post is a route marker for the South Pole Traverse route,
which Colin used...creating more than a bit of controversy, e.g. "Did he really cross
Antarctica?" and "Was he unsupported?" The Antarctic crossing "race" between
O'Brady and Lou Rudd was extensively covered by international media...see below
for more detail and links. This photo was shared by Colin on Instagram
as was this
closeup photo of the route marker post.
- Colin O'Brady
- originally from Portland, Oregon, set off on a solo unassisted/unsupported Antarctica ski crossing, beginning at the Messner Start at the head of the Ronne Ice Shelf (82ºS-65ºW), traveling to Pole and thence to the head of the Ross Ice Shelf at the foot of the Leverett Glacier (which of course implies that he's using the South Pole Traverse route from Pole. Colin has previously completed the "Adventurers Grand Slam" which includes reaching the Seven Summits and traversing to both the North and South Poles (these were "last degree" trips). He was dropped off at the starting point (along with Lou Rudd) by AL&E on 4 November 2018 SP time. He reached Thiels Corner on the 20th, one day ahead of Lou Rudd. By 3 December SP time he was 162 miles from Pole. He reached Pole on 12 December (day 40), and on 23 December after day 50 he was at 86.7ºS-135ºW with 122 miles to go. His blog posts are here on Instagram if you scroll way way down. And at 0640 SP time on the 27th he reached the goal, the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, after an incredible 77-1/2 mile 32-hour push. Here's the 26 December 2018 New York Times article about the completion...which was followed a week later by this Times editorial. Not behind a paywall...several ExplorersWeb articles including this one by Damien Gildea: Crossing Antarctica: How the Confusion Began and Where Do We Go From Here.
- Lou Rudd
- a British Army captain, completed a planned unsupported solo crossing by the same route used by Henry Worsley in his fatal crossing attempt in 2015-16--from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf via Pole. In 2016-17, Lou led the SPEAR 17 expedition of British Army reservists in a ski trek from Hercules Inlet to Pole. Here's an 18 April ExplorersWeb interview with Lou about the venture. Interestingly, while all of his publicity indicated he was starting at Hercules Inlet, he was dropped off at the Messner Start on 4 November, a mile away from Colin O'Brady. Are they racing? Here is Lou's general website, which has more information, as most of the expedition coverage on sponsor Shackleton London's website has been taken down, although there still is a good March 2019 interview with Mark on that general website. As of 25 November, Lou had completed 19 percent of the distance to Pole, and by 3 December he was about 35 miles behind Colin O'Brady. He reached Pole on the 13th; by the 23rd (also day 50 for him) he was reporting 163 miles to go, perhaps a day or two behind Colin. By the 28th he had 19-1/2 statute miles left to go before meeting up with Colin O'Brady at the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf at their ALE pickup point. Which he reached at 1021 on the 29th SP time per this New York Times article.
- The "Crossing Antarctica" controversy between Colin O'Brady and Lou Rudd...
- ...here is more of my coverage which includes some historical New York Times articles about Amundsen and Scott as well as some excellent maps of Antarctic expeditions created by Eric Philips.
- The Spanish "Antarctica Unexplored 2018-19" campaign
- led by polar explorer and Windsled designer Ramón Larramendi, along with biologist Ignacio Oficialdegui, engineer Manuel Olivera, and guide Hilo Moreno, completed a 1500-mile triangular journey from south of Novo, to the abandoned Plateau Station, to near the summit of Dome Fuji and the Japanese Fuji Dome Station, and return, using their well-proven Windsled (a large skid-mounted tent complex with an open-ended "handling" tent where folks sit handling the "reins" of a huge kite. They departed from a point about 110 miles south of Novo on 12 December and returned to their starting point on 1 February. They did significant science along the way--the Windsled has been similarly used for a number of such projects in Antarctica and Greenland. And of interest to me, they did get to explore the interior of Plateau Station and camp in front of the (originally) 100' met tower which is still standing. Photos of that and the rest of the trip are in their diary as well as in this Explorersweb article and this Adventure Journal report.
- The Marine Live-Ice Automobile Expedition
- was a significant project by the Russian Geographical Society. They used two Yemelya 6x6 ATV's pulling a total of four trailers and two sledges to travel a total of about 6000 km from Novo...to the Plateau Station site, to the Pole of Inaccessibility (POI), to Pole, and thence north to Vostok and Progress. They reached Pole on 23 December and left the next day for Vostok, which they reached on New Years morning...only to press on the same day. They reached Progress on the coast on 13 January...their vehicles were loaded onto the supply vessel there while the crew was flown back to Novo in a Basler. Here's the link to their diary which includes photos.
- Aborted! Jenny Davis (this website does not describe the 2018-19 attempt, only her successful one in 2019-20)
- a 33-year-old London-based lawyer turned athlete (she completed the 250km Marathon des Sables in 2015), announced her solo/unsupported/unassisted trek from Hercules Inlet to Pole beginning in November 2018. Here is an 11 October self.com article which describes the venture, her training, and her nutrition. In a 15 November interview with The Times (London) she said she'd be starting out on the 27th, while Explorersweb reported she won't begin until December. She reached Union Glacier on 27 November and flew to the Mt. Vinson base camp the next day...to acclimatize, not to summit. She was flown to her starting point on 12 December and set out on the 16th. While originally hoping to set a speed record, as of the 22nd she'd only been averaging about 11 miles per day. By 3 January she'd traveled 209 miles, with 506 miles still to go. But...by 7 January she had abandoned her trip, called for pickup, and was in a Punta Arenas hospital with suspected appendicitis.
- Joe Doherty
- age 25, a former Boy Scout from Andover, England, was on the way to Pole with...uh, 3 others--Grazyna Machnik (from Poland), Rakonczay Gábor (from Hungary) and AL&E guide Christian Iversen Styve (from Norway). Earlier, Joe had announced the first scout-led Pole expedition for 2018-19 where he would be accompanied by fellow Scout Oliver Robinson from Portchester, in what was titled Hampshire Scout Expedition (HSX). In February the two did a training expedition in Norway. Here's a 12 May BBC News article. Joe got to Union Glacier on 20 November, and the group was flown to their starting point on the 24th. Although previously announced as unsupported, the blog posts from UG indicates they will be resupplied at Thiels Corner and at Pole, where Joe (at least) will also get kiting equipment. Thiels Corner is where the Messner and Hercules Inlet routes come together, so it is also a refueling site for ALE's Twin Otters. As of 7 December the group was at 84.1ºS-75.4ºW. By 22 December he was about 260 miles from Pole. And by 4 January they'd reached 89.24ºS. The group reached Pole on 8 January on the 45th day of their trek, and then ski/kited back to Hercules Inlet, arriving on about 24 January. Meanwhile, the ALE guided "Ski South Pole" team that started at Hercules Inlet also reached Pole on the 8th. Joe's website and blog are gone, but there is a bit of information here., as well as reports and photos on his Twitter feed.
- Aborted! Eric Larsen
- had also jumped into the "speed record" thing...he suddenly announced that he will be tackling the Hercules Inlet-Pole speed record. He's trekked to Pole before, most recently in 2014. Here's a 12 November ExplorersWeb interview with him. The link above is to his journal index; this 11 November blog post describes his plans in a recreated press release. He left Boulder, CO on the 13th, arrived in Punta Arenas on the 14th, and at Union Glacier on the 19th (local times). He was flown to the Hercules Inlet start point on the 23rd and set out the next morning (24 November SP time). BUT...as he was planning for a fast trip, he only carried food for ~24-26 days. And with lots of bad weather, on day 21/16 December he found himself still 290 miles from Pole...so he called it quits per this journal entry.
- Baz (Barry John) Gray (archived site)
- is a 26-year veteran of the Royal Marines Commando currently living in southwest Devon, England. His plan for 2018-19 was that this solo unsupported unassisted ski trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole was to be part one of a 2-season venture; he planned an 1800-mile solo ski crossing of Antarctica to sort of duplicate part of Shackleton's 1907-09 route from the north end of Berkner Island to McMurdo Sound, via the Shackleton Glacier and Pole in 2019-20. This was postponed to 2020-21 and never happened...note that Shackleton's 1907-09 expedition of course used the Beardmore Glacier to get to the plateau. He was being supported by AL&E out of Union Glacier...so of course they would need to pick him on Ross Island at the end of his trek there. His original website with map has disappeared, but most of his blog posts appear on his sponsor SATcase site linked above. He also posted updates on social media including this Facebook page. He started on 30 November, and as of 7 December he was at 81.1ºS-80.2ºW. By 23 December he was 334 miles from Pole. By 5 January he was well past 89ºS with only 47 miles left to go to reach Pole. And he arrived on the morning of 7 January SP time.
- Masatatsu Abe (Japanese language site)
- a 35-year-old Japanese rickshaw driver, completed a solo unassisted/unsupported walk from the Messner Start in 2018-19. He's been planning this trek for several years. There is hardly anything about his journey on his website linked above, but this 15 November 2018 ExplorersWeb interview/story about him and other explorers indicates that he was in Punta Arenas buying supplies. Here is a 2 November ExWeb interview with him. He was scheduled to fly to Union Glacier on the 18th and begin his traverse on the 20th, but he flew south on the 20th and set out on the 24th. He did post updates on this Japanese language Facebook page. As of 22 December he was at 84.9ºS-80.4ºW. Around Christmas time he opted to request a food resupply because of his slow travels. By 5 January he'd crossed 86.8ºS, and he reached Pole on the 17th--the last NGO traveler to reach Pole in the 2018-19 season. But he said he wasn't done, at the time he was planning another venture in 2019-20 (currently on for 2021-22) to complete the route to Pole that the Japanese explorer Army Lieutenant Nobu Shirase had attempted in January 1912. Shirase crossed the Ross Ice Shelf reaching a furthest south of 80º05'S-156º37'W on 29 January 1912. Reportedly he'd met up with Amundsen's expedition near the Bay of Whales as they were returning from Pole.
- Matthieu Tordeur (French language site)
- at age 26 and from France, was also on the South Pole expedition list. He, like Jenny Davis, started from Hercules Inlet. On 17 November local time he was in Punta Arenas--from Eric Larsen's 23 November post, Matthieu was at the Hercules Inlet start site with Eric. On 23 December (day 28 of his originally planned 50 days) he was at 84.42ºS-80.9ºW. His blog posts are here on Instagram (in French), as well as on the web site. At some poin, Matthieu ran into a bunch of tourists who were fresh from a Pole visit...being driven by Arctic Trucks per this 5 January 2019 Explorersweb article with a photo (as well as more info about Pole trekkers. On 4 January he was at 87,4ºS. He reached Pole on the morning of 14 January SP time, the next-to-last person to arrive at the ALE camp.
- Aborted! Laval St Germain
- from Calgary, was the only Canadian to have summited Everest without oxygen. He headed to Antarctica to climb the last of his seven summits--Mt. Vinson. Not leaving it at that, before the climb he was to ski solo from Hercules Inlet to Pole before being flown back to the ALE Vinson base camp for the summit effort. Laval has previously lost parts of 3 fingers from frostbite. When he's not doing extreme stuff, he is a pilot for Canadian North airline. On 18 November he was in PA, and he flew south on the 19th. Eric Larsen reported on the 23rd that he also was at Hercules Inlet. He set out for Pole on about the 24th, but on 7 December he decided to quit the Pole trip due to the bad weather he'd encountered, as well as issues with his warped pulk. He was flown back to UG on about the 10th. ExplorersWeb reported on 22 December that he STILL was at Union Glacier and hadn't yet been to Mt. Vinson. A recent blizzard at UG destroyed 8 tents. He summited Vinson on New Years Eve local time, and returned to Punta Arenas on 4 January. His detailed updates were posted here on Instagram.
- Aborted! Richard Parks
- who was the fastest Brit to ski solo/unsupported to Pole in 2014 (archive site), only recently decided to throw his balaclava into the "race" with an attempt to reach Pole from Hercules Inlet. He set out on 19 December; by the 23rd (day 4) he'd traveled 90 miles. His detailed updates are best seen on his Facebook page. But...on day 17--4 January SP time-- he decided to call it quits and summon a pickup, as his body was starting to fail him in difficult soft snow conditions. He documented the expedition including the reasons to end it on this series of podcasts. He was flown back to UG on 5 January.
- Aborted! Clean2Antarctica
- was a planned return drive to Pole (745 miles each way) from Union Glacier by Liesbeth and Edwin ter Velde of the Netherlands, using the solar-powered "Solar Voyager," a vehicle constructed from plastic waste with the help of 3-D printers. It was to be towing 2 trailers with 10 solar panels, as well as vacuum solar tubes for melting snow. Here's a June 2018 CompositesWorld article about the venture--it also describes the preliminary seagoing component of the project--a tall ship voyage to Patagonia with a crew of students and young professionals. They set out on the first leg of the trip--from Amsterdam to Tenerife in the Canary Islands aboard the Morganster on 29 August per this DutchNews.nl article. As of 7 November, the Solar Voyager was in Chile, They flew south to Union Glacier on the 30th and got started a few days later--not a lot of detail on their travels or route, but on 20 December they announced that they would not reach Pole, presumably because of the strong winds and heavy snow that have plagued other travelers as well. Here's a brief 19 December BBC News video about the end of the expedition.
- Arctic Trucks
- is back on the ice this year. I haven't found any details from them, but Joe Doherty reported from Union Glacier in a since-vanished 23 November blog post that they were heading to Pole and thence to the Ross Ice Shelf...and that there was a group of six skiers (5 plus a guide?) from Taiwan aka the Gamania Cheer Up Foundation (6 November China Post article) about to set out for Pole from UG and then get picked up by Arctic Trucks. Not a lot of info...except that it seems that the southbound SPoT 2 encountered the group on the traverse route about 120 miles from Pole (traverse member Thor's 14 December blog post) (archive site; scroll down), and they all showed up at Pole on 23 December SP time per this Business Wire report which has links to video. The Taiwan expedition team included Gary Wu, Tommy Chen, Albert Liu, Chris Wang and Sherry Lin, while director Yang Li-chou accompanied the group in the Arctic Trucks vehicles to film the journey, per this Taiwan Today article.
- Never started...Jan Meek
- from the UK, announced in January of 2018 that she was planning to lead a 5-woman team, dubbed the "Polar Maidens," to the South Pole in 2018-19. Still not much information from her about her detailed plans, other than she plans to take "the 200-mile trek that Robert Scott didn't survive in 1912" in this 2 January Richmond & Twickenham Times article. Jan completed a trek to the North Pole in 2008. The most recent info on this project comes from this July 2018 Times of India article which does not elaborate on the expedition plans...but it does say that the trip would include a total of six women--including two from India--Madhabilata Mitra (age 36) of Kolkota and Tanvi Buch (24) from Mumbai. The other women are Caroline Gereaty (60) from the UK, Aileen Crean O'Brien from Ireland, and Canadian Denise Martin. Jan Meek is 74. Aileen Crean O'Brien is the granddaughter of Irish explorer Tom Crean, who participated in both of Scott's expeditions as well as Shackleton's 1914 failed venture...see this 20 September Irish Independent (Dublin) news article, which describes the venture as a 150-mile traverse. As of mid-November 2018 Jan's website had been taken down.
- Never started...Eirliani Abdul Rahman
- from Singapore, was planning to be the first woman from that nation to visit Pole--her plans now are to do it in 2018-19. She'd originally proposed this for 2016-17, to be guided by Sarah McNair-Landry, but that didn't happen. As for the current season, there is no expedition website, and there's not much more about her plans other than media such as this 9 August 2017 Straits Times article. In March and April 2017 she was training in Canada, and more recently she's been dragging truck tires around. She now works for the Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation, and she planned to move to the US to work in their Washington, DC office.
- Never started...Nabil Al Busaidi
- from Oman, announced on his website a plan to become the first Arab to travel from Hercules Inlet to Pole in 2019. That was all...no further news there or anywhere else. But he does have an interesting history, including a North Pole venture and a Vinson summit...as well as earlier plans to trek to Pole in 2011-12 which never happened either. Much more about him and his earlier ventures and plans...
- Zero South (here is an alternate archived link)
- is an outfit I wasn't going to give up on, but perhaps I should, as their website is down, and they haven't posted anything on their Facebook page since September 2017. Their delayed plans involve a 1200-mile Pole trip starting from Union Glacier (to ??) using two massively converted Hummer H1 vehicles...the conversion included not only the installation of Mattrack-like tracks, but also a hybrid power plant where the biofuel-burning engines power generators with batteries, and the drive wheels are powered by electric motors. During January-February 2016 they set out on a planned trip from Anchorage to Prudhoe Bay using rubber tires. They then switched to tracks at nearby Oliktok Point for a planned round trip to Barrow. From there they continued west on the sea ice...to about 50 miles west of Oliktok point, where track issues caused them to turn around. Their final report on this trip is here...and more recently this K&N Filters page details the modifications made to the H1's for the polar trips. The vehicles were presented in Los Angeles during the April 2017 March for Science, one of several items presented on their Facebook page. They plan another test excursion in November 2017, which means that the earliest that the Antarctic trip would happen is 2018-19. And for housing they will be towing a heavily modified 23-foot 1962 Airstream trailer they're calling the Snowstream. And I must mention that Oliktok Point, perhaps 50 miles northwest of Deadhorse, is still the site of a radar station, originally a DEW Line site where a guy named Art Brown worked in 1961.
What happened (or didn't happen) with NGO visitors in 2017-18:
What didn't come off:
- Ventures that happened at least in part:
Ben Saunders' hero shot at the Ceremonial Pole on 30 December 2017 SP time...
from his archived blog post.
- Cut short! Ben Saunders (archived link to his blog)
- no stranger to Antarctica, was departing the UK on about 27 October 2017 to set off on what he called the first solo and unsupported crossing...something originally planned by Ben's friend Henry Worsley, who almost finished before falling ill and passing away in a Chile hospital in January 2016. Ben dedicated his trek in memory of Henry Worsley and used a similar route. Ben's plans were to traverse from Berkner Island to the Ross Ice Shelf via Pole and the Shackleton Glacier. Here is a 20 October Outside Online interview with Ben about the venture...and an 8 November Daily Mail article, which includes a photo of his fiancée Pip Harrison (they became engaged in July) as well as the info that one of his major sponsors is Canada Goose...seller of Big Reds with their knockoff of the USAP logo. Ben arrived UG on the first IL-76 flight on 4 November, and was dropped off at his starting point on the 9th thanks to good weather. After 10 days he was at 82ºS; on 11 December he was about 250 miles from Pole. He reached Pole on 30 December but opted to discontinue the rest of his planned trip to the Ross Ice Shelf as he'd run short of food due to delays (29 December Telegraph article which is now behind a paywall).
- Yasunaga Ogita
- a 40 year old Japanese adventurer from Takasu, Hokkaido, attempted a solo unassisted trip from Hercules Inlet beginning in mid-November. In the past few years he made two unsuccessful attempts to reach the North Pole. His venture was publicized in this 22 September 2017 Japan Times article. He headed south from Japan to Punta Arenas on 10 November and was dropped off at his starting point on the 17th. His blog with photos is here, and his position map is here. As of 7 December he was about 1/3 of the way on the 700 mile/1130km distance. And as of 5 January he was close...expecting to arrive at Pole on the 6th...which he did, accounted in this Japan Times article.
- Davor Rostuhar (Diary index) (Croatian language site)
- is a 35-year-old Croatian writer and photographer who has traveled extensively worldwide and written six books, including one for National Geographic. He was attempting to be the first Croatian to reach the South Pole...on a solo unsupported trek from Hercules Inlet. After an initial visit to ALE in Punta Arenas, he opted to travel from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia and travel by cruise ship to visit the Peninsula. As of late November he was still on a cruise ship...when that returned north he returned to PA and was flown to Union Glacier on 27 November. He was flown to Hercules Inlet on 1 December. By the 12th he was at 81º15'S and had traveled 180km. And by 8 January he'd reached 88ºS...by the 12th he was at 88º-40'S. He reached Pole on the 18th South Pole time...by his claim in this Total Croatia News article, he's the 20th person to complete the Pole journey solo and unsupported. His was the next-to-last NGO venture to reach Pole this season; the Norwegians Astrid Furholt and Jan Sverre Sivertsen arrived a few hours later. Davor's main website (in English and Croatian) with more information about him and his previous projects, is here.
- Scott Sears aka the Antarctic Gurkha (archive page)
- an Englishman who became a British Army officer after failed attempts to become a tennis pro and a country music singer in Boise (and then got a law degree), was underway on a solo ski trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole. He reached UG on 15 November and was flown to Hercules Inlet on the 17th. As of 11 December he was doing well...at 85.4ºS with about 320 miles left to Pole. He successfully reached Pole on 27 December.
- Leo Houlding/Spectre Expedition...
- Leo is a 37-year-old rock climber from the Lake District of northern England. He led a unique "off-road" Antarctic crossing/climbing expedition, accompanied by Frenchman Jean Burgun and Marc Sedon of Christchurch. Unique in part because their plans did NOT include a visit to Pole unless time permitted. Their plans were to be flown from Union Glacier to 88ºS-110ºW--the practical limit of ALE's Twin Otter...from there they kite-skied north to the Organ Pipe Peaks in the Gothic Mountains (86ºS-150ºW) where they spent about 20 days climbing. Their original plans included the technical south face buttress (2500' climb/6600' above sea level) of the expedition namesake Spectre. After that, they continued north down the Scott Glacier to the Ross Ice Shelf, manhauled back to the depot at their dropoff point, and kite-skied/manhauled back to Union Glacier. Other info...this 27 October Financial Times article and this 31 October Cumbria Crack article. Also of note...this blog post by geologist Ed Stump describing his first and only other ascent of the Spectre with his brother Mugs in 1980-81...using the much less technical north side. As for the Spectre team, they arrived at UG on 15 November on the second IL-76 flight. They were dropped off at their starting point on 21 November. By 8 December they had reached the Gothic Mountains and summited their goal, the Spectre, using much of the north face route followed by Mugs and Ed Stump years earlier. After some more serious climbing, they opted to not head north 60 miles to the Ross Ice Shelf, but instead head south. And they later opted not to visit 90ºS...as of 3 January they were awaiting favorable winds to kite them toward Union Glacier...which they got. By 5 January they were making great kiting speed on the established route from Pole to Union Glacier, with 280 miles left to travel. They arrived in spectacular fashion at Union Glacier on 11 January. Here's a 2 February Stuff.co.nz article about Mark Sedon, the Kiwi member of the team.
- Jade Hameister (archive site) with guide Eric Philips
- Jade was a 16-year-old girl from Melbourne, on a 2017-18 ski trip to Pole) using a new 375-mile route from the southeast corner of the Ross Ice Shelf up the Reedy and Kansas Glaciers (the Kansas Glacier is a tributary to the Reedy). She was accompanied by her father Paul Hameister, who also happens to be the 12th Australian to climb the Seven Summits, guide Eric Philips, assistant Heath Jamieson, and National Geographic photographer Ming D'Arcy who was capturing stuff for a future documentary. Oh, by the way, Jade, Paul, and Eric were in the midst of a Greenland ski crossing east from Kangerlussuaq in May 2017. Not a lot of details originally appeared on Jade's website, but Eric posted frequent blog updates on his site as well as daily email updates. Also, here's a 19 November 2017 Australian news article from The Age. As of 5 December they were at Union Glacier, and on the 6th they were flown to their starting point at 85º14'S-139º38'W. Since then they've made slow and steady progress; by 5 January they were at 89º10'S. They reached Pole on the 11th. Here's a 9news.com.au article!
- Robert Swan's South Pole Energy Challenge (SPEC) (archived site)
- was underway on this, his latest South Pole adventure--note that this Royal Dutch Shell website includes a video from the team. Robert started the trip with 3 others including his son Barney, filmmaker Kyle O'Donoghue, and guide/leader Martin Barnett on a man-hauling trip to Pole...relying solely on renewable energy. The renewable energy was coming from new technology solar panels...as well as backup liquid fuels made from coffee beans, food waste etc., and solar powered snow melters that operated as they travel, speeding up their dinner preparation as they only had to heat the water, not melt the snow first. The team was being resupplied from caches. In December 2016 Robert was spending a week at the Union Glacier camp with an international team, making additional plans for the 2017 trip...in a venture he called IAE 80ºS (MediaGreen news article) (archive site). By 20 November the team had reached Union Glacier, and they were dropped off at their "Messner Start" starting point (82ºS-65ºW on the Ronne Ice Shelf) on 22 November. However, on 18 December (day 27 of the venture) Robert Swan was flown back to Union Glacier after fearing that his travel speed was slowing the others down. As of 6 January, Martin, Kyle, and Barney were at 88º30'S...when they reached 89ºS on 11 January, they were joined by a Last Degree team accompanied by Robert Swan. By midday on the 13th South Pole time they were at 89º39'S.
- Astrid Furholt (archived page)
- of Norway, was underway on a 2017-18 ski trip to Pole following Amundsen's original 850-mile route from the Bay of Whales site and up the Axel Heiberg Glacier to the plateau...her intent was to be the first woman to track Roald Amundsen's entire route. She was accompanied by Jan Sverre Sivertsen, and they were being mentored by Børge Ousland and others. Their plans were to recreate Amundsen's route to Pole from the Bay of Whales. They were supported by AL&E out of Union Glacier--so they were flown to the base of the Axel Heiberg Glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf. From there they ski-sailed north toward the Bay of Whales. Due to poor weather, they turned around after traversing about 40% of the Ross Ice Shelf, and man-hauled their sledges to the Pole. Thus, they would actually travel about 1200 miles. Astrid's older website is here. They were dropped of at their starting point on 13
November. As of 6 December they were at about 84.5ºS. By the 10th they'd left the Ross Ice Shelf and climbed up Mount Betty, a small ridge at 85ºS-163ºW, where they located a cairn and cache left by Roald Amundsen in 1911, as well as a plaque added by Monica Kristensen in 1986-87. As of 3 January they were at 86º40'S. They were traveling slowly then, but have more recently increased their daily mileage. By 13 January they were at 88º-48'S..and they had hopes of reaching Pole by the 17th. They did make it on the 18th South Pole time....the last NGO group to reach that silver ball this summer.
- Exercise Ice Maiden (archived site)
- was a British Army team of women who planned a 1000+ mile walk from the base of the Leverett Glacier to Hercules Inlet via Pole and the SPoT route. This was planned for 2017-18, but they were busy training back in 2016. Here is a September 2016 Telegraph article (which is now behind a paywall) about their plans and preparation. Before they began, there wasn't much recent info on their website, but their Facebook page (which is no longer available) had more current info...including mention of their departure for Chile on 25 October. Earlier, there was their June 2017 announcement of the the final team selection: Nics Wetherill, Nat Taylor, Sandy Hennis, Zanna Baker, Jenni Stephenson and Sophie Montagne. Also see this March 2017 Daily Star article about their training. They arrived at the UG camp on the first IL-76 flight on 4 November...and on 20 November they were finally flown to their starting point. They reached Pole early on Sunday 17 December where they rested up and got resupplied for the leg to Hercules Inlet. The first two ALE "last degree" trekker groups also arrived around the same time. And they completed their entire mission, returning to Hercules Inlet at 2300 20 January (BBC News article). The six women are the largest all-female group to complete such a return journey to Pole.
- AL&E's Ski South Pole Hercules Inlet team
- set off from there on 21 November. This trip included five clients--Anne-Elisabeth Eskerud and Jon Erik Thunold from Norway, Angelo Felgueiras of Portugal, and David Woodman and Ali Negyal from the UK. They were guided by Carl Alvey (UK) and Christian Iversen Styve (Norway). They received 3 resupplies and reached Pole in mid-January. Their information (and other info I used here) came from this ALE 2017-18 expeditions review.
- Feng Jing (forgive me for not knowing the proper order of her name which I've also seen as Jing Feng)
- became the first Chinese woman to travel the 700-mile distance from Hercules Inlet to Pole. She was not part of the AL&E group...rather she was separately supported by Polar Consultants and guided by Paul Landry. They left Hercules Inlet on 16 November and reached Pole on 8 January, per this 15 February 2018 Xinhua news article and this 11 April Women of China report (archived site).
- Jethro De Decker
- a 33-year-old actuary from South Africa currently working in Singapore, had announced plans to do an unsupported, unassisted "fastest known time" trip from the coast to Pole. As of late October 2017, there still was nothing on his blog about his detailed plans...his most recent post discussed his completion of 100 miles (out of a planned 300 miles) of the Yukon Quest ultramarathon in February. This 9 March article in The Actuary has more information. But as of 7 December there was no recent news about his trip. He was still training, but on 6 December he ran the Singapore Marathon...so the Antarctic trip was obviously not on for this season.
- Priya Venkatesh
- a management training instructor living in Bangalore, had announced plans to put together an all-Indian team for a South Pole venture in 2017-18. She previously visited the continent in 2011 as part of Robert Swan's 2041 program "Leadership on the Edge." As of 26 October 2017 there was nothing out there since several December 2016 news articles such as this one from The Times of India.
- Sir Chris Hoy
- a six-time champion Olympic cyclist, had announced a 423-mile cycling trip to Pole from the Amundsen Coast...and more recently he'd announced he would be accompanied on his fat bike by fellow Brit Jason Kenny, who also holds 6 cycling gold medals. Of course, the Amundsen Coast is also the location of the base of the Leverett Glacier, which meant that he'd planned to the South Pole Traverse route...as did Maria Leijerstam in December 2013 (Maria's blog). James was hoping to beat Maria's record time of 10 days 14 hours 56 minutes. Earlier in 2017 Chris was still looking for a sponsor, he had no website that I could find, and his Facebook page does not mention the Pole venture. Still, he mentioned the trip in a late September 2017 interview, and he'd been ruing the fact that he'd miss the first weeks of his second child's life while on the ice. Here's a June 2017 road.cc article about his plans. This 15 November 2017 Daily Mail article indicated he's postponed the Pole venture until 2018-19. This February 2018 Guardian article quotes him as saying "next year." Which did not happen.
- James Redden
- from Buckinghamshire in southeast England, was planning a solo unsupported full trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole in 2017-18, a venture he titled "North by South 2017," but in mid-October he announced its cancellation due to lack of funds. In In April of 2016, he completed a "last 2 degree" trip to the North Pole. In March 2017 he completed a 2-week solo ski training trip in Norway...although weather and baggage issues meant he only covered half the planned distance. Here's a 28 February 2017 article about his plans from The Bucks Herald. He'd been discussing his plans and training program on his blog. Also here is his virginmoneygiving.com page seeking donations originally seeking donations for a 2018 (Arctic?) venture, the current page says it is for a 2021-22 venture which I do not have other word of. Elsewhere earlier he'd mentioned a possible Pole venture in 2019.
- The 2016-17 NGO ventures that did happen (or at least got started):
Arctic Trucks vehicles and a minivan at Pole on 13 December 2016, photo by
- Arctic Trucks
- had another big season underway, but I was not aware of it until I saw the above photo (her original photo before I lightened it) of several of their vehicles at Pole on 13 December. That is their most ambitious project which they're calling only "film support," although a friend on the second South Pole Traverse who passed them said that their project involved National Geographic. They reported that they were taking 3 Hilux AT44's (two 6x6s and one 4x4) on a round trip from Union Glacier to McMurdo, although the photos I've seen also show that they had a minivan along...I originally thought the minivan was also a Toyota product, but no, it was a Hyundai Santa Fe. Along for the ride was Ernest Shackleton's great-grandson Patrick Bergel. They were very secretive...the venture details about their return trip from Union Glacier to McMurdo were not revealed until 20 April 2017, when it was described as "Shackleton's Return" based on the presence of his great-grandson. The venture website on Hyundai's site has disappeared, but here at least is their April 2017 news article about the successful mission. as well as a news article from the Daily Mail. That trip is 700 miles from UG to Pole and 995 miles to McM along the traverse route each way, for a total of about 3400 miles round trip, with 4 people. Plus, one of the vehicles made an extra trip earlier in December to drive 250 miles out along the traverse route to pick up ailing Aron Anderson and his guide Doug Stoup...who were then driven to the last degree start point 68 miles from Pole. Two other Arctic Trucks projects out of Novo--one is pioneering a new route from the ice shelf (ship offloading point) to Novo to the ice shelf for White Desert (the company/camp that was supporting Buzz Aldrin earlier this season) and thence to the Wolfs Fang blue ice runway White Desert is developing (more information on that project from White Desert's April 2016 Environmental Evaluation Report). Their other project is preparing and maintaining the FD83 runway and refueling site at 83ºS. There was nothing new on their website, and their Facebook page, which had more details, is gone.
- Aborted! Lynx Adventure Antarctica
- was a group of 4 Finns led by Patrick "Pata" Degerman who planned a round-trip snowmobile expedition from Novo to Pole (sponsored by Lynx snowmobiles, of course). They planned to begin on 21 December, hoped to celebrate New Years at Pole, and then attempt to climb an unnamed unclimbed peak in the Wohlthat Mountains (71º35'S-12º-20'E) on the way back. The other team members are Mika Listala, Pekka Ojanpää, and Jón Ólafur Magnusson. Here's an archived 9 December 2016 American Snowmobiler article about the trip. They arrived at Novo on 22 December...with 6600 lbs of equipment and gear. But...not all of their sledges got loaded on the aircraft with them...and they dealt with the fact that they wouldn't get all of the gasoline they'd ordered. But...after setting off, on 29 December they posted that their largest sled had cracked. So they opted to turn around, head north, and focus solely on climbing mountains. They bagged their first peak on 4-5 January. Although the venture was at one time mentioned on the Lynx website, nothing seems to be available or archived. However, they did produce a 12-1/2 minute YouTube video which appears on this Mountain Sledder page, and this December 2016 snowmobile.com article describes what their plans were.
- Emma Tamsin Kelty
- the Brit who was the last NGO traveler to reach Pole in 2015-16, planned her own solo round trip venture for 2016-17--unsupported and unassisted skiing from Hercules Inlet to Pole, and a return after a resupply at Pole...she claims that 1400 mile distance has yet to be completed by any solo female. The link above is to her blog (scroll down for the Pole trek info)...she didn't have a trip-specific website, but she also posted public updates on Facebook. It was a go...she arrived at Union Glacier in the morning of 12 November and was flown to her Hercules Inlet start point on 16 November. She got a great start but had issues with her stove and fuel canisters, requiring a resupply from ALE which eliminated her unsupported/unassisted status. As of 29 November she was continuing south after fixing a few other stove issues. By 25 December she was at 88ºS; by 1 January she was halfway through the last degree, having difficulty with the soft snow that has plagued others. She reached Pole about midnight on the 5th/6th. Alas...her next venture was to be a 4000-mile river/kayaking trip from the source of the Amazon River to the Atlantic Ocean...during which she was murdered in the upper Amazon in northern Brazil (19 September 2017 BBC News article). Note that the blog linked above includes her posts from the first part of that expedition.
- Aron Anderson
- is a Swedish adventurer...who ended up in a wheelchair after cancer surgery at age 9. He planned a sit-ski venture to Pole in 2016-17, guided by Doug Stoup, on the 400 mile Leverett Glacier (aka South Pole Traverse) route. Interestingly, Aron's Swedish language website no longer mentions the Pole venture. , although there's a 29 August video in English on the blog link, and He also called the venture the Pole of Hope expedition; hence, Aron's blog posts were here on this archived page (in Swedish) although the individual posts were not archived, so just look at the photos and please ignore the movie references hacked into the page. This 29 August 2016 YouTube promotional video about his then-upcoming venture was originally on his blog page. He and Doug were training on Svalbard in early April. He was raising money for the Barncancerfonden (Childhood Cancer Foundation). The two men arrived at Union Glacier on 28 November. They were flown to their starting point on 2 December per this YouTube video filmed then, and started south the same day. And he arrived at Pole on 23 December per this Telegraph article, but what the article doesn't mention is that he did not travel the entire 400 miles on his own power. Per his blog which is no longer available, on 14 December, after completing 150 miles in 13 days, he decided that his stomach issues would make it too difficult to complete the entire distance. So, he and Doug would wait for a vehicle from the Arctic Trucks team (see above) to arrive...and it transported him to 89ºS, from where he completed the 68-mile "last degree" distance.
The trip raised over $840,000 for childhood cancer.
- Aborted! Michele Pontrandolfo
- from Italy, was giving another try in 2016-17 for a kite ski crossing from Novo to Hercules Inlet via the Pole of Inaccessibility and the South Pole--last year he had to call things off, at first he opted to bypass the POI and was later evacuated due to lack of decent winds. Here's a pdf announcing that aborted 2015-16 expedition and describing the Moncler garments he would be sporting. Alas, his deleted website, and that of his sponsor Moncler which had posted his blog, have no archived information. The best information was from his Facebook page...it indicated he arrived at Novo on 29 October...but he's deleted all of his posts about this venture. He finally got favorable winds and set out on 12 November...the Moncler tracking site confirmed that he was underway, on 1 December he was at 71.25ºS-11.2ºE. But a bit later, the tracking site indicated he'd returned to Novo (and later back to Cape Town. His 16 December 2016 blog post confirmed that the trip had been interrupted due to "bad weather conditions and unexpected technical events." All we are left with is this November 2016 Wallpaper article which depicts the clothing he'd planned to rock on the 2016-17 venture.
- Johanna Davidsson
- from Sweden, was on the first Swedish solo round trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole, in what she called the Solo Sister expedition. Her trip south was to be unsupported and without kite/wind assistance; at Pole she was to pick up additional supplies including kites for the trip north. As of 6 November she was in PA waiting for good weather for the flight south, which she finally boarded on 12 November, and she was dropped off at her Hercules Inlet starting point on the 16th SP time. By 27 November she'd reached 82.2ºS. And then, she reached Pole on 25 December (1820 UTC 24 December)...her time of 38 days 23 hours and 5 minutes is a new women's ski speed record for the 700 mile/1130 km journey from Hercules Inlet. The previous record, 10 hours slower, was held by Hannah McKeand, of the UK, who'd made the trip in December 2006 (and, as ALE camp manager at Pole, met Johanna upon her arrival). Here's an English language news article from The Local Sweden.. She swapped out some of her gear at Pole--including getting a different sled more suited to kite-skiing, and headed north on the 31st. With her kite, she was making good time...by 3 January she was already 175 miles from Pole. She arrived back at Hercules Inlet on 12 January...she'd covered 60+ miles per day on the trip north, with a 120-mile day on the 11th.
- Sébastien Lapierre
- is a Canadian firefighter from Quebec City. He was set to do the Hercules Inlet route to Pole, hoping to be first Canadian to do that alone without outside assistance or kites. Here's a 3 November interview with him by python.com. He was dropped off at his starting point on the morning of 29 November SP time...by 30 December he'd crossed 87ºS...and on the morning of 4 January he was 122 miles from Pole. His occasional blog posts were only available on polesud2016.com which has vanished without archives, and I never got a password for his VIP site after paying $3 :( He reached Pole in the early afternoon of 10 January after a journey of 42 days 5 hours. Here's a 24 January interview with him by Correne Coetzer on Explorersweb.
- SPEAR17 (archive site)
- was the South Pole Expedition Army Reserves 2017--a 6-man team from the British Army Reserves who planned to ski from Hercules Inlet to Pole in 2016-17. This unsupported unassisted trek was led by Lou Rudd, who is guiding Alun George, Chris Brooke, Alex Brazier, Oliver Stoten, and James Facer-Childs. In February they spent time training in Norway; the official "expedition launch" was held on 10 March at the Palace of Westminster in London. Recent events were better documented on their Facebook page, and their blog archives are best viewed on this page...scroll down to the archives by month. In early October they were training in Iceland. The route includes a start at Hercules Inlet...after reaching Pole they will continue over the Titan Dome and down the Shackleton Glacier, finishing at the Ross Ice Shelf. As of 7 November they were in Punta Arenas waiting for good weather for the flight to Union Glacier; they'd arrived by the 13th. They were dropped off at Hercules Inlet on 16 November; by 28 November they'd reached 82.5ºS. By 23 December they were almost at 89ºS, with 3 or 4 more travel days to go. They reached Pole at 0600 26 December SP time...and after a couple of days of rest and medical exams from the ALE physician, they continued on toward Titan Dome and the Shackleton Glacier. All except for Alun George, who'd suffered from significant muscle loss...the doctor recommended he not continue. By 3 January they were a few miles north of Titan Dome (which is at 88.5S) heading for the Ross Ice Shelf. They reached their goal--the Ross Ice Shelf at the bottom of Shackleton Glacier, on 21 January.
- Małgorzata Wojtaczka (archived Polish language site, if necessary click the English flag or use your favorite translator)
- at age 51, is attempting to be only the second Pole to traverse to the South Pole...after Marek Kaminski did it in 1995 and 1997. She's completed the trip from Hercules Inlet in 69 days on a solo unassisted (and no kites) ski venture. She was flown south to Union Glacier on 16 November and to the Hercules Inlet start point on the 19th. As of 31 December she'd crossed at 86ºS, and on 20 January she was at 89.1ºS. She reached Pole at 0100 SP time on Thursday 26 January...per this Radio Poland article archive.
- Risto Hallikainen
- of Finland, is on a solo unsupplied unsupported round trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole...he first said that he would not be leaving depots on his way south, but he later said he'd leave one at 84ºS. There's nothing public out there that I can find other than what was
on pythom.com. Here is their
11 November interview with him. The trip could take most of the short season and the clock is ticking...he was flown to Union Glacier around 12 November and got started from Hercules Inlet on the 16th. On 3 December he was at 82.9ºS...he reached Pole on 29 December SP time and waited for doctor's clearance before heading out on the return on the 31st. On 3 January he was at 89.3ºS, and on 18 January he'd reached 82.6ºS. He completed the return trip at about 1200 25 January SP time...for total trip time of 71 days. There is more info on this Facebook page.
- Aborted! Hank van Weelden
- of Edmonton, Alberta, attempted to do a bicycle trip FROM Pole to Hercules Inlet. Why--because it's easier riding downhill with the wind--or so he said. His bicycle is a Carver custom model with dual fat tires front and rear...something else unique, but hopefully better to weather the soft snowfields and hard sastrugi he'll encounter. He said his bike weighed 48 lbs and his pulk would max out at 156 lbs. He was to get 3 resupplies on the way north. He was scheduled to start his trip around 15 December. He has no website that I can find, but here's a 15 November interview he gave to Explorersweb.com, and here is his Facebook page which has good coverage of his venture. He arrived in Punta Arenas on Wednesday 7 December PA time. He was flown to Pole and started heading north on the 20th SP time...but...his first 3 days he only completed 16 miles...pushing his bike and pulk (260 lbs) most of the time. So on the 24th he was flown north to ALE's Thiel Corner refueling site at 85ºS where he hoped to find better snow conditions. But...after one good day of travel on the 24th, he called it quits the next day after 14 hours travel. He hoped to be back in PA by the 30th, although he'd still have a bit of travel to get to a spot where aircraft could pick him up. He was back home in Edmonton on 2 January. Here's a 5 January article about his trip from the Bangor Daily News.
- Ryan Waters (his "about" page as Mountain Professionals' director of operations and guide)
- was guiding an unsupported Fuchs-Messner Start traverse with three clients--Katrina Follows, who was being sponsored by Mary Kay Cosmetics--she's a UK native currently living in France; Canadian mountaineer and motivational team builder/speaker Scott Kress from Leamington, Ontario (Scott's blog... start here for some videos of the venture, and scroll down to the actual trek blogs), and American Paul Adams, who now lives in Greenwood Village, CO but also identifies as an Iowan. The expedition diaries posted on Mountain Professionals' site are no longer available or archived. They were flown to Union Glacier on 15 November Chilean time and were dropped off at their starting point (82.4ºS-65.2ºW) on 18 November. By 8 December they'd reached 85.5ºS...and on 20 December they were approaching 88ºS. By the 28th they were well within the last degree, and they reached Pole on the 31st. Here's an archived 27 January 2017 article about Paul Adams from the Mason City Globe Gazette in which he claims to be the first native Iowan to reach Pole in this manner.
- Carl Alvey
- the British guide, was taking New Zealander Bob Maxwell to Pole along the Messner route. Bob had planned a 2015-16 snowmobile venture from the Ross Ice Shelf along the traverse route to Pole, which apparently didn't happen. They were also dropped off (presumably with Ryan Waters' team) on 18 November. I did not find much web or social media information detailing their venture...the above link goes to some uncaptioned photos from the trip. ALE reported that they arrived at Pole on 28 December SP time.
- Eric Philips
- guided a trip to Pole along a new route south from the base of the Reedy Glacier (at the far southeast inlet of the Ross Ice Shelf)...about 375 miles. Their daily dispatches are here. He took two clients...
Rob Smith (archived partial blog, earlier pages were not archived), who planned two polar trips in 2016. In April 2016 he completed what was planned to be a last-two-degree Borneo-based venture to the North Pole...he actually started from 89º40'N and completed the trip in about a week. That was part of his training for his planned South Pole venture. Rob, a resident of Harpenden (about 30 miles north of London) is a cancer survivor who intends to raise money for cancer research. Here is a 14 March 2016 Herts Advertiser article about Rob, and this 25 November 2016 Evening Standard article confirms that he was flying to Chile on 28 November. His latest (now vanished) blog posts indicated that his ankle was causing him major problems. Here's his archived "about" page, and an 11 January 2017 St. Albans Review article with a photo of him at the Ceremonial Pole.
and Keith Tuffley (archived page), also from the UK. Not that much else out there about him, except that he did take his fat bike to Barneo this past boreal spring and ride around a bit before completing a ski trip from 88.4ºN to the North Pole with three other clients, guided by Audun Tholfsen.
They arrived at UG on the morning of 6 December SP time and were flown to their start point (85ºS-144ºW) 48 hours later. They were well underway...as of 24 December they were well onto the plateau and passed 87ºS, and by 3 January they were approaching the last degree. They reached Pole on 10 January.
- Mike Horn (his 2021 website)
- (blog posts and position reports for his "pole-2-pole" venture were at the archive site the pole-to-pole link; click on "follow his journey") to get some information.
This is the first page of his daily blog which is still online--click the link to read the subsequent diary pages one by one.
He's South African born but currently lives in Switzerland. On about 22 November, he set sail on his 115-foot ice-strengthened yacht Pangaea from Cape Town, heading for Antarctica--as of 3 December he was at 64.1ºS and had been traveling through ice. He landed near Novo, from where he was crossing the continent on skis with hopefully some help from his kites. He visited Pole and continued on to Dumont d’Urville, from where he was to hopefully be picked up by Pangaea and continue to New Zealand. This May 2016 Monaco Reporter news article includes some earlier information on the trip, a small map of the Antarctic crossing route, and photos of his yacht Pangaea. In 2008-09 Mike made a similar attempt to land his yacht in Marguerite Bay south of Stonington Island (at 67º43'S-68ºW) and cross the continent, but that was thwarted by strong winds ashore (and his lack of a contingency rescue policy) so he opted to sail to Punta Arenas, from where he was flown by ALE to the continent and completed a traverse from Hercules Inlet to Pole on 19 January...he started back north but had to be picked up by air as the Patriot Hills season was ending. Here is an archived Mike Horn 8 November SA Breaking News article about his venture. There may also be more info about Mike's ventures on his Facebook page (although that will take a lot of scrolling), where he reported having a successful day on 30 December...completing 127 miles, despite suffering a broken ski (yes he has spares). He hoped to reach Pole by 15 January so as to have time to complete the planned trip to DdU. By 3 January he was at 85.5ºS and making good time, although he had to improvise after losing his stove and cooking pot. He reached Pole on the morning of 10 January...and had dinner at the ALE camp with Hannah McKeand (thus losing his unsupported status for the full traverse) but opted to leave the next day. He was getting closer to DdU...on 4 February he was at 69.5ºS-137.5ºE, with about 205 miles yet to go--perhaps doable in 4-5 days of good weather. But his yacht Pangaea had to turn back to Tasmania due to electrical issues. He left Dumont d'Urville on the weekend of 18 February...aboard the French supply vessel M/V L'Astrolabe (!). On the 24th, he was reunited with Pangaea in Hobart.
- POSTPONED, CANCELLED, OR...just didn't happen...
- Postponed... The Longest Journey (archive)
- was a planned 2016-17 solo unsupported venture by Australian adventurer Geoff Wilson. He's no stranger to long journeys...in 2013-14 he completed the "Pink Polar Expedition" from Novo to Hercules Inlet, which he'd originally planned to be a more complete crossing of the continent, but for which he'd been unable to obtain the proper approvals. This time he'd planned to again leave from Novo and cross the continent via the Pole of Inaccessibility, Pole, and Vostok, completing the trip at Casey. If successful, it would have been the longest solo polar journey in history. This is supposed to begin in October--he's been training in various parts of the world. He announced he was postponing his trip, and although he is planning a Greenland crossing in 2017, there's no word on the Antarctic project.
- Zero South
- was originally a planned 2015-16 trip to drive two repurposed Hummer H1 vehicles converted to electric/biofuel technology and using Mattrack-type treads. The vehicles were to have a 3.2-liter turbodiesel straight 6 engine powered by aviation-grade biofuel. That engine powers a generator...the drive wheels are powered by by electric motors. Apparently the planning has been underway since 2009 with several postponements (it had most recently been announced for 2014-15). The vehicles were to be flown to Union Glacier by ALE, and the team would be sheltered in...a repurposed and modified 1962 Airstream trailer (!) Here is a 1 May 2015 digitaltrends.com article about the project, as well as an archived 2015 Autodesk article about some of the planning and design efforts. Early in 2016 they announced plans to do the trip in 2016-17, and at the end of February they did a round trip test drive of the vehicles--with their modified 1962 Airstream trailer--from Kuparuk to Barrow, AK, a total of 400 miles (as well as the rubber-tired road trips from Anchorage to Deadhorse and return). That trial is not mentioned on their website, but it is previewed in this Anchorage Daily News story and followed on their Facebook page. Nothing much new was posted on the website since the end of the Alaska venture...although there have been some recent posts/videos of their electric Hummers on their Facebook page. So it could yet happen someday.
- Cancelled... Fat bike to Pole (!)
- Well, this was something that you could have shelled out for starting in 2015-16, but I guess they didn't get enough €. TDA Global Cycling was offering a "last degree" fat tire ride to Pole for the 2016-17 season (111 km or roughly 60 nautical miles/one latitude degree). For only $70,000 ex PA (and not including the mandatory training at Lake Winnipeg, Manitoba) they also promised you could keep the fat tire bike. Not.
- Kate Leeming
- an experienced long-distance Australian cyclist (and a tennis pro, but with no previous polar ventures) had originally announced the "Breaking the Cycle South Pole" trip for 2013-14, but that has now postponed several times...in March 2016 she said she was planning it for 2017-18. For the postponed 2015-16 venture she was to be supported on snowmobiles by expedition leader Eric Philips and filmmakers Claudio Von Planta and Phil Coates. She'll be riding the first-of-its-kind 2-wheel drive bike, built by Steve Christini in Philadelphia...it uses a series of gears and shafts to power the front wheel. In 2013 she trained with it in Svalbard. At present it appears that her route will start at the base of the Leverett Glacier, following the South Pole Traverse route to Pole, and then continuing to Hercules Inlet. Her trip will support AIDS treatment programs and education. This photo (from her web site shows her bicycle; the silver tube visible on the right side of the front fork contains one of the drive shafts which transfers power to the front wheel. She was training in northeast Greenland in April-May 2016, but not much posted since then... (?)
- From Fire to Ice (archive)
- was to be all about Rob Small, who barely survived a 2010 house fire in Zanzibar...he required 200 days in the hospital and more than 30 operations. To raise awareness and funds for burns, he'd planned a December 2016 trek from Shackleton's January 1909 furthest south (88º23' S) to Pole, a distance of 112 miles. During the trip, his medical team would be monitoring his physiology--one thing that was to be studied is the fact that burn-scarred skin is more prone to causing hypothermia than unburned skin. He was to be accompanied by physician Greg Williams (one of the surgeons who treated Rob), and photographer/videographer Seb Coulthard. Rob is from the UK, having grown up in Aberdeen. Dr. Greg Williams was born and raised in Kingston, Jamaica; here is an interview about the venture he did in March 2016 for iamajamacan.net. The trip was originally planned for 2015-16 but postponed after Seb Coulthard broke his wrist. Looks like it was off again...in September 2016 Rob was being vague about the schedule, and there was nothing new since then. Interestingly, his currently active website discusses a planned August-September 2021 bicycle circumnavigation of Iceland, which can be sort of followed from the Instagram (?) links at the bottom of the page.
- The British Antarctic Microlight Expedition
- has been planning the first ever microlight aircraft expedition for, well, since 2012, per this September 2012 news article from the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. They've continued to have a media presence ever since. They most recently planned this venture for 2020-21 which of course didn't happen due to the pandemic. At one time their website still mentioned this as a "2016 Antarctica" venture, but there was no specific timetable. Some of their plans involved flying 3-5 aircraft to Pole along the South Pole Traverse route (supported by ground vehicles). They then were to continue to Union Glacier and perhaps overfly Mt. Vinson. This group was to be supported by a Ministry of Defence program which assists the recovery of injured and amputee service people. The venture plans kept changing; earlier plans involved the team landing on the western Antarctic Peninsula, assisted by the Royal Navy's ice-strengthened HMS Protector, which would land the venture on the western Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea. They would then fly to Union Glacier. There was also some sort of overflight of Mt. Vinson planned. Afterward they would fly back to Union Glacier from where they and the ultralights will be flown back to Chile. This venture was once announced for December 2014, to commemorate the centenary of Shackleton's trans-Antarctic attempt. Here's a newer 4 August 2014 Gizmag article. The aircraft of choice continued to be the the P&M PulsR Microlight.
- Sebastian Kawa,
- a Polish glider pilot - which is perhaps an understatement, as he holds several championship titles - and in 2014 he did some significant soaring over the Himalayas - was planning a glider soaring venture above the Transantarctic Mountains. Not a lot of detail here...although he has support from the Polish program, he was still trying to arrange support for him and his transport aircraft from the Argentine base Marambio, east of James Ross Island on the east side of the Antarctic Peninsula. I could find no mention now of Antarctica on Sebastian's Polish language website. He was originally planning to do the trip in 2015-16, but he was unable to conclude negotiations with the Argentine program in time, so he postponed plans to 2016-17...which didn't happen...it was still in the back of his mind in 2018.
- Eirliani Abdul Rahman
- a Singapore resident, hoped to be the first woman from that nation to reach Pole by foot, in a venture she planned for 2016-17. She was to be accompanied by her Lithuanian rock-climbing partner Ruta Sidlauskaite, and guided by the experienced Sarah McNair-Landry. Eirliani planned to raise money for/awareness of child sexual abuse survivors. No website or blog for this venture, only this archived 3 May 2016 Channel NewsAsia post. And no announced route...although the planned 1100 km/685 mile distance matches the length of the Hercules Inlet route. She described her plans in this 26 April 2016 Outdoor Journal blog post. But there was no further news after the initial announcement.
- NGO Pole ventures that happened (or didn't) in 2015-16:
Above, an undated photo of Henry Worsley which appears in
published 8 February 2016 by Explorersweb,
originally published in The Economist
- Henry Worsley (archived site)
- a British descendant of Shackleton's expedition member Frank Worsley, began a solo unsupported/unassisted expedition from Gould Bay (near Shackleton's planned starting point) to Pole and thence to the foot of the Shackleton Glacier on the Ross Ice Shelf (a brief daily summary of his travels is on this "explore" page of his website). Titled Shackleton Solo, this was to be Henry's third polar trek--in 2008-09 he led an expedition commemorating Shackleton's 1907-09 "Nimrod" expedition to a point 97 miles north of the Pole (Henry then continued to Pole)--and in 2011-12 he led a team of soldiers to Pole via the Axel Heiberg Glacier. As of 8 November he was still cooling his heels in Punta Arenas. Two days later he flew to Union Glacier, and on 14 November he was flown to his Berkner Island starting point...he skied 4 miles that day before setting his first camp. He reached Pole on 3 January (see this Explorersweb article) but stayed around for only about a day before heading on toward his planned first solo descent of Shackleton Glacier. He almost made it. 30 miles from his destination, he was stopped by a whiteout...and then took ill. He was evacuated on the 71st day of his journey to Punta Arenas, Chile on 22 January, where he died of bacterial peritonitis on 25 January. Further information: from the New Zealand Herald which includes his last audio/video message that was once on his website; this archived report from his sponsor's website including a note from his wife Johanna; and this New York Times article.
- Shackleton 2015 TransAntarctic (archive)
- is yet another venture originally to complete the Antarctic crossing--the 1915 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition--that Shackleton planned 100 years ago. More than one such previously planned expedition never happened. The original plans were to start on Berkner Island (a bit further south than Shackleton thought he'd get to), proceed to Pole, and then continue to Ross Island, but now the plans are to start on the Weddell Sea coast, ski to Pole, and return to Hercules Inlet using kites. The ice team now includes only Stew Edge from the UK and Canadian Devon McDiarmid. Newall Hunter (who did a solo Pole trip in 2014-15) (archive) dropped out to devote his time to completing the Seven Summits. They arrived at UG on 26 November, but had to wait around until 9 December for good weather at the Messner starting point. For the Messner Start/Pole segment of their trip, they are being accompanied by Mostafa and Sharom...on 5 January they had about 170 miles to go before reaching Pole. The four of them reached Pole on 16 January. From there, Stew and Devon headed north on their kiting trip to Union Glacier on the 18th. They arrived on 26 January. Their blog is under the "News" menu item on their website.
- The Endurance 100 Expedition (archived site)
- is another of the few Shackleton commemorative ventures proposed over the past few years which actually happened. A group of 12, led by David Hempleman-Adams and including a couple of relatives of Ernest Shackleton's expedition member Sir James Wordie, planned to traverse the final 100 miles to Pole from the spot where Ernest Shackleton turned around on his Nimrod expedition on 9 January 1909 (Wikipedia article about the Nimrod Expedition). That Wikipedia article states what is in Shackleton's expedition documenatation that he turned around "97.5 miles" from Pole...those were "geographical miles"...equal to one minute of arc along the equator or 6,087 feet/1,855.3 m (a nautical mile is one minute of latitude arc, or 6,076 feet/1,852 meters...whatever). The team left the UK on 25 November, were dropped off at their starting point on 11 December, and reached Pole on 18 December. This 18 December 2015 The Scotsman article documents the completion of their trek.
- Michele Pontrandolfo (website archive)
- an Italian explorer who has done many Arctic trips, was about to embark on a traverse from Novo to the Pole of Inaccessibility, Pole, and Hercules Inlet, a total distance of more than 2000 miles. As of 15 November he was still in Cape Town awaiting good weather for the flight to Novo. His website was in Italian and didn't mention this venture...but this archived page in English from sponsor Moncler had detailed info about his plans, which involved a kite...as well as his expedition diary. He flew to Novo around 18 November and set out from there. In mid-December he reported that due to poor kiting winds he was no longer heading to POI, but rather heading directly to 90º South. And on 13 January 2016 he opted to be evacuated due to his slow progress.
- Mostafa Salemeh
- a 44-year-old Muslim from Jordan living in Scotland, announced plans to trek to Pole in 2015-16 along the full Messner route. This June 2015 Daily Record article (from Scotland) describes his intent to raise money for the Islamic Relief charity. He's completed the Seven Summits and a North Pole venture. In early November he was in Norway for final training and gearing up, as of 8 November he was back in Jordan preparing to head south. After long waits in PA and UG, he finally got started from the Messner Start on 9 December. His website at one time included a blog of the journey, although this archive page of his arrival at Pole on 17 January 2016 which includes several of his hero shots is the only one I can find. Elsewhere on his website...the bottom of this page and the top of this page briefly describe his arrival at Pole, while this page shows a number of his unsorted and uncaptioned images, including from his Pole journey.
- Shahrom Abdullah
- a Malaysian triathlete, announced his "South Pole All The Way Expedition 2015"--using the Messner start, beginning on 17 November 2015. He doesn't have a website, but he may be getting some financial help from the Malaysian government. Here's an archived press release from the Prime Minister's office. Per this 27 October 2015 New Straits Times article As of 27 October he was planning to leave Malaysia on 12 November for Amsterdam before heading south. You can follow his trek on Mostafa's and the Shackleton 2015's blogs above. This article describes his arrival at Pole on 16 January.
- Luke Robertson
- a 30-year old Scottish financial worker who uses a pacemaker (and also had severe brain surgery) attempted to be the first Scotsman to travel solo unassisted and unsupported, starting from Hercules Inlet. Training has included time in Greenland and Norway; backers included patron Ran Fiennes. Nothing new on his blog, but his website is posting position reports and links to Twitter and Facebook posts. This 4 November 2015 The Courier (Dundee, England) article gives an update on his planned trip south later in the month. He was scheduled to head to Chile on 9 November. As of 22 November he was still waiting in Punta Arenas...he finally got to the ice in early December, and started his trip from Hercules Inlet on the 6th. He reached Pole on 14 January. Here is a December 2019 blog post about his Pole journey on his current website.
- Doug Tumminello (archived site)
- was a 48-year-old attorney currently living in the Denver area, who set his sights on a solo venture from Hercules Inlet, pulling a pulk with, at the start, 225 pounds of gear and supplies. He's been around, having summited Everest, Denali, and Aconcagua, not to mention a rowboat trip from Western Australia to Mauritius. He was scheduled to fly to Union Glacier around 29 November, but didn't make it there until 5 December. He was flown to his Hercules Inlet starting point on 6 December, from where he skied for an hour before making camp. His progress was slowed by the difficult weather and a nagging foot injury...he had to have a replacement teapot dropped to him to replace a leaky one, and around 10 January he decided to abort his Pole trip after reaching the (unstaffed) Thiels Corner airstrip used by ALE at 85.1ºS-80.8ºW.
- Carl Alvey
- after a year's break, was again guiding an ANI team to Pole from Hercules Inlet. This year his team members are two people--Emma Tamsin Kelty from London (link to Emma Kelty's blog), and Khai Nguyen, a Vietnamese Canadian (his archived blog). Khai has previously done both North Pole and South Pole last degree trips. As of 21 November the group was still in PA waiting for their flight south. They finally reached Union Glacier on the 27th, and, after several boomerangs, started the trek from Hercules Inlet on 6 December. But on 12 December, Khai decided things were getting too strenuous and he decided to pull out (his archived 12 December blog post). The remaining pair are getting resupplies, and on 19 December they were airdropped medical supplies for Emma's thigh.And interestingly, on about 22 January, a plane landed to change out the guide. Carl was replaced by a Chilean, Pachi Iberra. The two of them made it to Pole on a chilly 2 February...one of the latest trekker arrivals ever. Emma was already planning and preparing for another South Pole trek, this one solo, in October 2016; sadly, Emma was killed in Brazil during a kayaking trip down the Amazon in September 2017 (19 September 2017 BBC News article).
- Charles Werb (archived site)
- had previously announced a "snowsail" to Pole at some point, originally proposed for 2014-15, but suddenly in February 2016 (!) his plans had jelled. Those plans...to take his snowsailer south, perhaps all the way to Pole. The Australian magazine publisher was doing this to raise money for leukemia research...he arrived at Novo on 11 February, where an Arctic Trucks team was to take him south 250 miles or so to the plateau. He was hoping to get started on 15 or 16 February, but his Snowsailer was damaged and had to be towed back to Novo. Turns out...he did not make it anywhere near Pole...actually he never made it very far from Novo due to damage, but he did traverse over 600 miles at a maximum speed of nearly 40 mph. He left the snow sailer at Novo, perhaps in view of another future attempt. His story on the website is gone, but here's the 18 February 2016 Explorersweb article about his trials.
- Announced but cancelled, postponed, or otherwise never happened...
- The Exploration Company
- announced a unique offering for folks who don't want to ski or walk to Pole. This season they offered a series of driving trips to Pole, using those Arctic Trucks vehicles. Earlier this year they announced three trips...the first two being November one-way trips between Union Glacier and the base of the Leverett Glacier (via Pole and the South Pole Traverse route). The third one was a return trip covering the same route, with plans to be at Pole for Christmas Day. The price: well, if you have to ask, you probably couldn't afford it. Prices started at £110,000 ex PA. It doesn't look like anyone took them up then, but their website is still up, so...
- Shackleton’s Unfinished Business (archived site)
- was another Shackleton-inspired venture which planned to more closely follow Sir Ernest's planned Antarctic crossing route. It was being organized by Charlie Paton (28 July Aberdeen Press and Journal article, with several companions, including Tarke L'Herpiniere, one of two participants in the successful 2013-14 Scott Expedition (archived site), Tom Alden, Mike O'Shea, Hannah Forrestal, and Michael Byrne. The trip was to start in October from Vahsel Bay on the Weddell Sea, and cross the Filchner Ice Shelf, the Beardmore Glacier, and the Ross Ice Shelf en route to Ross Island. There were be 3 resupplies including one at Pole. As of 9 November 2015 there was no information out there about the start of the expedition, which obviously is not happening.
- John Dennis (archived site)
- originally from New Zealand but now living in Bishop's Waltham (in south England) was planning a solo unsupported ski traverse to Pole--an attempt to be the first Kiwi to do so. His Expedition dare2express was to be raising funds for charities that support mental health issues. Here's a 2 May 2014 article from The News (Portsmouth), which describes the venture for the 2014-15 season. But it was postponed to 2015-16 per this 17 November 2014 The News article which is no longer available. But in October he announced that it wouldn't happen in 2015-16. Here is a 4 May 2015 Portsmouth News article about the venture. Here is another 1 May 2015 Hampshire Chronicle article about his training in Norway.
- The 2015-16 Windsled Antarctica Circumnavigation (archived site)
- was supposed to be the next big kite sled venture planned in part by Ramón Larramendi. It has been announced for several seasons including 1015-16, in its present incarnation it was to feature a train of 3 sleds (more than 3-1/2 tons) pulled by a collection of 20 kites sized up to 1000 square feet (selected based on wind conditions). They would start and finish near Novo, their 4300-mile route includes Plateau Station, the Pole of Inaccessibility, Vostok, Concordia, Kunlun, and Dome Fuji--somewhat reminiscent of Larramendi's 2005-06 Tierras Polares expedition. It did not happen...instead, the team did a 2016 crossing of Greenland. Larramendi and his windsled did return to Antarctica for a major expedition in 2018-19.
- What was up for 2014-15:
- Ian Evans
- a 58-year-old originally from Shrewsbury in England but now living in Canada, completed a 2014-15 Pole trip, with accountant Andy Styles (age 50, from Hampshire, England) and Scotsman/drilling engineer Bradley Cross (age 30), guided by American Keith Heger. Ian climbed 5 of the "seven summits" before a 300-foot fall from Mt. Elbrus ended his mountaineering. They used the Messner Start from the Ronne/Filchner Ice Shelf--525 miles from Pole in a straight line (but the actual route is longer). They were supported by Polar Explorers (archived team info). They reached Pole on 7 January 2015 and were working on a planned documentary film...and Ian declared Polemart to be a "bust." Two blogs...this archived one from polarexplorers, and this one from Ian on mytripjournal.
- Runners to the Pole (French language site)
- Børge Ousland had a busy season in the Arctic for much of 2014. He assisted planning for this 3-person resupplied full trip from Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf via Pole to Hercules Inlet: Norwegian guide Are Johansen and the French couple Stéphanie and Jérémie Gicquel on a crossing from the Messner start to Hercules Inlet via Pole. Here is a great 4 November 2014 Explorersweb interview with Are Johansen. They flew to the starting point and began on 15 November. The journey blog is on this archived Borge Ousland site. Arrival at Pole came on Christmas eve morning SP time...after a rest day and tour of the station they headed north on the 26th and reached Hercules Inlet on 27 January. The link above is to her original French language site...she later moved things to Running to the Pole (also in French).
- Tractors to the South Pole (archived site)
- was a long-time dream of Netherlands "Tractor Girl" Manon Ossevoort. But in early 2013 she obtained sponsorship from Massey Ferguson, the manufacturer of the tractors that Ed Hillary drove to Pole in 1957-58. The original plan was for three tractors to travel to Pole in 2014-15, she had support from experienced Canadian guides Sarah McNair-Landry and Matty McNair. Here is an AGCO blog post from January 2014. In June it was reported that Arctic Trucks was modifying a 5600-series tractor in Reykjavik for the journey (stuff.co.nz article) The expedition link above is to Manon's blog...this archived Antarctica2 site has more details about the expedition. The tractor was shipped south early in November, the expedition team was on the ice by 20 November, and Arctic Trucks was getting their support vehicles ready (from their blog). They started south at 0755 SP time on 23 November...and were the first NGO land venture to reach Pole, at 1630 SP time on 9 December. Here is their press release as well as this Arctic Trucks post about their successful arrival at Pole. Oh yeah, this was just the halfway point of a round trip. They returned to Novo on 21 December.
- Newall Hunter (archived site)
- who grew up in the mountains of Scotland, did a solo trip to Pole on the Messner Start route, followed by a climb of Mt. Vinson (alas, there is little documentation left on his website). He got to PA on 16 November...only to suffer that frequent misfortune of polar travels...his baggage didn't make it. He flew to UG on Saturday the 22nd, and was flown to the starting point on the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf on 25 November. He was posting publicly on Facebook before he flew to UG (you don't have to join FB to see the posts and photos). Newall was also an organizer of the Ice Race (archived site), which planned an April 2016 300 nm team race from Resolute Bay to the 1996 Magnetic North Pole position and on to the site of the abandoned Isachsen weather station. Newall reached Pole on 4 January.
- Adventure Consultants
- (based in Wanaka, NZ) led several travelers south from Hercules Inlet to Pole--they are Tim Garrett from Australia, Hugh Dougall from Canada, and Brit William Morrison. They were guided by Icelander Einar Finnsson. They flew to UG on 23 November; on 24 November they were flown to Hercules Inlet...they started walking early on the 25th SP time. On 12 January they were south of 88º--they reached Pole on the morning of the 20th. Their venture was apparently the only team to do the Hercules Inlet route.
- Frédéric Dion
- from Canada, did a successful kite-ski trip from Novo to the Pole of Inaccessibility; he flew to Novo on the 11th and set off almost immediately--the first Antarctic skier to get underway this season. His blog is in French only. By 20 November he'd traveled over 300 miles...and suffered a fire in his tent and a badly broken sled. He reached Pole on Christmas Day and finished his trip at Hercules Inlet on 5 January.
- Faysal Hanneche (archived site)
- This Frenchman had to abort a planned crossing from Novo to Hercules Inlet in 2013-14 because of a knee injury. He tried it again in 2014-15..again attempting this solo kite/ski expedition. He arrived at Novo on 14 November and had set out by the 16th. His daily blog entries are in French and English. He reached Pole on 14 January.
- The 2014-15 Polarexplorers (archived site)
- guided ski trip to Pole, along the Messner Route, included 58-year-old Canadian motivational speaker Ian Evans (who originally was from Shrewsbury, England) (Jon Ralston, who was to go with him, had apparently bagged), Scot drilling engineer Bradley Cross (age 30), and accountant Andy Styles (age 50) from Hampshire, England. They were led by experienced American guide Keith Heger. As of 21 November they were in PA. They flew to the ice 2 days later, were flown to their starting point on the 25th SP time...and did about an hour of traveling before camping. They reached Pole on 7 January SP time.
- The PoleCat South Pole Expedition 2014-15 (archived site)
- was the Adventure Network International (ANI) supported venture; they traveled to Pole from the Messner Start, guided by Robert Smith; the group includes Vincent Piguot from Switzerland, and from the UK: Arabella Slinger (who'd planned to do the trip last year but dropped out due to injury), Julian Thomas, and...
- Paula Reid
- a leadership trainer from Alverstoke, a small community on the south coast of England. Here's an archived 1 September 2014 article about her plans in the Portsmouth News. She was supporting a charity with an interesting name--Gutsy Gastros--for children with life-threatening bowel conditions. The group flew to the ice on 22 November and were taken to the start point and began the trip on the 26th. Vincent decided to call it quits just after Christmas, he was flown out a couple of days after Christmas. The rest of the group reached Pole on 10 January.
- What didn't happen:
- Cancelled...Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen
- are familiar names in the polar regions...in part for their 2000-01 Antarctic crossing (archived page). The two explorer/educators had been planning an 800-mile Pole trip as the first part of their multi-year Access Water project leading women from many continents to various destinations, originally planned for 2012-13 (archived page). This was postponed twice and ultimately canceled for good and replaced by plans for a 1,569-mile 60-day expedition down the Ganges River (archived page), focusing on the global crisis involving access to fresh water. Antarctica was still on their list of future journeys.
- Didn't happen... Fabien Docet
- had announced the Antarctic Way Expedition 2014--a solo unassisted crossing of the continent in 2014-15...starting from Neumeyer Station (near Sanae), and traveling via Kohnen (a German summer-only station on the Plateau at 75ºS-0ºE, 475 miles south of Neumeyer), Pole, Vostok, and Concordia, finishing at Dumont D'Urville--a total distance of 3100 miles, planned to take 150 days (!) He called it the longest ever Antarctic expedition on foot. That page on his site later wouldn't open, I've seen no recent news, and his 100% Flash-driven site disappeared with no archive...so I'd say the venture was called off.
- Postponed (?)...The British Antarctic Microlight Expedition (archived page describing the 2014-15 plans)
- was to be a new twist, planning the first ever microlight aircraft expedition. As of mid-November 2014 they continued to have a media and web presence promoting the venture. Later, their website described this as a "2016 Antarctica" venture, but there wasn't much more info. This group is supported by a Ministry of Defence program which assists the recovery of injured and amputee service people. The venture plans kept changing...one of their plans was to fly 3 to 5 aircraft from McMurdo to Pole over 14 days via the "Great Ice Road to the South Pole" (quoting from their website, but we of course know that to be the South Pole Traverse route). Other plans were for the team to be landed on the western Antarctic Peninsula by the Royal Navy's ice-strengthened HMS Protector, which was to land the venture on the western Ronne Ice Shelf in the Weddell Sea. They would then fly to Union Glacier. There was also some sort of overflight of Mt. Vinson planned. Afterward they would fly back to Union Glacier from where they and the ultralights will be flown back to Chile. The 2014-15 venture was announced to commemorate the centenary of Shackleton's trans-Antarctic attempt. Here's a September 2012 news article from the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard and a newer 4 August 2014 Gizmag (now New Atlas) article. [As an aside, note that the HMS Protector is under long-term charter from Rieber Shipping of Norway...the same company from which the USAP support vessel Polar Duke was chartered in the 1980s-90s. And yes, before the Navy charter, the Protector was originally named the MV Polarbjørn (Polar Bear) when it was built in 2001.] The aircraft of choice was the the P&M PulsR Microlight. And interestingly, the current Flying for Freedom website touts a then-planned 2020-21 venture which of course didn't happen due to the pandemic.
- Cancelled...The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Centenary Expedition 2014
- was planned to mark another upcoming centennial in 2014-15--that of Shackleton's famous attempt to cross the continent in a 1914-1917 venture. But after much much publicity and planning, they announced the cancellation on 13 August 2014 (Dundee [UK] Courier article). This group would have had a bit easier time of it, what with air support, GPS, and modern equipment. It was originally to be a six-person group led by Joanne Davies who was born in Kenya and who has rowed across the Atlantic and skied across Greenland. Other team members were sought from the Commonwealth countries, and selected in May 2012 (10 May 2012 press release copy/MS Word document). They included physician Alexander Kumar (website; he wintered in 2012 at Concordia), Ian Prickett, Stewart Stirling, Zac Poulton, and Ro Sharma. They'd planned to retrace Shackleton's planned route from Vahsel Bay to Shackleton's hut at Cape Royds, Ross Island, via Pole.
- Postponed...The Outer Edge Polar Challenge (archived site)
- consisted of Australians Charles Werb, Adrian McCallum, and Jonathan Moody. They planned to sail from the polar plateau south of Novo to Pole and back, perhaps returning via the Pole of Inaccessibility. They were to use a unique "snow sailer" which looks somewhat similar to an ice boat with skis (not much more detail about the vehicle). They were scheduled to start in December 2014, but they were talking about 2015-16, which actually got started but failed. Here's the March 2016 YouTube video that was on their old site.
- Didn't happen... Pole2PoleandBack (archived site)
- originally a 2011-2012 venture, was to be an ambitious round-the-world expedition being organized by Ewan van Breda of South Africa. The event was originally planned for January-December of 2014, to raise funds for cancer patients, and as of yet most of the information on the site is about cancer. They postponed their original plans to start at Pole (which were described in this news24.com article) and later planned to start from northern Greenland in January 2014, head to Pole for the 2014-15 summer, and then return north to Greenland...if they got funding. That venture didn't happen, and that website had no specific information about an Antarctic journey.
- Didn't happen...Richard Parks
- who completed a fast 29-day trip to Pole in 2013-14, announced afterward that he would attempt "the longest solo, unsupported and unassisted Antarctic journey in history" with a "unique twist." That announcement was at the bottom of this archived page). More recently he was concentrating on promoting his book Beyond the Horizon as well as a UK television series. He did complete a successful solo journey from Hercules Inlet to Pole in 2019-20.
The 2013-14 expeditions:
- ...the winter one that got underway at the March 2013 equinox:
- Called off! The Coldest Journey
- was the name of what was supposed to be the next great expedition of Sir Ranulph Fiennes, that dauntless 68 year old Brit who has done a bunch of stuff, including the 1979-82 Transglobe Expedition that visited both poles on the first circumpolar venture. This time they planned to cross Antarctica during the winter. Ulp. Yes. They officially started at the coast near Novo at the equinox (21 March 2013), although the travels and unloading started much earlier...as did the difficulties, as Ran Fiennes had been medevaced after suffering a hand frostbite injury on about 22 February while training and during setup of a fuel depot (25 February 2013 BBC News article). The injury may have been due to a sudden onset of Type 2 diabetes (3 March BBC News article).The team did start the venture without him, but they got mired in a massive crevasse field after traveling only 185 miles/300 km. They'd hoped to clear the potential crevasse field before it got dark...but no. On 18 June they officially announced they'd called off the crossing...they'd stay put for the rest of the winter and do outreach and science, and return to Crown Bay in the 2013-14 summer. They flew from Princess Elisabeth to Novo and then north to Cape Town on 23 November.
Here's my updated detailed discussion about the expedition as it went down.
The venture seemed to be well equipped--two Caterpillar D6N's pulling living and science modules ("cabooses"), supply sledges, and fuel "scoots"--plastic sleds similar to those used by the USAP South Pole Traverse. Things started out well...the expedition support ship, the South African cadet training vessel SA Agulhas, left Cape Town for England on 2 November. For 30 years it was the supply vessel for South Africa's SANAE base. It picked up the equipment and supplies at London's Canary Wharf and headed back to Cape Town on 6 December UK time. The team was still in London for more training and testing; they joined the vessel in Cape Town. They all sailed south from Cape Town on 7 January for Crown Bay (70ºS-23ºE). They reached that unloading point on 20 January, and SA Agulhas left the team there. The team progressed with establishing a depot on the plateau, but on 25 February they announced that Ran had developed a severe case of frostbite after taking his glove off for too long--on his left hand, which had previous frostbite injury and amputation. Ran was evacuated to Princess Elisabeth Station and flown back to Novo and Cape Town...as the remaining 5 expeditioners continued their efforts. After the depot laying, they returned to Crown Bay for the official start...and as of 2 May they were still experiencing slow traveling conditions in heavily crevassed areas.
The plan...to reach Pole shortly before midwinters day, and finish at McMurdo around the September equinox. Or so went the plan. Here's the September 2012 BBC article. The rest of the six-man ice team consisted of mechanic/driver Richmond Dykes; Dr Rob Lambert (the physician, a late replacement for Mike Stroud--yes, that Mike Stroud (Wikipedia article); Ian Prickett, an engineer with extensive BAS experience; Brian Newham, the traverse manager, an experienced mountaineer also with BAS experience; and mechanic/driver Spencer Smirl, who is the only Canadian on the venture. Spencer was to drive one of the two Caterpillar D6N tractors; here's an archived 17 October 2013 Edmonton Journal article about him.
- In the 2013-14 austral summer, in what must have been the year of the fat-tire bicycle, we had:
- Maria Leijerstam (archived site)
- a British woman cyclist who completed a more unique trip, which she was calling the White Ice Cycle Expedition. Around 10 December she flew to Novo and on to Pole, where she was met by an Arctic Trucks team (archived page) who transported her to the base of the Leverett Glacier. From there she started her ride to Pole on a recumbent tricycle on 17 December, with the truck providing close support as well as a cameraman. Her blog also describes some of her previous exploits. She reached Pole on 27 December. At right is a photo of her at Pole with her Arctic Trucks escort (photo by IceCuber friend Mike DuVernois).
- American Daniel Burton/South Pole Epic
- was underway on a cycling round trip from Hercules Inlet. He says the purpose of his trip is to encourage a culture of active lifestyles. Originally he was to be accompanied by Todd Tueller on another bike as well as snowmobile support by an ANI guide, but now he went solo and had 3 resupplies. He'll now be riding a Borealis Yampa fat bike. He planned to fly to Antarctica on 23 November, but weather delays pushed that to the 29th. He was flown to Hercules Inlet and got started south on 3 December. As of 17 January he was 46 miles from Pole...after running out of food he arrived on the 21st.
- Juan Menendez Granados
- a 30 year old Spaniard, announced his cycling venture at a Madrid press conference (Spanish language page) on 1 May 2013. His 35-day trip from Hercules Inlet was to be unassisted and unsupported--he'll pull his gear on a 200-lb sled towed behind his Surly Moonlander. Previously he's done a solo cycle across Lake Baikal in 2010 and attempted a Greenland crossing from Kanger in 2012. In July 2013 he started a blog (available on his web site), and both the site and the blog are available in both Spanish and English. On 7 November he announced that he was to start his trip in 10 days but was still looking for a sponsor with perhaps €12,500. After weather delays, he was on the flight to Union Glacier on 29 November. He was scheduled to start from Hercules Inlet on the fourth. As of 16 January he was 30 miles from Pole and running seriously short of food. Also, he was reportedly traveling 15+ hours per day and sleeping only 4-5 hours. He reached Pole on the 18th. The link is his blog in Spanish and English.
- Other more conventional (?) ventures included:
- The Scott Expedition
- formerly named Scott2012, was an expedition which finally happened in 2013-14, renamed the Scott Expedition. It was led by Ben Saunders, with Frenchman Tarka L’Herpiniere, who replaced Alastair Humphreys. And Martin Hartley was no longer involved. This trip was first planned for 2011-12, and was cancelled last year as well. The goal was to be the first team to complete Scott's round trip route to Pole from Scott's hut at Cape Evans on Ross Island. They claim the 1800-mile trek would be the longest unsupported polar journey in history. In late August they started posting details of their route on their blog. A Basler took them from Union Glacier to the McMurdo sea ice runway on 24 October; they then traveled to their starting point at the Cape Evans Terra Nova hut, from which they officially started their trip on the 25th. They reached Pole on 27 December, although they camped about 6 miles away and made only a brief visit, avoiding personal contact. On the return they ran short of food and had a resupply from an ALE Twin Otter on 2 January.
- Antony Jinman
- from the UK, embarked on a solo expedition from Hercules Inlet to Pole in November 2013. The project involved major interaction with schools through the ETE (Education through Expeditions) Teachers organization website...unfortunately the ETE site was hard to navigate in the day and its archive is inscrutable now. Antony took lots of electronics including some Parrot AR drones, which he said might be used for the first drone flight at Pole (??). Antony did a solo North Pole trip in 2010. Here's a wired.co.uk news article. He was flown to Union Glacier on the 29th and to Hercules Inlet on 2 December and started traveling the next day. He reached Pole on 17 January.
- Expeditions 7 (archived site)
- was a group of hardcore offroaders that decided they wanted to drive a Toyota Land Cruiser on all continents. Antarctica is continent #6 of 7...and although there is no current information on the Pole venture on their website, we know from the Arctic Trucks blog (archive) that they were doing a round trip from Novo in two of Arctic Trucks' AT44 Hilux vehicles. They left Novo on about 1 December and were at Pole on the 7th. They then continued on to the Ross Ice Shelf via the SPoT route down the Leverett Glacier, and returned to Pole on the same route in less than 24 hours, often traveling faster than 35 mph despite a broken spring, arriving at Pole on 9 December. They then continued to Novo. The group included Greg Miller (owner of the Utah Jazz among other companies), Scott Brady and Chris Collard of the Overland Journal, and Gísli Karel Elísson from Arctic Trucks. I have more coverage and a link to video here.
- The Pink Polar Expedition
- (?!) was a 2013-14 kite/skiing Antarctic crossing by Australian veterinarian Geoff Wilson, with promotion support from breast cancer survivor Kate Carlyle. Geoff intended to promote breast cancer awareness (and fund raising) by hauling his supplies on a 400 lb. (!) "boob sled," which is depicted in this 24 December 2013 Sydney Morning Herald article--at that time he was 107 km away from Pole. He'd set out from Novo on 14 November doing a solo trip, although he started out with Faysal Hanneche (see next entry). He reached Pole on 28 December, rested and waited for favorable winds for 2 days, and then continued to Hercules Inlet, which he reached on 6 January. All information and blog posts have now disappeared from Geoff's website, which was discussing his planned 2016-17 Novo-to-Casey Antarctic crossing, The Longest Journey (archived site).
- Aborted...the French adventurer Faysal Hanneche,
- who reached the North Pole in April. Interestingly, one of Faysal's sponsors was Bitcoin--he supposedly planted a Bitcoin flag somewhere on his way to Pole, and he also ordered a pizza (for delivery when he returned to South America)--supposedly the first Bitcoin transaction from Antarctica (Bitcoin forum post). He also started at Novo and returning to Hercules Inlet; it's described as an unsupported crossing planned for less than 64 days. As of 9 November, Faysal and Geoff were still in Cape Town waiting for good weather to fly to Novo, they finally did so on the 12th. Faysal set out in another storm on 19 November...and was making slow but continuing progress until 8 December, when he was evacuated (by truck) back to Novo because of knee problems--dislocation of the meniscus, aggravated by the kiting. On the 12th he flew back to Cape Town.
- Vesa Luomala (mostly Finnish language site)
- from Helsinki, Finland, announced his planned solo ski trip to Pole from Hercules Inlet--previously he's crossed Greenland from east to west and from Narsaq to Qaanaaq. He was scheduled to fly to Union Glacier on 23 November..delayed until the 29th. He was flown to the Hercules Inlet starting site on 2 December along with Lewis Clarke, Carl Alvey, Antony Jinman, and Daniel Burton. Vesa headed south the same day. On 18 January he'd reached 89ºS...only one last degree to go. He arrived at Pole early on 23 January.
- Lewis Clarke
- from Bristol, England, wanted to be the youngest person to ski the full distance from the coast to Pole 2013-14 at the age of 16. He trained and raised money by selling ad space on his face (!) He swam across the English Channel at age 12, and he and his ANI Carl Alvey were on the same 2 December flight to Hercules Inlet as Vesa Luomala and others, and they set out the next day. Carl Alvey also had helped him earlier in the year on training trips in Norway and Greenland. They'd arrived at Union Glacier on the 29th. On the morning of 19 January SP time they reached the elevated station. Here is an 18 January 2014 BBC News article about his successful trek, as well as this 24 January 2014 Adventure Nation article.
- Richard Parks
- was making another Pole attempt in 2013-14, after having run out of time in 2012-13, he had to be picked up 140 miles short of Pole. This year's trip would again be a 715-mile venture from Hercules Inlet, and he aimed to beat Christian Eide's 2010-11 time of 24 days. He posted more information on his public Facebook page. He set out on the record attempt at 0340 Pole time on 29 November...but after 3 days and slow going, he decided to turn around and start again. He returned to Hercules Inlet on the 4th, took a rest day, and planned to set out again at 2300 Pole time on the 5th. He reached Pole at 1824 on 4 January, completing the trip in 29 days, 19 hours, and 24 minutes. This was a British record for such trips, and the second fastest time--Richard had targeted beating Norwegian Christian Eide's 2010-11 record of 24 days, 1 hour, 13 minutes.
- Parker Liautaud/The Willis Resilience Expedition (archived site)
- was born in Palo Alto but lived in London since he was nine. At the time of the venture he was 19 years old, a sophomore at Yale, and already an experienced polar explorer. In April 2012 he completed his third (!) North Pole expedition (well, the first time in 2010 at age 15 he had to turn back 15 miles from the North Pole, but the next two were successful, and his 2011 trip was one of the fastest recorded). He'd planned an unsupported trip to Pole from the Messner Start, guided by Doug Stoup, in 2011-12, but this was postponed. However...in late August 2013 he obtained sponsorship from the Willis Group, a global insurance broker (PDF press release with extensive information about the expedition). The reorganized venture (now guided by Doug Stoup instead of "solo") was named "The Willis Resilience Expedition
Antarctica"--on about 3 December he planned to set out from the base of the Ross Ice Shelf and set a speed record from the base of the Leverett Glacier to Pole along the USAP SPoT traverse route. He considered this "unsupported" as they were on skis, each pulling a 180-lb pulk...but they were followed by a team driving Ice Broker, a Toyota Hilux 6x6 vehicle customized by Arctic Trucks and driven by Eyjólfur Már Teitsson. which was to film the trip live, maintain social media contact and transmit science and weather data. The support team was The Great Outdoors contributor Nathan Hambrook-Skinner (his blog posts covering the expedition have been wiped from the internet), along with British cameraman Paddy Scott (his web coverage errs as it states this was in 2015). The science projects, primarily on the approach route from UG to Pole to the base of the glacier, included the digging of snow pits to track stable isotopes as well as tritium as they cross the continent. A lightweight weather station (a Coldfacts-3000BX) was to be tested for a 5-week period near Union Glacier. He and the vehicle arrived at Union glacier on 29 November, where they were doing some test drives. They reached Pole on 4 December after 4 days of driving...they rested only a few hours before continuing toward the Leverett Glacier. The official start of the 314.49 mile (506.12km) trip to Pole was at 2200 SP time on 6 December; they reached Pole at 0243 on 25 December, in what was reported to be a record time of 18 days, 4 hours, 43 minutes. The Arctic Trucks blog about the venture is no longer up, but the Willis Resilience Expedition Facebook page is still around.
- Walking with the Wounded
- was a challenge race sponsored by the British charity of that name, scheduled for November/December 2013. In September the event was titled the Virgin Money South Pole Allied Challenge, denoting the new major sponsor. Three teams of wounded service personnel--one from the UK, one from the US, and one comprised of other British Commonwealth personnel from Australia and Canada, were to trek about 200 miles from 87ºS to Pole, pulling 150 lb sleds. Each team was accompanied by an experienced guide, a challenge mentor, and a world-famous media personality, and there also was a support/medical crew. The teams arrived at Novo on 22 November; all of them were then flown to the starting point, in two groups, by 28 November SP time, which is when Prince Harry got to the start. The competition started at 0235 2 December (1335 UTC 1 December). They were supported by Arctic Trucks (an archive of their blog)--eventually the "competition" aspect of the event was cancelled because of difficult conditions, and the participants were given a lift of about 50 miles by the Arctic Trucks support team. They reached Pole at 0235 on 14 December SP time and had their major photo shoot at the Pole before retreating to their camp site several miles away. The group had a tour of the station on Monday morning 16 December before the first half of them departed for Novo (NSF press release with photo).
Earlier, in July it was announced Dominic West, star of The Wire, is accompanying the Commonwealth team (Telegraph article which may be paywalled). Prince Harry is participating with the British team (video from the web site and BBC coverage). When the winning team arrived at Pole they were to dig up and claim the "Walking With the Wounded Allied Challenge Trophy," which was buried at Pole by the 2012-13 expedition. In May of 2012 it was announced that Prince Harry would accompany the British team per this Sunday Express article. Harry participated in the charity's North Pole challenge in March 2011, pulling a 220-lb sled in -30º temperatures. More information about Prince Harry's planned participation--photos from the expedition web site and BBC coverage. For this venture he was fully clad in ECW gear. Here's a September 2012 article from The Age (Melbourne) about early plans for the race.
- The ANI Ski South Pole-Messner Route
- this year included Wen Yuan from China and Australian Joshua Hodgkinson, to be guided from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (the Messner Route) to Pole by Canadian veteran guide Devon McDiarmid. Arabella Slinger from Britain was to be part of the group but dropped out due to injury. They were still hanging around in PA the last week in November, and were on the flight that reached UG on the 29th. After setting out on 3 December, the venture reached Pole on 12 January...this was Devon's fifth trip to Pole (CBC news article).
- Børge Ousland (archived page)
- guided an ALE "last degree" expedition to Pole in December, arriving on the 28th after 7 days of skiing.
- 3 Below Zero
- is the husband-and-wife team of Chris and Marty Fagan, ultrarunners from Bend, Washington. They planned an unassisted/unsupported ski trip from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf to Pole (the so-called Messner Route) starting in late November. While this was to be their first polar trek, they did training in Ely, MN and Svalbard...and the couple first met while on separate Denali climbing expeditions in 1998. I believe they might have been the third American married couple to do so...the second was Jenny and Ray Jardine in 2006-07, and the first was Tina and Tom Sjögren, who both were originally from Europe but migrated to New York in 1996 and arrived at Pole as the Poles Wearables Expedition in 2002 after a previous unsuccessful attempt in 2000-01 (Tom and Tina's 2001-02 South Pole blog archive). They left for Antarctica on 17 November, reached Union Glacier on the 29th; and were flown to their starting point (and set out) on 3 December. They reached Pole on 19 January 2014.
- The following 2013-14 expeditions were announced, but didn't happen. As of April 2014 all of these sites were still up, so maybe some of them will eventually happen:
- Dwayne Fields
- a 29-year-old Londoner born in Jamaica, in 2010 was only the second Black person to trek to the Magnetic North Pole, had announced a South Pole venture for 2012-13. Not a lot of details on his trip came out, except that he'd be making the 700-mile trip with a group of Americans. And on 15 December 2012 he officially announced the postponement (archived page). As of May 2013 he was still planning a 2013-14 trip which didn't happen...trips were proposed for 2019-20 and 2020-21 that did not happen either. But his current website is proposing a carbon-negative Antarctic venture for 2022-23.
- Michele Pontrandolfo
- is an Italian man who's traveled the Arctic extensively since 2000, where his still-unrealized goal is to reach the North Pole. This season, however, he was focusing on a solo unassisted Antarctic crossing from Novo to Hercules Inlet via Pole--something he's calling the Italian Antarctic Solo Expedition. He was to use skis and a kite where possible. As of the end of August he was seriously preparing and training...and still trying to obtain funding from sponsors. And as of late October 2013 I saw no further news or updates. He did make it to the ice in 2015-16 and 2016-17 but both of these trips were aborted. There is nothing on his website archive that mentions his Antarctic ventures.
- Hans Wijnand and Jacob Slooff (archived site)
- from the Netherlands were planning a "kite buggy" Antarctic crossing starting at Novo, visiting the Pole of Inaccessibility, stopping at Pole, and continuing to the vicinity of Mt. Vinson, where they would be joined by a third expeditioner for a summit climb. The lightweight kite buggies would also be manhauled as needed. The project was originally announced for 2010, but was most recently proposed for a November 2013 start. There was nothing new on their website icebuggy.com since June 2013.
- Cancelled... Twins to the South Pole
- are twins Zac and Josh Lyon, 20 years old as of 2013. They are New Zealanders, students at the University of Waikato at the time, who planned a round trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole in 2013-14. They planned to support the Child Cancer Foundation--the above link is to their crowdfunding web page...but they did not reach their funding goal, so the venture was off. here is 22 May 2012 stuff.co.nz article about their plans and preparation. Their Facebook page no longer mentions their cancelled Antarctic plans...rather it documents their 4CAPS project--one leg was an August-September 2014 east-west crossing of Greenland from near Tassilaq to Kangerlussuaq which included a tour of abandoned DYE-2. The twins' prior claim to fame--in April 2012 they sent a weather balloon with cameras to the edge of space (104,600 feet), recovering some amazing photos (stuff.co.nz article with photos/video).
- Cancelled... Karen Darke (archived site)
- is a 38-year-old paraplegic Scottish woman who is planning to be the first to reach Pole using only arm power, on a "sit-ski." She has been seriously training in Greenland and Patagonia for a team venture supported out of Union Glacier, previously postponed until 2013-14 (archived main expedition site). She was to be accompanied by her cyclist brother Simon, climber Andy Kilpatrick, and triathlete Mike Christie. But...she was run over by a car in June and couldn't collect enough funding, so the venture is off for now.
- Extreme World Races South Pole Race 2013-14 (archived site)
- was announced by extremeworld races...for perhaps £15,999 ex London which also was to include training in Wales and Norway. What was it supposed to be?? The web page linked above described it to be a 745 km race from Novolazarevskaya on the coast to Pole...but per this page it actually was to consist of some training and acclimatization at Novo before a flight to a spot 800 km/500 miles from Pole, from where the race would consist of two equal legs separated by a 24-hour rest period after checking in at the checkpoint. Participants would be issued pulks and food. The total timing including on-ice training was estimated to take between 18 and 30 days. The last I saw before the website disappeared, they were soliciting participants for their 500 mile 2014-15 event, which I assumed was because the first event was sold out. I never heard if either event actually happened.
- What happened, or didn't, in 2012-13...
- ABORTED! Eric Larsen
- from Boulder, CO, announced his "Cycle South" expedition on 2 November 2012. He'd planned a 750-mile bicycle ride (with resupply) from Hercules Inlet to Pole, starting in mid-December...with a possible return ride back to the coast, as described on this ALE page. Eric has made two previous ski trips to Pole, and is one of the few Americans who has skied to both the North and South Poles, and the only American to achieve Everest as well. Doug Stoup once contemplated this trip, originally planned for 2001-02, and Doug tested a bike at PH in 2002-03; Eric told me that the technology has significantly improved since then. He's using a Surly Moonlander bike with 4.7" LGP tires. Eric left Boulder on 13 December, got to UG on 18 December, and officially started from Hercules Inlet on the 21st. However, on 28 December after reaching 82.5ºS, he decided to turn around and head back to Hercules Inlet, because of slower travel than he had planned for. He was back near the coast on 3 January, back in PA 2 days later, and home in Boulder on the 12th.
- Aaron Linsdau
- from California, hoped to be the first American (and only the fourth person) to complete an unsupported 1450-mile round trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole in 2012-13, doing it solo. He'd previously trained in Yellowstone and Greenland, and will be supporting the Prostate Cancer Foundation. In addition to serious planning and training, he'd been studying the blogs and photos/video of Aleksander Gamme, and Cas & Jonesy, the first 3 people who did this trip, in 2011-12. He was on the first IL-76 flight to Union Glacier on 1 November, and was flown to the starting point the next day. He reached Pole on the 22nd. Here is his brief web page about the successful trip which includes a link to his book Antarctic Tears about the venture. The "blog" link does not include any direct coverage of this trip, but some of his documented audio dispatches can be found here.
- ABORTED! Richard Parks
- a 35-year-old former rugby player and current adventurer from Wales, planned a solo unsupported Pole venture from Hercules Inlet starting in December...and he looked to do it quickly--in 35-40 days (which still wouldn't come close to Christian Eide's 24-day trip (archived diary in Norwegian) in 2010-11). Amazingly, Richard completed the 7 summits plus both poles in less than a year between December 2010 and July 2011 (Wikipedia documentation). His 2010-11 Pole trip was a "last degree" trek. Here is a July Wales Online article as well as a mention on this 737 Challenge page. Richard arrived in PA on 8 December but his baggage (his sled and other equipment) did not. What's next? (13 December South Wales Argus report). Well, the gear was found, although he ended up borrowing a pulk from ALE. He started from Hercules Inlet on 19 December SP time, and his travels were slower than expected, particularly in the rougher-than-usual sastrugi on the Plateau. He ended up getting a food drop, but on 25 January he decided he couldn't complete the trip to Pole before the end of the ALE/ANI season on 28 January...he was picked up south of the 88th parallel. By the 28th he was back in PA.
- Hannah McKeand (archived page)
- from the UK, made her SIXTH trip to Pole...this time she was guiding fellow Brit Toby Selman (a former Royal Marine), and a Finn, Eero Oura, on an unsupported 580-mile ski trip to Pole from the Messner Start (the Ronne/Filchner Ice Shelf). They headed to UG on 23 November and started a few days later. Unfortunately, Toby reported on 20 December that he was back in PA after covering only 125 miles of the planned 560 mile trip. Hannah and Eero were continuing...they reached Pole on 9 January. This was Hannah's sixth full trip to Pole...adding to her record of the most full trips by anyone male or female. Here is Hannah's current 2021 website.
- The Best of British South Pole (archived website skeleton)
- was a 6-man team (from the UK, obviously) led by Manley Hopkinson, along with Rupert Baddeley, Steve Walton, and Dave McCormack. They'd planned a 2011-12 unsupported traverse (put off from 2010-11), aiming to set a record for the Beardmore Glacier route, something not many people have tried since Scott and Shackleton. They planned only a 460-mile trip from the base of the glacier, rather than a Ross Island start, staging through Cape Town, and then presumably through Novo, perhaps via ("White Desert"). They were unable to secure funding in time for a 2011-12 venture and were hoping they could proceed later...didn't happen. Since then, their website bestofbritishsouthpole.com has disappeared...they did consider going in 2013-14.
- MODIFIED! The International Scott Centenary Expedition (ISCE) (archived site)
- was originally announced by Anthony Jinman in early May 2010. The main part of this event, originally scheduled for the 2011-12 season and later rescheduled for 2012-13, was to be a 290-mile trip from Scott's Cape Evans hut to the site of Scott's last tent site, where a commemoration service was to be held. Expedition patrons and descendants of Scott's party were to be flown to the memorial service--that would have been an interesting bit of logistics, but this event was canceled. Anthony had planned a trip to Pole in 2009-10 which was cancelled due to lack of funds. Anthony previously announced a North Pole trip for the boreal spring of 2010, which he successfully completed on 22 April 2010, and he was a member of the Hannah McKeand venture from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf, reaching Pole on 3 January 2009 (these trips were once described on Henry's main site). Still on, was a 120-mile trek to Pole by Henry Evans, winner of a Daily Telegraph competition; led by Geoff Somers. As of 14 December they were in PA. They finally flew to Union Glacier on 18 December, and were flown to their starting point just north of 88ºS, arriving on the 24th. Geoff and Henry reached Pole on 6 January. Henry Evans wrote the book From University to the South Pole about this expedition, published in 2013 (Amazon.com link).
- Vilborg Arna Gissurardóttir (archived Icelandic language site)
- from Iceland, was also doing a trip to Pole, starting from Hercules Inlet. She was doing a solo, unsupported, and unassisted trip, pulling 2 sleds totaling 220 lbs. Here is a 22 October article from the Iceland Review in English, a 28 November article from Morgunbladid (this is the Google Translate link in English), and an 18 January Iceland Review article which describes the end of her journey. She headed south to Union Glacier on 17 November and started her trip on the 21st SP time. She also encountered slower-than-expected traveling, and despite carrying extra food, she did have to get a resupply from ALE. By 13 January she was well within the last degree...she reached Pole on the 17th. Her website does not translate easily...her blog (in Icelandic) is on this page.
- Roland Krueger (archived diary)
- a German skier, had previously reached Pole in December 2005 as part of the mostly-Norwegian "Unsupported to the South Pole" venture. This season he planned a solo unsupported/unassisted trip from the Messner Start (the Ronne Ice shelf, 82.3ºS-65ºW)...and after reaching Pole intended to continue across the continent, ending on the Ross Ice Shelf at the foot of the Axel Heiberg Glacier. He was flown from PA to Union Glacier, arriving on 20 November, and arrived at his starting point on 23 November. He reached Pole on 13 January and decided to end his trip there because of bad weather and rough traveling. He found monstrous sastrugi south of 88ºS, an unusual condition. He was the first solo German to reach Pole, and he thought he was the first unassisted/unsupported trip to reach Pole this season.
"Last Degree" and similar short ventures included:
- Test Your Limits 2013: The South Pole
- was a last degree venture planned for early January by heart transplant recipient Dale Shippam of Thunder Bay, Ontario. He was joined by three cardiologists, Heather Ross, Diego Delgado, and Michel White. This was Dale's fourth journey to promote organ donation since 2006...previous trips were to the North Pole, Mt. Vinson, and a mountain near Everest in Nepal. They had three guides from Polar Explorers (and there were several other members of the travel group). Here's a 19 December 2012 CBC news article, the main Test Your Limits website, and Dr. Delgado's blog. They were to leave Canada on 30 December. The team arrived at Pole on 14 January after seven days of travel, as part of a 14-person group guided by PolarExplorers (their blog).
- An ANI/ALE guided last degree expedition (YouTube video by Vanessa O'Brien)
- included Mark Allan, Michael Hamill, Vanessa O'Brien, and Martin Frey, guided by Scott Woolums. Mark Allan (his charity page) was the CEO of Unite, a British student housing company, and this 18 January 2013 Property Week article noted that Mark raised more than £50,000 for the charity Penny Brohn Cancer Care. They were dropped off at 89ºS on 9 December and arrived at Pole on the 16th, when they were given a tour of the station before setting up camp. They flew north the next day. Oh...Vanessa and Mike summited Mt. Vinson on 5 December local time before the Pole trip...this mountainguides.com page includes, for now, the blog posts from that climb. As the archive pages change...for now here's the "Vinson Summit" post, as well as the mountainguides page with the blogs of the last degree trip to Pole.
- An Irish-Russian journey (archived 21 December 2012 The Southern Star (West Cork) article)
- by Irishman Niall Carton and his Russian friends Alexey Borichev and Alexander Zozulya planned a last-degree trip in January to support the Greater Chernobyl Cause, a charity supporting abandoned children and the old/infirm who have suffered from the Soviet Union breakup (an archive of their fundraising page). They also were part of that same 14-person PolarExplorers group as the Test Your Limits team mentioned above...they did arrive successfully on 14 January (March 2013 Moscow Expat Life article).
- In the Footsteps of Legends (11 December 2012 Gazette and Herald (Wiltshire, England) article; the venture website has totally vanished)
- was a "last-2-degree" 140-mile unsupported ski trip to Pole that began in late November 2012. They were supported out of Union Glacier (UG), although some of their web site info mentioned Glacier Bay (which is on the coast at 99ºW). This group was led by David Hempleman-Adams, co-led by former British Army member Justin Packshaw, and includes Corporal Robbie Harmer, Lance Corporal Nick Webb and Captain Adam Crookshank of the Royal Dragoon Guards. Five other Brits were accompanying them--Olympic rower Matthew Pinsent, Hector Macleod, Malcolm Walker, Dr. Lynne Summers, and Sasha Borodin. The Royal Dragoon Guards is the present-day unit which at one time had included Lawrence Oates, the member of Scott's expedition whose last documented words were, "I am just going outside and may be some time." The group is supporting Alzheimer's UK and Walking with the Wounded charities, and they are carrying with them a silver trophy which they'll bury at Pole, to be dug up in 2013-14 by the winning team of the Walking with the Wounded Challenge race, per this 15 November York Press article. Here's an earlier (3 March) The Northern Echo (Darlington) newspaper article. As of 23 November the team was waiting in PA. The team arrived at UG on the 26th and were flown to their starting point the next day. But on 5 December, Malcolm Walker (the chief executive of Iceland Foods--a main sponsor) was medevaced back to PA because of a stomach illness (Malcolm's blog). The rest of the team reached Pole on 11 December, the first overland venture of the season to do so...and were flown back to UG later that day.
- Postponed from 2012-13 (perhaps rescheduled as noted):
- Dwayne Fields
- a 29-year-old Londoner born in Jamaica, in 2010 was only the second Black person to trek to the North Pole, had announced a South Pole venture for 2012-13. Not a lot of details on his trip came out, except that he'd be making the 700-mile trip with a group of Americans. And on 15 December 2012 he officially announced the postponement. As of May 2013 he was still planning a 2013-14 trip, which also did not happen.
- Parker Liautaud
- a Londoner 18 years old in 2012, was already an experienced polar explorer. In April 2012 he completed his third (!) North Pole expedition (well, the first time in 2010 at age 15 he had to turn back 15 miles from the North Pole, but the next two were successful, and his 2011 trip was one of the fastest recorded). He'd planned an unsupported trip to Pole from the Messner Start, guided by Doug Stoup, in 2011-12. He calls this venture the Polar Orbiter Expedition 2012...and he'd be deploying automatic weather stations (AWS's) for the University of Wisconsin along the way. The postponement was announced by Explorersweb in late October 2012. His web site a planned 2013-14 trip which did happen. I could find no significant relic of his 2012 website...but here is his Wikipedia entry, and here is a 2016 archive of his brief website.
- Scott2012 (archived website stub which included this descriptive pdf)
- is a 4-man British expedition which finally did happen in 2013-14 renamed as the Scott Expedition. In 2012-13 it was to be led by Ben Saunders, with Alastair Humphreys and Martin Hartley. This trip was originally planned for 2011-12, but was cancelled that year as well. The goal was to be the first team to complete Scott's round trip route to Pole from Scott's hut on Ross Island. They claim the 1800-mile trek will be the longest unsupported polar journey in history. Interestingly, after this year's Antarctic plan fell through, Alastair Humphreys spent 4 weeks in November/December walking more than 1000 km in Oman, from Salalah to Dubai (coverage by John Henzell in The National).
- Ann Bancroft and Liv Arnesen (archived page)
- are familiar names in the polar regions...in part for their 2000-01 Antarctic crossing (archived page). The two explorer/educators have been planning a new venture, now postponed to 2013-14, titled Access Water, in which they'd planned lead six other women from six continents on the 800-mile trip to Pole. The expedition focus was to be on the global crisis involving access to fresh water. This project later turned into a planned November 2014 venture down the Ganges River.
- Karen Darke (archived site)
- is a 38-year-old paraplegic Scottish woman who is planning to be the first to reach Pole using only arm power, on a "sit-ski." She has been seriously training in Greenland and Patagonia for a team venture supported out of Union Glacier, now postponed until 2013-14 (archived main expedition site). She was to be accompanied by her cyclist brother Simon, climber Andy Kilpatrick, and triathlete Mike Christie.
- Announced for 2012-13 but never happened (?)
- Ben Thackwray (archived page)
- from Leeds, England, completed a fast 2-man ski crossing of southern Greenland in May 2010. He announced that this was a precursor to a planned Pole venture with Ian Couch and Niall McCann, now planned for 2012-13 known as the Endure More expedition. It was planned to be the "first unsupported/unassisted crossing of Antarctica" from Berkner Island to McMurdo via the Axel Heiberg Glacier...a follow-up to his summit of Everest in May 2011. There hasn't been much recent news on the web site or elsewhere.
- Kasim Rafiq (ExploraPoles article)
- is a Scottish adventurer and student at Edinburgh University. He announced that he was planning an unsupported trip from Hercules Inlet to Pole in the 2012-13 season...his goal was to be the youngest Briton (age 22) to ski the distance to Pole without outside help. To be guided. Hmmm, he said he'd start in November but there never was more recent recent news. Last word, he was training...and working to raise the estimated £40,000 that the venture will cost. More recently, his website journeysouth2012.co.uk has disappeared.
- The Spirit of Scott Expedition
- was announced in July by Brits Alan Chambers and Edward Coats, with support from Yahoo! (hence this 5-minute Yahoo! video). They planned to do a resupplied return trip to Pole from Scott's hut on Ross Island. Alan has previously guided ten North Pole ventures, Edward went on one of these, and he and Ed also went to the South Pole with Ben Fogle and James Cracknell (Ed Coats' website)on the Amundsen Omega 3 South Pole Race (archived site) in 2008-09. They planned to start in October, but I haven't found any recent information or a web site.