We are growing concerned about our slow progress over the last five days, mostly due to rough terrain and bad weather, the Venezuelans reported yesterday. We hope to reach the Pole by January 19th thats ten days from now, and we still have 260 Km to go! Live image over Contact 3.0 of the team walking in whiteout conditions, courtesy of Proyecto Cumbre expedition (click to enlarge).
"On Monday, Rune kited past the position 77.27S, 135.50E, accomplishing the longest unsupported ski-trek in history!," reported the Norwegian's home team. "In total he kited 104 Km that day, and made an early stop to celebrate, after only four hours of kiting! Live image over Contact 3.0 courtesy of Rune (click to enlarge).
The Spaniards suceeded not only to do a remarkable crossing of the continent, onboard a highly unusual "sailcraft", but they also covered a total distance of 4500Km in 63 days - currently the longest and fastest non-motorized polar traverse ever. Live image over Contact 3.0 courtesy of the team.
"We didn't climbed Tyree," reported Damien Gildea. "What looked to be steep snow, like on our previous routes, turned out to be 2cm of snow over rock-hard ice." Image of Steve climbing on the lower slopes of Mt. Tyree, courtesy of the Omega Foundation team (click to enlarge).
The weather slowly worsened during the day and was blowing strong cold winds on the summit ridge. Like us, most of the other teams here summited on Saturday. For all of us, it was a pity to come all this way and not get a view of Antarctica from its highest point, but everyone is happy to have climbed it and gotten back safely. Live image over Contact 3.0 of AC team emmbers in whiteout conditions on Vinson summit ridge, courtesy of Adventure Consultants (click to enlarge).
Polar Wrap-up: Rune's the man!
Posted: Jan 10, 2006 05:30 am EST
(ThePoles.com) Rune did it again! The skier who previously crossed the entire Arctic ocean in an outstanding unsupported trip (Rune and Torry started out mid February and initially traveled in perpetual darkness, a fate now awaiting fellow countryman Ousland starting out mid January on his North Pole trip), Rune broke a world record Monday in the longest kite-trek without resupplies at Antarctica!
The other teams are also picking up speed: The Spaniards are in a race to finish their traverse before the weekend, the Venezuelans are testing the very limits of their skiing skills hoping to cover 260 Km in ten days; and finally the Vinson teams are looking forward to going home after a difficult summit.
On the other side of the globe, things are also moving right along. Ario has covered another leg of his Alaska trip.
Antarctic crossing teams
Runes solo Antarctic crossing: Lost count of records
In addition to his impressive daily-distances (on January 8th for instance, Rune covered 182 Km) Rune is now breaking world records on a weekly basis. The latest was beaten yesterday.
At 08.36 CET on Monday, Rune kited past the position 77.27S, 135.50E and took back the world record. Rune has now accomplished the longest unsupported ski-trek in history! In total, Rune kited 104 Km that day, and made an early stop to celebrate, after only four hours of kiting!
Since he began his solo Antarctic crossing (no supplies, kite-supported), the Norwegian explorer has covered a total distance of 3880 Km.
Spanish trans-Antarctic team: Non-stop race to (another) the finish line!
After several windless days stuck on the ice, the Spaniards couldnt afford to miss a single minute when a light breeze started to blow. They are now in a non-stop race, resting only when the there's no wind at all.
On Jan 7th, for instance, they covered 280 Km, in a tough 19 hour non-stop day. What's the hurry? Well, the team is nearly done with their journey. "If everything goes well, we might finish in two days," reported team leader Ramón Larramendi.
Yesterday, light breezes quickly turned into 50 Km/h gusts. That, coupled with some tough irregular terrain resulted in further damages to the team's kite-sled. Regardless, they were able to gain another 102 Km!
One final note on the expedition: the Spaniards have changed their destination point once more. In their latest update, the team reported they were still heading for the East coast but instead of ending their journey at Mirny, they now plan to finish at Progress Russian Base.
Once at the coast, the Russian boat Akademik Fedorov will take them back to civilization.
South Pole teams
Proyecto Cumbre SP team: 206 Km in ten days? How?
The Venezuelans are fighting for every meter of their unsupported trip to the South Pole. But terrain and tough weather conditions have not made their progress any easier.
We are growing concerned about our slow progress over the last five days, the team reported yesterday. We hope to reach the Pole no later than January 19th thats ten days from now, and we still have 260 Km to go!
After a very cold night, yesterday we started out okay, despite rough terrain and uphill progression. However, soon everything was covered in clouds. The white-out lasted for two hours and in that time we barely managed to cover 2.6Km.
We are considering different options in order to reach the Pole in ten days: One option is a longer day; that is, skiing 10 hours a day instead of nine; the other option were discussing is to leave part of our load behind, and picking it up on our way back from the Pole.
Numis Polar Challenge: Stinking gang 57 miles to the Pole
We are now at Camp 12 on the Polar Plateau, 57 miles from the Pole, reported team member Roger Weatherby. We are travelling at an average of 9 miles per day. Although this is our 12th camp on the Plateau, we have been in Antarctica since the 27th December, without a wash. So if you wanted to find us, you are better off employing your nose rather than eyes!
We have also discovered a new phenomenon when pulling the sled, which Geoff has nicknamed icequakes. This is a very disturbing whoosh from the snow under our feet, which is triggered by the snow sinking 2 inches downwards not unlike the first stage of a crevasse collapsing. Everyone is in good order despite the lack of shower facilities, but the temperatures on the Plateau remain very cold, averaging -33ºC and touching -40ºC."
"Our position is 89º 03 minutes .49 South, 165º 34 minutes .95 East. We are hoping to be at the South Pole on or around the 14th or 15th January.
Antarctica climbing teams
Omega foundation: No summit on Tyree
We didn't climb Tyree, reported team leader Damien Gildea. After establishing a camp at the bottom of the route we started up the NE ridge to gain access to the East couloir, thus avoiding the very large ice cliffs at the bottom. Unfortunately, what appeared to be steep snow, as on our previous routes, turned out to be 2cm of snow over rock-hard ice. The climbing was slow and unsteady - we even used the rope for a bit.
We cut back on to the ridge, climbed some rock, mostly just exposed scrambling un-roped and finally put a tent at 3250m to go for the top from there. However, having looked at the couloir from below for some time, and seeing lots of bare, often blue, ice, I decided that we could not realistically climb that ice upwards for 1600m then safely and quickly climb down it again; and then have Camilo and Manuel do the same 24hrs later.
I decided to call it off there, a decision helped by incoming weather, high winds and clouds, which came in just after we all got down.
We are now waiting, in more poor weather, to be picked up and flown back to Patriot Hills. It is a somewhat disappointing, but mostly just frustrating, end to a great and successful trip. The route is good, just not right now.
Avbramovs 7Summits-club: Teams second wave of summits
On January, 6th, at 6 pm, the second part of our team (Harry Kikstra, Heber Orona and Pablo Kommer) summited Vinson in pretty bad weather conditions, reported team leader Alexander Abramov.
We have finished our program of ascents for this season now we hope to depart from Antarctica as soon as possible.
To summarize, all 13 members of the 7 Summits Club teams have successfully summited Vinson. Six people have finished their Seven Summits program: Alexander Abramov, Victor Bobok, Soren Gudmann, Boris Sedusov, Harry Kikstra and Heber Orona. Abramov has summited three times.
Adventure Consultants Vinson team: Summit on January 7th
The team is back in Patriot Hills after reaching the Summit of Vinson on January 7th.
We summited at 7 PM [Chile time] after a long cold day, reported guide Dean Staples. The weather slowly worsened during the day and was blowing strong cold winds on the summit ridge; this was a very cold part of the climb which luckily only lasted a couple of hours.
Most of the other teams here summited today as well. For all of us, it was a pity to come all this way and not get a view of Antarctica from its highest point, but everyone is happy to have climbed it and gotten back safely.
Alpine Ascents Vinson team: Further summits
Working with several guides and teams at the same time, one of the AA team summited on Jan 6, and a second group reached the top very late on Jan 9th. Between both dates, a snow storm kept the climbers stuck in higher camps. However, when conditions finally improved, they were able to reach the summit and their mates. All made it safely back to BC.
Borge Ousland and Mike Horn for an off-season North Pole expedition
Norwegian Borge Ousland and South African Mike Horn have joined forces for a dark North Pole expedition. The explorers are currently on their way to Siberia, planning to start skiing in full Arctic night before the end of January. Read more in an ExWeb interview with Ousland, published yesterday.
Ario Alone Across Alaska: Hi from Wood river!
I reached the Wood River - it has been so hard that I thought I would never make it, mostly due to bad snow and ice conditions on the passes reported Ario from Alaska. Tomorrow Ill leave the Lodge and head down by the river to Burnels cabin in 1 or 2 days. Then Ill proceed to Nenana village, which I should reach in other 10 days.
Spanish Trans-Antarctic expedition Larramendis site (Spanish/English)
Norwegian Hvitserks SP teams dispatches
Hvitserks expeditions (Norwegian)
Proyecto Cumbre SP expedition (Spanish/English)
Numis Polar Challenges website
Omega Foundation - Antarctica 2005
Borge Ouslands website
Mike Horns website
Slovak Trekland team
Arios Alone Across Alaska (Italian)
Airborne Ranger Club of Finland NP expedition (Finnish)
Alpine Ascents International
7Summits Club Vinson team
Lewis G. Pughs website
Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
Ice-Challenger van SP trips website