A well deserved rest for Kevin, Richard and Ray after traveling in record time of 33 days, 23 hours and 30 from Hercules Inlet. Ray reported in their last dispatch, we're ahhh we're motivated. We're twenty-four nautical miles from the South Pole, right now. And so we're going to grab some sleep, get something to eat and we're going to head out for day 33 and try and ahhhh get those twenty four miles done as fast as we possibly can. Live image over Contact courtesy of s..
The Shackleton descendants home team drew the following comparison, If Shackleton, Swan and Worsley all set off on the same day, by today after 54 days, Swan had travelled 628 statute miles, Shackleton 645 miles, but Worsley and team have covered 760 in the same time. Live image courtesy of shackletoncentenary.org (click to enlarge)
Mike Horn: as soon as the kite was up in the air, a nasty wind gust came and tangled the kite cords. It took forever to untangle them! After fixing them I decided to use a smaller kite instead and as soon as it went up, low and behold, the wind died down and my opportunity was over! Live image courtesy of mikehorn.com (click to enlarge)
Antarctic wrap-up: The Canadians at the Pole in a record time

Posted: Jan 07, 2009 05:00 pm EST
(The Poles.com) Richard Weber, Kevin Vallely and Ray Zahab arrived at the South Pole on January 7, 2009 from Hercules Inlet. Their home team reported their record time to ExplorersWeb as 33 days, 23 hours and 30 minutes.

Todd Carmichael arrived earlier in the season from Hercules Inlet in a time of 39 days, 7 hours and 49 minutes.

The Shackleton Centenary team, coming from the Ross Sea, is also very determined and focused to meet their goal, the 97- mile point on the centenary day, 9 January. In the process they battled their way through storm winds to gain miles.

Unsupported, unassisted

Todd Carmichael (solo, USA)

Word arrived at ExplorersWeb from Todd about his plans for his next project: Crossing the dunes of the Namib Desert in Namibia, in southwestern Africa. He plans to attempt 552 miles (888 km), departing from near the Namibia/Angola border during the latter part of 2009. Todd aims to complete the crossing across the length of the desert in 32 days, unsupported and unaided, pulling a cart containing all his food, fuel and equipment.

Chus Lago (solo, Spain)

On Day 56, 6 January, Chus home team reported that she was about 63 km from the South Pole

Richard Weber, Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely (Canada)

On Day 31 Ray reported another storm in the morning and said, Richard navigated through it and Kevin and I did a little bit of navigation. Ahhh.. I can't believe what a tough job that is, in a, ahhh complete white out.

The next day, January 5, the weather gave them a break and according to Rays report they travelled a personal best of 30 nm (55.56 km). They took the advantage of the good weather and travelled for 20 hours, ending approx at 5:00am EST Jan 6, he said.

we're ahhh we're motivated. We're twenty-four nautical miles from the South Pole, right now. And so we're going to grab some sleep, get something to eat and we're going to head out for day 33 and try and ahhhh get those twenty four miles [44.448 km] done as fast as we possibly can.

Distances: 20 km, 30 nm, 24 nm
Day 34, January 7, 2009: 90°S

On Day 34, December 15, 2008, Todd Carmichael was at 88.46535S, 82.98909W; that was 1.5347 degrees or 92.0790 nm or 170.5303 km from the South Pole.

See the ExWeb interviews with the men before they left in the links below the pictures.
Check in again for more details.

Shackleton Centenary Expedition, UK (Henry Worsley, Will Gow and Henry Adams) Ross Island start

The men reported on Day 53, 5 January 2009, a most demanding day, but resisted to pitch their tent. Henry Worsely reported about the 45-knot wind and how the day was even worse than when they have stayed in their tents before. Temperature 30°C, wind-chill -52°C. They still managed 12.3 nm.

The next day was even more demanding with a storm of 50-knot winds, Henry reported. They commenced their trek only at 4 pm and travelled 13.5 nm in 7.5 hours. Listen to Henrys reports on their website.

The Brits home team drew the following comparison, To understand the scale of the task that they are close to achieving, it is best done by way of comparison to Shackleton's 1908-9 expedition and Robert Swan's 1985-6 expedition. Because of the delay to Worsley's team getting to the start point, they effectively set off 11 days behind Shackleton and Swan. If Shackleton, Swan and Worsley all set off on the same day, by today after 54 days, Swan had travelled 628 statute miles, Shackleton 645 miles, but Worsley and team have covered 760 in the same time.

Position 6 January 2008: 87° 43, 161° 48
Aiming to Shackletons 88° 23S, 162°E
33.19 nm to go to this point where they will meet the 97-mile group.

Return unsupported and sail-assisted

Mike Horn (solo, South Africa)

Mike tried to use his kites. He explained, The winds had turned and I saw the opportunity of taking out the kite. I imagined myself doing 100kms in one go so was very excited. Ha ha! I was mistaken because as soon as the kite was up in the air, a nasty wind gust came and tangled the kite cords. It took forever to untangle them! After fixing them I decided to use a smaller kite instead and as soon as it went up, low and behold, the wind died down and my opportunity was over! I sadly packed the kites away again. I guess that is why kites in general are not used when heading to the pole. Only once you are leaving the pole does it become an option."

The next day, 6 Jan, he reported, The weather has become more stable and temperatures have dropped considerably. This makes the sled glide better and of course is great for the morale after all the struggling over the last few days!"

Distances: 16 km, 33 km
Position Day 37: 87°24.464'S, 81°47.757' W

Links to Antarctic 2008-09 expeditions

Antarctic crossing/return unsupported
Peter Valusiak (Slovakia, Novo-SP-McMurdo) Aborted

Crossing/return supported and sail assisted
Dieter Staudinger, Austria/Canada, and Armin Wirth, Germany (Neumayer start) Aborted

Unsupported, unassisted
Mark Langridge (UK, solo)
Todd Carmichael (USA, solo)
Chus Lago/ Caixanova Expedition (Spain, solo)
Gavin Booth and Adam Wilton/ British South Pole Expedition 2008 (UK)
Richard Weber, Ray Zahab, Kevin Vallely/ South Pole Quest Expedition (Canada)
Kari Poppis Suomela and Pasi Ikonen (Finland)
Henry Worsley, Will Gow and Henry Adams/ Shackleton Centenary Expedition (UK)
Christian Eide, Rune Midgaard, Mads Agrup and Morten Andvig/ Hvitserk Happy Feet (Norway) English dispatches
Christian Eide, Rune Midgaard, Mads Agrup and Morten Andvig/ Hvitserk Happy Feet (Norway) map site
Christian Eide, Rune Midgaard, Mads Agrup and Morten Andvig/ Hvitserk Happy Feet, Norwegian dispatches

Return unsupported and sail-assisted
Mike Horn (South Africa/Switzerland)

Supported or assisted
Eric Larsen (USA)
Doug Oppenheim and Jeremy Rogers (UK)
Daragh Horgan (UK)
Luc Reynders
Ross Maxwell (New Zealand)
Sarah McNair-Landry (Canada)
Thomas Davenport (USA)
Kari Gundeso (Norway)
Julio Fiadi (Brazil)

Partial routes
Teemu Lakkasuo (Finland, solo)
Doug Stoup (leader), Peter Turkstra, Steve Stipsits and Fred Losani (South Pole for Kids)
Jesús Noriega, Xavier Valbuena and Eric Villalón (Pol Sud Sense Límits, Spain)
Børge Ousland and team
Hannah McKeand and team
PolarExplorers Last Degree and Vinson

Other Antarctic expeditions
ANSMET Meteorite Hunters
Remote Medical representative at Critical Skill, Tom Milnes, Vinson Expedition
Duncan Chessell, Jamie McGuiness and teams 80 km Ellsworth Mountain traverse and Vinson climb
Tommy Erikssons Icebreaker (Aborted)
Cristian Donoso and teams Antarctic Peninsula Kayak Expedition

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