Antarctic wrap-up: The kiters finished and Mike Horn at the South Pole

Posted: Jan 21, 2009 05:40 pm EST

(The Thomas Davenport was diagnosed with cancer in December 2006. Parts of his colon were removed. During this 2008-09 season he skied 1130 km to the South Pole and kited back to Patriot Hills with 22-year old Sarah McNair-Landry, adding another 1084 km to the journey.

Sarah McNair-Landry (guide) and Thomas Davenport

Sarah and Tom, with three others, started their resupplied ski expedition from Hercules Inlet on 11 November 2008 and reached the South Pole on 2 January 2009. There the two swopped their ski gear for kite gear and kited back to Patriot Hills.

Tom reported, January 18, at 4:00pm we reached Patriot Hills; the final end point. I suppose on a journey like this, when the end happens it's all a bit of a surprise (read: shock).

He said they arrived two days earlier at their destination than planned, Fabulous winds, amazing sastrugi conditions (meaning, the sastrugi was minimal) and sunny skies meant that by noon yesterday the mountains of Patriot Hills were clearly visible... and four hours later, when we had arrived, we had covered some 200+ km, since beginning our final push the night before.

Tom reported the winds died down only one mile before they reached Patriot Hills and his dream of him swinging around the mountains of PH only to find the Ilyushin waiting for me to fold my kite and transfer my gear from pulk to plane didnt happen. We suddenly found ourselves one mile from PH camp - stationary and windless (and sadly, no Ilyushin). And so it was, after many futile attempts to curse our kites into action (plus an impressive crash by Sarah), we were forced to abandon our kites and don our cross-country gear for the final steps of the journey.

According to Tom the Ilyushin will, weather permitting, fly in on Thursday to pick them up.

Ronny Finsaas (guide) and Jeremy Rodgers

When reaching the South Pole on 3 January 2009 from the Messner Start with Eric Larsen and his group, Jeremy and a Norwegian guide kited back Patriot Hills. One of Jeremys ski mates, Doug Oppenheim, told Explorersweb that the guide was Ronny Finsaas and that they arrived at Patriot Hills on 15 January after 10 days kiting. When Ronny is not kite skiing or para-sailing he is the chef at Patriot Hills.

Shackleton Centenary Expedition: Henry Worsley, Will Gow, Henry Adams and the 97-mile group

The home team reported that the 97-mile group had arrived at the South Pole on 19 January. Listen on their website to a short interview that the team had with their guide Matty McNair.

Henry Worsley, the leader of the group who had started from Ross Island, sent a letter to Buckingham Palace telling about the achievement of the Shackleton descendants; completing unfinished family business a hundred years after Shackletons Nimrod expedition.

Mike Horn and team

Mike, Borge Ousland, ClĂŠmence and Nicolas arrived at the South Pole on 19 January after Mike had left Hercules Inlet on 1 December 2008.

Ed note news added at 12.20 pm: According to a Mike Horn newsletter sent out on 21 January, he left the South Pole and started kiting back.

Ignacio Oficialdegui and Ramon Larramendi (guides), JesĂşs Noriega, Xavier Valbuena and Eric VillalĂłn (South Pole without Limits, Spain)

The team arrived at the South Pole on 20 January.

Keith Heger (guide, USA) Peter Lemon (UK), Maud Oortwijn (Netherlands) and Andrzej Wojda (Poland) PolarExplorers/ Northwest Passage last degree and Vinson

The home team of the Vinson climbers reported:
19 January: The Vinson team reports that they are doing well and enjoying their "stunningly enormous and breathtaking surroundings". They arrived at low camp at 10 PM last night and were in bed by around 1 AM. The daily routine on Vinson is later than during the South Pole expedition primarily to allow for the temperatures to rise in the morning. The distance from base camp to low camp is about 9 km with a 650 m gain in altitude. It took the team 5 hours.

They report that last night was the coldest feeling night of the whole trip, and that they awoke to a tent covered in frost from condensation. This is in part due to the fact that they are now 4 people in one tent, but mainly because for a majority of the night and into the morning they were in the shadow of a nearby mountain.

20 Jan. Yesterday the team attempted to reach the high camp, but turned back and returned to low camp after they determined that it would take too long to reach the high camp, given the hour of the day. It was a long day, and the team decided to take today as a rest day in preparation for the climb to high camp again tomorrow

Cristian Donoso and teams Antarctic Peninsula Kayak Expedition

Latest reported position:
Friday 16, January 2009, at 22:16 h.
Latitude: -65.17578 Longitude: -64.13609 Elevation: 0 m
Waypoint name: Peterman

Links to Antarctic 2008-09 expeditions

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

Supported return journeys, kite assisted
Mike Horn (South Africa/Switzerland)
Jeremy Rogers (UK)
Thomas Davenport (USA)

Partial routes
Ignacio Oficialdegui and Ramon Larramendi (guides) and JesĂşs Noriega, Xavier Valbuena and Eric VillalĂłn (Pol Sud Sense LĂ­mits, Spain)
Børge Ousland and team
Hannah McKeand and team
Keith Heger and PolarExplorers/ Northwest Passage Last Degree and Vinson

Other Antarctic expeditions
ANSMET Meteorite Hunters
Cristian Donoso and teams Antarctic Peninsula Kayak Expedition


Henry Worsley said he carried Shackleton's compass in his pocket, in the same way as Shackleton himself would have carried it 100 years ago. Image courtesy of (click to enlarge)
Mike Horn (second from left), Borge Ousland (right) and the two young skiers at the Geographic South Pole. Live image courtesy of (click to enlarge)
In the photo the compass, note Shackleton's initials ("EHS") scratched into the lid of the compass, noted the Shackleton Centenary home team. Image courtesy of
Traveling to Low Camp on Vinson
Camping at Low Camp
View from the tent. Above three live images over Contact 4 courtesy of Northwest Passage/ (click to enlarge)

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