Antarctic crossing teams: Tough start for Rune

Posted: Nov 07, 2005 03:55 pm EST

Norwegian Rune Gjeldnes set-off on his solo Antarctic crossing yesterday, after stormy weather held up his departure over the weekend. Rune had hoped to get underway by Friday; barely 24 hours after a plane dropped him at Novolazarevskaya station. While his will be a solo crossing, Rune is not alone on the ice. The Spanish trio made up by Ramon Larramendi, Juanma Viu and Ignacio Oficialdegui is also departing on their own Antarctic crossing from the Russian station.

The weather was much better today," reported Rune's home team. "Luckily he could finally get started on his expedition which he fondly calls "The Longest March".

Crawling 5,5 km

The area is much steeper than it looks in the photos, and headwind prevented him from using the kites. Rune had to drop down on all fours several times just to advance a few inches. In spite of the heavy sledge and poor wind direction, Rune managed to cover a distance of over 5 km, and is very pleased that he could at last start the expedition.

Spaniards to leave Wednesday

The Spanish team is still at Novo base, busy with the preparations. The guys have completed assembly of their polar sledge, and expect to have all systems go by Wednesday, November 9th.

In 2000, Rune Gjeldnes and Torry Larsen set out to cross the Arctic Ocean. They started out in Russia and stepped on the ice during the pitch black Arctic winter.

What followed was a journey of epic proportions. By the end of the journey, the guys had lost almost everything - their sleds, their gear - and were finally picked up close to Canadian territory wearing only a backpack. The doctor's of a small research station that examined them on arrival said that Rune and Torry were only 48 hours away from death. They had been out on the ice for 109 days.

In his current Antarctic crossing, Rune is off on a skiing kite ride covering 4600 km, approximately 800 km longer than the previous skiing expedition record. He is going solo and without air drops..

Ramón Larramendi is leading a three-man team on a 4500km traverse across Eastern Antarctica, riding a large kite-powered sled. After years of testing and improving the sled, Ramon is ready and convinced, It is fast, durable, powerful, maneuverable, and clean, he told Explorersweb.

Having tested the sled on four Greenland traverses, Ramon's ultimate goal is to complete the longest Antarctic un-motorized traverse ever, without resupplies.


Not easy to be a techie 2005 explorer. Over the weekend, in addition to their usual hardships, expeditions around the Globe tried desperately to connect to the Iridium satellite system - to no avail. One of the last images sent live over Contact 3.0 and Iridium, courtesy of Rune Gjeldnes (Antarctica crossing).
He had never even been to the South Pole, yet his plan was grand. He would cross the entire continent sea to sea and try to beat all previous unsupported ski-kiting distance records there. He dubbed his expedition The longest March. (Click to enlarge).
The Spanish team is currently getting everything ready to leave on Wednesday. In the image, the large polar sledge is taken off the plane, piece by piece. Image sent live over Contact 3.0 courtesy of Ignacio Oficialdegui - Trans Antartica Expedition.

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