Antarctica Grand Finale: Records and Sportsmanship

Posted: Jan 23, 2012 06:58 pm EST

(ExplorersWeb) There are three ways to win a game: be first, be faster/stronger/smarter, or cheat. Now you know why tricksters spin.

Bigger than victory: Sportsmanship, Gentlemanship and Soul Riding (different words for fair play, character and respect for the game and its participants). Following a period of some skiers jockeying for media attention, this Antarctica season seems to be ending mostly in style.

Aleks Gamme

After skiing a world record 2270km alone, without airdrops or kites from Hercules Inlet to the Pole and back, short of the finish line Norwegian skier Aleks Gamme has decided to stop and wait for Cas & Jonesy to take the last steps together with them.

Cas & Jonesy

"We are making miles but we are in a world of hurt,” Aussie Cas and Jonesy tweeted earlier today, around 250 kms from target yesterday.

Felicity Aston

“After 1744km and 59 days I arrived at Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf, and completed my crossing of Antarctica," UK Felicity Aston tweeted today. Some British media are announcing the feat as the first female solo Antarctic crossing.

As mentioned in our previous report, the resupply (including a new pair of skis) Felicity had at the Pole invalidates the solo tag (compare also to sailing rules and Laura Dekker recently).
More about the definition here.

While at least Felicity's first stretch to the South Pole from the Leverette Glacier could be considered for the label, if comparing to others, for fair play it should be noted that this is about half the distance soloed by females before from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole.

Polar Explorers

Following 56 days with resupplies Polar Explorers reached the SouthPole on Jan 20 with Byrony Balen, 21, becoming the youngest Briton on this stretch.

Pole2Pole and Pat Farmer

Australian Pat Farmer finished his Pole to Pole run at the South Pole just in time to shake hands with his opponent Swedish super-trekker Johan Ernst Nilson whom he first met at the North Pole. Pat’s crew shot this video of the event:

Dixie and Sam: Personal record set on day 62

Belgian Dixie and Sam got favorable winds which took them 101 km closer to destination yesterday. “Dixie surpassed yesterday his own personal Antarctica record of 3924 km which he set together with Alain Hubert in 1998 when they both made the crossing of the Antarctic continent, a world premier: almost 4000 km with revolutionary powerkites in most difficult conditions,” reported the home team.

“Dixie and Sam have set their sights on Rune Gjeldnes' world record in Antarctica (longest unsupported kite expedition) which stands at 4804 km. With high probability, they will pass the 4000 km mark tonight.”

Eric & Sebastian

Clock is ticking for US Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland, laboring at daily mileages of about 30-60km in whiteout and dead calm vs the 100 km needed. Sebastian last checked in on January 19, 598 kilometers away from destination at HI, with only 5-6 days to finish before the season closes.

Sportsmanship in history

For more on the topic of Sportsmanship in the polar world, in this 2007 ExplorersWeb special about Gentlemen explorers our friends at the UK Long Riders Guild made a tribute to a forgotten hero - Frederick George Jackson - the man who cared for Nansen and Johansen after their nightmarish winter in the remote Franz Josef Land.

100 years ago

Just a stone's throw from Framheim, Amundsen wrote on Jan 23rd, 1912: “I had originally intended to do the last distance to Framheim, in one 20nm stretch, but the snow was so loose and deep that we had to stop after 15nm. It was more than enough for both men and dogs. Seal meat at 80° is now marked with two ski poles so that we can hurry onwards.”

Meanwhile, 13 miles from their 'Degree and half' Depot, Scott and his men suffered. “There is no doubt Evans is a good deal run down—his fingers are badly blistered and his nose is rather seriously congested with frequent frost bites,” Scott reported on January 23.

“He is very much annoyed with himself, which is not a good sign," Scott continued. "I think Wilson, Bowers and I are as fit as possible under the circumstances. Oates gets cold feet. Pray God we have something of a track to follow to the Three Degree Depot—once we pick that up we ought to be right,” Scott wrote.


Done with their field work, the meteorite hunters are back at McMurdo, classifying and packing the meteorites they retrieved from the ice in the past weeks. “These are kept in a freezer at -20 degree F with fans to get a nice wind,” they dispatched.

Antarctica/SP - General facts:

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI/TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70o 46'37S", 011o 49'26"E)
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79o 45'S, 083o 14'W).
Gateway port Punta Christchurch, New Zealand:
To US base McMurdo
(77o 50'39"S, 166o 40'22"E)

1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km
1 nm = 1.151 statute mile
1 knot = 1.852 km/h
1 degree of Latitude is 110 km

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet.
A nunatak is a peak of a mountain rising above the ice cap; sometimes covered with snow, sometimes exposed rock.

Useful links:

CONTACT 5 expedition technology
Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?
Hercules Inlet start point
2011-12 Guidelines for NGO Visitors to the South Pole Station
South Pole Station news (Bill Spindler)
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE)
Adventure Network International (ANI)
The Antarctic Company (TAC/ALCI)


Wx7 observations at Union Glacier

Amundsen's & Scott's diaries
Amundsen's book, "The South Pole"
Amundsen's diary courtesy Fram Museum
Amundsen pix, courtesy Fram Museum
Scott's diary

Space research expedition dispatches

ANSMET Meteorite hunters

List of Links to Antarctica 2011-12 teams
Classifications: Unassisted (no airdrops), unsupported (no kites/dogs/motor).

Hercules Inlet - SP - Hercules Inlet

Unassisted, unsupported:
Aleksander Gamme, Norway (solo)
Australian James Castrission and Justin Jones (Cas & Jonesy - return)

Assisted (airdrops):
Polar Explorers
Byrony Balen (With PolarExplorers)

Ross Ice Shelf - SP - Hercules Inlet

Assisted (airdrops)

Felicity Aston, UK (solo)

Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf - SP

Assisted (airdrops), supported (kites)
Pole to Pole Run Pat Farmer

Novolazarevskaya - SP - traverses

Supported (kites):
Dixie Dansercoer and Sam Deltour
Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland

Novolazarevskaya - SP (kites)
Johan Ernst Nilson

#Polar #topstory

Jonesy (left) and Cas with Gamme in middle, crossing paths on the ice on Jan 10th.
courtesy Cas & Jonesy Antarctic expedition, SOURCE
File image of Felicity Aston.
Video clip showing Pat Farmer (left) and Johan E. Nilson hugging at the South Pole.
courtesy Pat Farmer's Pole to Pole run, SOURCE
Byrony Balen, youngest Briton to reach the SP from Hercules Inlet.
courtesy Polar Explorers, SOURCE
Polar Explorers celebrating at Union Glacier.
courtesy Polar Explorers, SOURCE