German skier Roland Krueger at the South Pole

Posted: Jan 13, 2013 07:31 pm EST

(Newsdesk) Solo skier Roland Krueger arrived at the South Pole on January 12th at 23h30, unassisted (no resupplies) and unsupported (no kite support); becoming the first German to ski solo to the South Pole. He started at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner Start) on November 23rd. The route covers 890 km as the crow flies.

Roland's intention was to continue skiing after the South Pole to traverse the continent and end at the bottom of the Axel Heiberg Glacier at the Ross Ice Shelf, "but troublesome conditions this year has seen him loose 8-9 days giving him making the task impossible," says Lars Ebbesen from his home team to ExplorersWeb.

"He has not had one single day with good weather and hard surface, but a mass of heavy whiteout, 4 snowfalls, one big storm with snow next to the Pole, monster sastrugi probably not seen for many years that tore the runners off his sledge (seems the same happened to Hannah), sastrugi lasting all the way to 88°35'S," added Lars.

Ed note: Usually the sastrugi would flatten at crossing 88 degrees South, but this year the unusual high sastrugi stretched well into 88 degrees.

About the last day's travel Roland reported through his blog that he started late because it took an hour to dig out his tent and sled after the snowstorm.

Other skiers

Hannah McKeand (UK) and Eeron Oura (Finland) arrived at the Pole on January 9th. They were the only other team that started at the Ronne Filchner Ice Shelf. The other 3 teams started at Hercules Inlet.

On January 12th American Aaron Linsdau was at S88° 52.861', W081° 21.244. He reported a few windless hours, which were warm, even at -20°C.

"I was literally down to my shirt with my parka and jacket wrapped around my waist it was so hot. It's kinda weird it's not hot but the solar radiation here is so intense it just cooks ya and my goggles didn't ice up, they fogged decently but I couldn't break down any farther than that," he reported.

About the surface he said, "Not too bad of camp ground, the surface continues to be soft and mushy, I've been warned that is pretty much the way it's going to be all the way to the Pole. I did get a chance to speak with Hannah McKeand last night, gave me some pointers on how to try and maintain my goggles and get that all up and at this point I'm just having challenges trying to maintain and keep that and I think I'm just gonna cover my face with bandaids and hopefully that'll all do it so I''l actually will look like Bossk the Bounty Hunter from Empire Strikes Back, that'll be an interesting look that's for sure."

On January 11th Vilborg Arna Gissurardottir from Iceland has been skiing for 54 days and was at S89° 09.222', W81° 40.956'. She seems to keep a pace of 20km per day and is closing in on the Pole.

Richard Parks has encountered denser and "absolutely massive" sastrugi for 5 of his 9 hours skiing on January 12th. "You can’t ski over them they were about a meter and a half tall, some bigger than me so I had to ski around them." He was nearing the notorious 87 degrees. Latest reported miles skied 790.82km / 491miles.

Richard says he is at 1,962m/6,437ft in altitude. "It’s hard to say if the altitude is affecting me, it’s probably just fatigue rather than the altitude but I am certainly taking a little longer to get going in the mornings and the legs are feeling heavier."

The Hercules Inlet route starts at 80°S and covers a distance of 1130 km to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.
The start point at the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf (Messner route) covers a distance of 890 km to the Geographic South Pole at 90°S.

1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km
1 nm = 1.151 miles
1 knot = 1.852 km/h
1 degree of Latitude is 110 km / 60 nm / 70 miles
Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet
A nunatak is a top of a mountain visible above the snow surface.

South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position:
S82°06.696, E055°01.951
Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South

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

Expeditions/adventures/projects with RSS feeds can be followed in the live Dispatch stream at the Pythom App for iPhone and on Android as well as at ExplorersWeb.

Previous - South Pole ski wrap-up: Hannah McKeand and Eero Oura at the Pole

ExplorersWeb South Pole Expedition List

AdventureStats Polar Statistics

South Pole speed record special: Polar Express - leaving from where, exactly?

AdventureStats Special: What is Solo?

Polar Rules of Adventure

NOAA South Pole Live Camera



Roland Krueger at the South Pole December 2005 as part of a unassisted, unsupported ski group to the Pole, also from the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf.
courtesy Roland Krueger, SOURCE