ExWeb interview with Faysal Hanneche, "I learned to be patient on Antarctica"

Posted: Oct 19, 2014 03:37 pm EDT

 

(Correne Coetzer) Last year the Frenchman attempted an Antarctic kite-ski traverse starting out from Novolazarevskaya Base. Already delayed in South Africa, after landing at Novo storms continued, which meant more delays. This made him impatient, says Faysal Hanneche to ExplorersWeb, and instead of waiting out the weather he started kiting, which eventually cost him his expedition.

 

Next month Faysal is again leaving for Cape Town, South Africa to make another solo unassisted kite-ski attempt from Novo via the Geographic South Pole to Hercules Inlet. His scheduled fly-in time to Antarctica with ALCI/TAC is November 11, weather depending. ExWeb checked in with him.

 

ExplorersWeb: What have you learned from last year that you will do different this year?

 

Faysal: I learned a lot. Failure is a good teacher.

 

I learned to be patient. Last year, I was so enthusiast but also so impatient that it made me do stupid things: because of exceptionally bad weather conditions, I got late on the plan. I wanted so much to go out and cover some distances that it made me be impatient and in stead of staying in the tent and wait in the warmth, I went out with my kite facing a very crazy-tricky wind. I crashed my knee and lost a kite. 

 

The funny story was that few kilometers from me, my brother of misery, Geoff Wilson, was also loosing his kite. Antarctica has no mercy but it’s a good teacher.

 

Except for the mindset, I'll make very small changes on equipment. I think that for a first attempt, I was well prepared.

 

ExplorersWeb: What have you learned from Geoff Wilson’s expedition? 

 

Faysal: I learned a lot from the man: good mood, modesty… and he did it. Nobody can take that way from him and there is a lot of things to yearn from the one who done it.

 

More practically, the guy is a real kiter and he took a lot of kites compared to me. I was even thinking (and maybe laughing) that he was taking way too much. The result, now, is that I take more than he took himself.

 

We really become very good friends and I am really happy that we did not turn like those too many expeditions were people were just hating each others. We weren’t Amundsen and Scott, Kragge and Fiennes, but we were Geoff and Faysal and that was the old good time.

 

ExplorersWeb: How did you training program look like?

 

Faysal: Very simple but careful because I had a broken knee. First, I put my head together. Then, I recovered that right knee. When I saw that I could avoid an operation, I went to rehab and slowly trained. Then, I went back to Finse, in Norway; for the mind and the body.

 

And for finish, I have eaten. I have eaten all that I could grab. And the worst is that I feel good about that. I lost 12 kilos and the last expedition and Geoff lost 22 kilos. Sometimes, I do some swimming or walking in the mountains of Vercors, near my home town (Valence), in France.

 

I know what you are thinking: "the guy doesn’t do that much”, but, try to go around to find sponsors and you'll find out that’s some kind of sport. More seriously, it’s good to be in good shape but there is so little time to get a real training program and what is very useful, on expedition, is the routine. Get the routine and you get half of the expedition.

 

ExplorersWeb: What do you still have to do on your to-do list?

 

Faysal: I still have to find a return ticket for me and my equipment. It would be funny to get stuck in Punta Arena after all. I also need 3000 euros to pay the logistic. If I keep running around the way I do, I should be ready just on time.

 

ExplorersWeb: How much food do you take and how heavy do you estimate your sled will be?

 

Faysal: For the food and gasoline, it’s about 1,2 kilos per day. Last year, I used a very special pot called, "the magic pot”, made by Hovard Svidal and I have been burning only 2 liters over 3 weeks. So, this year, I'm taking less. The sledge should be lighter. Maybe around 160 kilos. More would be insane to pull. I was pulling 180 kilos on the last expedition and it was hell on heart.

 

ExplorersWeb: What type of kites do you take with?

 

Faysal: I'm mostly taking ski-sails (Wolf Beringer) and 2 kites. About the size, I can’t tell right now, but I swear that I'll tell you that, and why, when I return.

 

ExplorersWeb: Anything else?

 

Faysal: I'm expecting the unexpected for the next trip but I have a little advantage compare to last year: I have already been there.

 

I also want to say that when we fail like I did, we must face it and try to turn it into something good. I was thinking about those navigators like the great Eric Tabarly, doing a race around the world. Sometimes, they break the boat but do you think that they will never get into a boat again? I know the answer and I use it as inspiration.

 

In the Arctic Spring of 2013 Faysal skied 400 km to the Geographic North Pole. Read Faysal’s Biography here.

 

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa: 

To ALCI /TAC 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

 

Hercules Inlet is located at 80°S near Union Glacier, 1130 km from the Geographic South Pole

South Pole of Inaccessibility 2011-12 position: 

S82°06.696, E055°01.951

Geographic South Pole: 90 degrees South

 

A "solo" ski requires an unassisted status (therefore no supplies carried by pilots or car drivers, or anything received from any person).

 

 

Previous/Related

 

 

Rules and Regulations in No-Man's Land: ExWeb interview with ALE's Steve Jones

 

 

Union Glacier start-up team to Antarctica

 

South Pole 2013 update: Solo kiter evacuated

 

Geoff Wilson, post South Pole traverse interview

 

Faysal Hanneche’s website:

http://www.faysal-hanneche.com/

 

Mount Sidley, Antarctica’s highest volcano accessible to climbers

 

Polar Tech Week Roundup: 2014/2015 Recommendations

 

Your Smart Phone going Global: Review of Iridium Go

 

ExWeb Special: 2014 Polar Tech Roundtable Conference

 

A journey to the South Pole in a wheelchair

 

Antarctica video trilogy

 

Video: Second 2012-13 Ilyushin-76 flight lands at Union Glacier, Antarctica

 

AdventureStats and Rules of Adventure

 

Adventure Network International (ANI) / ALE

Antarctic Logistics Centre International (ALCI) / TAC

 

 

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#southpole2014-15

#antarctica

 

 

 

"I learned to be patient. Last year, I was so enthusiast but also so impatient that it made me do stupid things," says Faysal Hanneche about his attempt last year to kite across Antarctica.
courtesy Faysal Hanneche, SOURCE
Geoff Wilson and Faysal Hanneche boarding the ACLI Ilyushin-76 in Cape Town, South Africa, on November 12th, 2013.
courtesy Geoff Wilson, SOURCE
Faysal about Geoff Wilson: "the guy is a real kiter and he took a lot of kites compared to me. I was even thinking (and maybe laughing) that he was taking way too many. The result, now, is that I take more than he took himself."
courtesy Faysal Hanneche, SOURCE
In the 2013 Arctic Spring Faysal skied 400 km to the Geographic North Pole.
courtesy Faysal Hanneche, SOURCE
"Except for the mindset, I'll make very small changes on equipment. I think that for a first attempt, I was well prepared."
courtesy Faysal Hanneche, SOURCE
"I learned a lot. Failure is a good teacher."
courtesy Faysal Hanneche, SOURCE
"[Last year on Antarctica] I wanted so much to go out and cover some distances that it made me be impatient and in stead of staying in the tent and wait in the warmth, I went out with my kite facing a very crazy-tricky wind. I crashed my knee and lost a kite."
courtesy Faysal Hanneche, SOURCE