21st Century Exploration

At the turn of the 20th Century reaching the South Pole was the wildest dream of the pioneers of the golden age of exploration. Today’s communications, technology & infrastructure have radically transformed Antarctic exploration opening the door to a new age of discovery.

This expedition aims to utilise modern polar knowledge & techniques that enable low impact, long distance travel at high speed to access & explore a region previously beyond the reach of independent expeditions, the most remote mountains on Earth; the Spectre in the Gothic Range of the Transantarctic Mountains.

A complete, unsupported traverse of the Antarctic continent will then be undertaken assisted by kite.

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MISSION

Antarctica will be reached aboard an Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions (ALE) flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to ALE’s logistics base, the Union Glacier Camp in the Ellsworth Mountains on 15th November 2017.

A ski equipped Twin Otter aircraft will fly the team 600 kms South to ALE’s Theill Skiway fuel depot . After refuel the aircraft will fly to a drop off point at 88˚S, 110˚W, 300 kms towards the Gothic Mountains, the aircrafts maximum return payload range.
For the next 69 days the team will be unsupported and self sufficient. A 20-day food & fuel depot for the return journey will be cached at the drop off point.

Kites will be used to travel the remaining 350 kms to the Gothic Mountains. 20 days will be spent climbing first ascents and exploring the most remote mountains on Earth. All climbs will be made in Alpine style. No fixing rope, No drill & No bolts will be carried.

 

The team will then kite 100 kms down the Scott Glacier to the Ross Ice shelf; the edge of the Antarctic continent. The return journey will require man-hauling uphill, into wind for 450 kms towards the South Pole back to their depot at the original drop off point. Favourable wind patterns can then be harnessed to kite a further 1000 kms to Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice shelf on the opposite edge of the continent. If conditions allow the team will attempt to go via the South Pole.

A final kite / man-haul journey of 100 kms will bring the team back to the Union Glacier Camp returning from Antarctica late January 2018.

THE TEAM

The 3-man international team consists of a Brit, a Frenchman & a Kiwi all of whom posses the unique skill set, experience & passion required for this extremely ambitious & complex adventure.

THE ROUTE

Travelling using both next generation snow-kite technology & traditional man- hauling techniques the expedition plans to combine an unsupported polar journey of over two thousand kilometers with the highly technical climbing & skiing objectives in the spectacular Gothic Mountains at the southern most end of the Transantarctic Mountains. Such an expedition has never been attempted before & represents the very cutting edge of 21st Century exploration.

Katabatic wind

The Antarctic Katabatic wind originates from radiational cooling of air atop the high interior plateau which averages 2500m in altitude. Since the density of air is inversely proportional to temperature, the air will flow downwards from the highest points of the plateau towards to coast. The highly predictable nature of these winds will be a key factor in the route plan & success of this expedition.

LIVE FROM THE EXPEDITION

Working for it

..but it is awesome to be here in this incredible mountain range so few have visited. There is a limited window in the year and limited opportunity in life to make things like this happen. We are…


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The long walk home

Today is nicest weather we have experienced during the whole trip. The wind howled all night and we were worried we were in for an awful first day of man hauling. It took a couple of hours to dig out…


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A Chance

Yesterday we woke to sun and no wind; exactly what we hoped for. This time we packed huge amounts of clothes and gloves in preparation for the worst. We walked up to the col leading to North side…


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