Saturday, November 26, 2011


On November 16, 2011, a team of six adventurers flew to the continent of Antarctica –Canadian Richard Weber; Briton Chris de Lapuente; Americans Kathy Braegger and Ruth Storm; New Zealander Michael Archer; and South African Howard Fairbank. The entire team started skiing from the Ronne Ice Shelf at a location called the “Messner Start,” 540-mi./900 km from the South Pole. The team plans to pull all their supplies in sleds while Howard Fairbank will ski off on his own for a solo attempt. The journey to the South Pole is expected to take about 35 days.

At the South Pole, it gets interesting: they will receive a re-supply, the skiers will change boots, skis and sleds, Ruth Storm will fly back, and Fairbank will re-join the team. Then the group will kite-ski 660-mi./1100 km back to the edge of the Antarctic continent at Hercules Inlet. The South Pole, an altitude of almost 10,000 feet, experiences cold air flowing down toward sea level. Using this wind, the team expects to reach Hercules Inlet in about 15 days and hopes to depart for home on January 12, 2012.

According to Weber, despite numerous South Pole expeditions these days, a roundtrip to the South Pole has only been completed twice in history. Once by Amundsen in 1911, and another team in 2004, but never on this route. The expedition will send text and images via satellite telephone, which can be seen at, Kathy Braegger’s website,, and Chris de Lapuente’s site,

Expedition sponsors are Fischer skis, 7Systems endurance supplements, Brother Labels (see related story), and Recon GPS. Weber considers the Recon his coolest piece of gear. The goggles have a built-in GPS display that provides speed, temperature, latitude and longitude, considered a huge advantage while kite-skiing and navigating in bad light. “No need to look down at the compass or to get out a hand held GPS. The battery can be recharged from one of our mini solar panels,” Weber blogs.