Ski from the Coast of Antarctica (Hercules Inlet) to the South Pole and back, completely unsupported and unassisted.
- Guinness World Record for Longest Unsupported Ski expedition
- First ever unsupported and unassisted ski expedition from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole and back.
Distance Covered: 2275km
Days on the Ice: 89 days
Combined Weight Loss: 56kg
Initial sled weight: 160+kgs each
On October 29th 2011 Cas and Jonesy set off from Hercules Inlet after acclimatisation at the Union Glacier base. The prior day, rival Aleksander Gamme had set off - he had set himself the goal of doing the exact same journey. (Due to a logistical issue, some of Cas and Jonesy’s stores were left on the illuyshin -76 cargo planer allowing Aleks to get a headstart).
After beginning the journey, unseasonal snow fall in the first 2 weeks and constant whiteouts saw incredibly slow progress. By the end of the first month in Antarctica, the boys has only completed 300km of the 2275km. With only two months remaining the journey looked to be impossible.
Daily progress slowly increased during the second month of the journey as temperatures rose and the sleds lightened. By leaving food caches behind at key milestones, the boys were able to lighten their sleds considerably. On Day 62 of the journey they reached the South Pole…with 27 days left to complete the return journey. Aleks was 5 days ahead at this point of the journey.
On the return portion of the expedition, Cas and Jonesy had to ski marathon a day over the next 27 days to return to their start point. It was brutal month. The boys battled infection, starving and sleep deprived bodies skiing close to 15hours and 50kilometres each day on the return.
On January 26th 2012 (Australia Day) the boys skied the final kilometres to Hercules Inlet, only to find rival Aleks Gamme, waiting 3km short of the finish line. Waiting so they could all finish this journey together.
Everything that was required for three months on the most inhospitable continent on Earth was carried in two Acapulka (http://www.acapulka.com/englisch/home.html) sleds. At the beginning of the expedition they weighed over 160kgs each. The sleds carried approximately 96kgs and 15litres of fuel each. As well as a comprehensive medical kit containing everything from antibiotics to everyday medicine, and spares and repairs for all the critical bits of equipment.
Cas and Jonesy maintained constant communication with their support team and authorities down in Antarctica via satellite communication and their Tracplus tracking equipment. Power was maintained through the use of solar panels and stored in Human Edge Tech Power 50 batteries. These were also used to charge the Macbook Air laptop, GPS, iPods, still and video cameras.
The expedition clothing was provided by the The North Face with the exception of the Merino woolbase layers were provided by Icebreaker.
The Skis used on the expedition were reinforced Fischer E99 cross Country ski’s with a NNNBC binding and the boot used an Alfa North Pole Extreme with home made overboot made by Matty Mcnair. The Tent used on the expedition was a VE25 tent from The North Face.
Everything that was taken on the expedition was donated to the Australian Powerhouse Museum and can be viewed at 500 Harris St, Ultimo NSW 2007
There have been so many people that we’re indebted to for helping us on this journey. In particular the following people formed a crucial portion of the team that enabled us to complete this expedition
Bec Riel - Expedition Logistical Manager
David Johnston - Expedition Engineer
Eric Philips - Chief Antarctic and Polar Advisor
Mia Ballenden - Expedition Dietitian
Wade Tink - Expedition Crisis Operations
Ben Barin - Digital Media Advice
Sarah, Eric and Matty McNair - Polar and Training Advisor
Dr. Glenn Singleman - Expedition Doctor
Tom Smitheringdale - Polar and Training Advisor
Peter Treseder - Polar and Training Advisor
Kevin Biggar - Polar and Training Advisor
Christian Eide - Polar and Training Advisor
Hannah Mckeand - Polar and Training Advisor
Jen Hamilton - Exercise Physiologist and training advice
Liane Shatrov - Physiologist
Dr. Ken Crichton - Orthopaedic specialist
and of course….Alex Gamme (and Wilson).
This expedition would not have been possible without without the financial, media and product support from the following companies: (Perhaps these would be best visually represented)
- Sony Australia
- Travelscene American Express
- The North Face
- King and Wood Mallesons
- Hachette Australia
- Channel Seven
- The Business Success Team
- Find My Super
- Resi Mortgage Corporation
- Dual Australia
- Paddy Pallin
- Australian Geographic
- Dick Smith Foods
- Fiberglass International
- Back Country Cuisine
- Chess Industries
- Rudy Project
- Wilderness Sports