Antarctica 2009: Save The Poles Expedition Officially Underway!

There has been a slow, steady build-up to the start of the Antarctic season for 2009, with expeditions arriving first in Punta Arenas, Chile, where they organize their gear and take care of last minute needs, before ALE shuttles them over to Patriot Hills. For those that are already on the ice, it has been a challenging few days, as high winds have kept them pinned down in camp, tearing through tents, and disrupting their plans. That changed today, as several teams finally hit Hercules Inlet and began their long, slow, march to the Pole.

Prominent amongst the teams that got underway are the Save The Poles Expedition, which sees Eric Larsen beginning his one year long quest to reach the North and South Pole and the summit of Everest, in an attempt to promote the use of clean energy. Eric sent back an audio dispatch today, announcing that he, along with Dongsheng Liu and Bill Hanlon, have officially gotten underway, after ALE shipped them to Hercules on one of their Twin Otter planes. It didn’t look like they’d have a chance to get on the move today though, as high winds continued this morning, but they died down long enough for the team to make the short flight from Patriot Hills, and get underway at long last.

Also underway are the team of Ryan Waters and Cecilie Skogs, who are also headed to the Pole on skis, setting out from Berkner Island. They were transferred to their starting spot last Friday, and have now been making steady progress for several days. According to their latest updates, they’ve had great weather so far, and have covered more than 42 miles in the first two days alone. The pair will go unsupported the entire way, covering nearly 840 miles in the process.

Finally, the Kaspersky Commonwealth Team also posted another update today. They are reporting that the high winds in camp at Patriot HIlls has damaged their tents, and they’ll need to make some repairs before they get going. They are currently borrowing tents from ALE, while they fix their own, and then they intend to make a short training expedition before they begin their true journey south as well. They hope to be underway in the next few days.

Looks like things are starting to get rolling down south. Should be another interesting and active year in Antarctica.

Kraig Becker

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