At ~1000 km from the closest coastal point to the South Pole, it’s a fairly standard Xmas Epic distance-wise. But no-one has done it. Basically because of Katabatic wind.
(It’s Greek for “strong, constant, sole-destroying headwind”)
Let look at the previous history and current attempts.
In 2003, Doug Stoup attempted an Antarctic expedition with an especially designed Hanebrink bike, but halted his expedition after “too many days of bad weather and unworkable wind”.
Time article here.
However, she started only 165 km away as the last leg of an Antarctic triathlon, the first two being Kite-ski and cross-country skiing.
Eric Larsen gave it a go over Christmas last year. Here he is on day 1.
An experienced cold climate traveler, in 2009 he did a “Save the Poles” series and became the first person to do Everest, North and South Poles within the one year. Twitter, blog, web, video, charities, podcasts, etc, here. Poles saved, another first beckoned: to be the first person to cycle to the South Pole.
It didn’t quite work out, and prudently turned back after 10 days when it became clear, after slow progress, that he wasn’t going to make with the amount of food he had. But the 280 km was enough to give him the current Record for longest bike ride in Antarctica.
Australian Kate Leeming is also giving it a go Christmas 2013. Her hardware is more exotic: an All-Wheel-Drive-Fat-Tyre (AWDFT) bike. Engineered by Christini Technologies (who specialise in AWD motocross motorbikes).
The team includes Claudio von Planta, the documentary filmmaker of “Long Way Round” and “Long Way Down” of Ewan McGregor and Charley Boorman fame. Kate has no previous polar experience, but is currently testing equipment in Spitsbergen.
The purpose is to fight AIDS and HIV related diseases. The “media opportunities” and “sponsorship alignment” can be viewed in their brochure here.
A closer look at the star of the expedition (bike not people):
Also in the race is the South Pole Epic team, Daniel Burton and Todd Tueller of Utah (and Epic Biking) Their budget is only a fraction of Kate Leeming’s, but so far they have only raised 3% of their Kickstarter funds.
But I kind of like them – If you pledge $200 or more you will get a snowman made from snow from the South Pole
together with a certificate of authenticity:
So that’s at least 3 attempts to made all at Christmas 2013, all probably starting from roughly the same place (Hercules Inlet). They are all likely to be extremely Epic and will experience a fair share of misery that’s been likened to living inside a frozen ping-pong ball. An informed commentary here.