Base to the South Pole

Expedition News-Official Website

From 15.11.2008 to 20.01.2009 - Status: success

Hercules Inlet - South Pole

Hercules Inlet - South Pole

© International Polar Foundation

Led by their 24-year-old guide, Sarah McNair-Landry, four tourists are attempting what has become the classic Antarctic route between Hercules Inlet and the South Pole. Their names are Tom Davenport, Steven Gates, Kari Gundeso and Ross Maxwell.

This project is what is known in polar jargon as a ‘commercial' expedition. This means the team is made up of a group of people who do not necessarily know one another and who all decided individually one day to embark on a great adventure in the Antarctic. And when this is the case, most of these people take on the trek from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. As they are generally beginners in polar adventuring and although the route is a well-worn one, it is not without its dangers. They have to organise their trek through a tour operator, which was selected according to its reputation and experience. They also choose their guide. This person is a professional and will accompany them throughout their entire journey. These adventures are extremely expensive - we will highlight their cost in another release later in the season.

This particular expedition 'Base to the South Pole' is made up of five members.

  • Tom Davenport: born in 1960 in England, but has spent much of his life in Canada. Tom is a fan of any sport that has anything to do with the cold and currently lives in Maryland with his wife and son. He has been to the Arctic three times to prepare for this trip.
  • Steven Gates: 40, Australian. A veteran of numerous major expeditions, Steven spent six months in 1988-89 on a tour of duty for the Australian army visiting a number of Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands. He has also crossed the Simpson Desert, descended several white-water rivers, paddled from New Zealand to Sydney by kayak, etc.
  • Ross Maxwell: a 50-year-old New Zealander with several triathlons to his credit. Ross has dived many times in polar waters.
  • Kari Gundeso: a Norwegian who is remarkably familiar with cold climates and has already completed a crossing of Greenland.
  • Sarah McNair-Landry; their guide. A member of the Landry McNair family of professional guides, Sarah became the youngest woman to reach the South Pole in the company of her mother and young brother (see the expedition Kites on Ice in 2004-05 at our old website). Since then, she has crossed Greenland before reaching the North Pole in 2006 with sled dogs, accompanied by two British explorers.

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