FORMER rugby star Richard Parks has made it to the Antarctic in the first leg of his mammoth challenge to climb the highest peaks in all seven continents and reach the three poles in seven months. Parks left Cardiff Bay on ...
FORMER rugby star Richard Parks has made it to the Antarctic in the first leg of his mammoth challenge to climb the highest peaks in all seven continents and reach the three poles in seven months. Parks left Cardiff Bay on December 12, flying to Punta Arenas in Chile for a connecting flight to Patriot Hills, Antarctica, where he began his trek to the South Pole on Thursday. On Friday he made it to the Union Glacier base camp with temperatures at minus 12, and is expected to reach the South Pole around December 27.
He will spend Christmas Day trekking in temperatures of minus 30 and head winds of up to 30 knots.
Parks will then have to camp out at the pole over the New Year, because he has to reach all nine peaks and poles in the same calendar year for his challenge to count as a world first. Parks aims to raise £1 million for Marie Curie Cancer Care with his record-breaking attempt.
After the South Pole, he will across the Antarctic to climb Mount Vinson, which stands at 4,897 metres.
The seven summits Parks will tackle over the next seven months are Vinson Massif in Antarctica, Aconcagua in Argentina, South America, Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Africa, Carstensz in Indonesia, Australasia, Mount Everest in Nepal, Asia, Denali in the USA, and Elbrus in Russia representing Europe.
The three poles are the North Pole, the South Pole, and the summit of Everest. You can follow Parks at
The latest update from Richard in Antarctica
19TH DECEMBER 2010
Weather bad, low visibility, we can’t fly for another 2 days to 89 degrees to start. On a trial expedition for 2 nights around Union Glacier base camp. All good.
17TH DECEMBER 2010
In Union Glacier base camp. One guy has dropped out already with frostbite, now only 4 of us. Here at Union Glacier base camp its -12 but at 89 degrees south its -30 with a 30 knot plus headwind.
16TH DECEMBER 2010
We're on standby to fly today, waiting for the weather window. We have to be ready to leave in half an hour. More patience and waiting!!
I'm in a team of 4 to ski to the pole. Facts - the pole is on NZ time, GMT +13 and Union Glacier is Chile time gmt-4! The average temp in the last degree over the last week ahs been -26 degrees C and at Union Glacier it's been between -15 and -5c air temp. The pole is at around 3000m so we have to battle altitude acclimatisation when we get dropped at 89 degrees. Frostbite of the face is the highest risk as we're skiing into a head wind, which can reduce the wind chill considerably, down to the -40 region! That combined with the sticky dry snow and heavy loads is why physically it's so tough - a marathon a day!
15TH DECEMBER 2010
I've negotiated all the airports, transfers, customs, time differences, de-briefing meetings, bag weighing, breakfasts and an almost complete lack of Spanish to be here in Punta ready to fly on to Antarctica tomorrow, weather window permitting!
I've met 2 of my 3 other team mates for the last degree, the fourth is still stuck in Santiago waiting for his lost gear! They're cool.
I had my de-brief today which was awesome and has sharpened my mind somewhat. To be sat in a room with so many great explorers, mountaineers and scientists was really cool. I've met some old and new faces already.
All my gear is sweet, in fact I'm 6kgs UNDER my allowed limit on to Antarctica which is refreshing in light of my lucky escape at Heathrow!
Today, December 14 at 6:00 p.m., Chilean time, our team (Alexander Orlov, Arvydas Avulis and Alexander Abramov) stood at the South Pole. This is a very happy event. People from American project "Ice Cube" greeted us very warmly on the ...
Today, December 14 at 6:00 p.m., Chilean time, our team (Alexander Orlov, Arvydas Avulis and Alexander Abramov) stood at the South Pole. This is a very happy event. People from American project "Ice Cube" greeted us very warmly on the Amundsen-Scott station. Everyone wanted to be photographed with us. We ourselves feel just as heroes.
The matter is, this year our team was the first reached the South Pole on skis. There were several aircraft excursion, when people just flew on trips. But on skis, we were the very first. The very first team in the world, in the winter season 2010 - 2011 years. Even the head of the station came out to meet us, although he usually does not. A group of Norwegians are going behind us. We will wait for them to fly together from the Pole to Union Glacier.
I hope that we will be in time to December 16, the guys should fly to Chili on IL-76. I'll stay to meet the new team, which will go to Mount Vinson. They are seven climbers from Russia and Ukraine.
What is very important: Arvydas became the first Lithuanian who came to the South Pole on skis. He unfolded the flag of Lithuania. It's really a remarkable event.
That's all, goodbye!
Hello, 7 Summits Club! Today we finished two-thirds part of the route. On the map, it left about 34 kms. We hope that tomorrow at the end of the day we will see on the horizon the Amundsen - Scott station (located at ...
Hello, 7 Summits Club! Today we finished two-thirds part of the route. On the map, it left about 34 kms. We hope that tomorrow at the end of the day we will see on the horizon the Amundsen - Scott station (located at the South Pole). And day after tomorrow we'll have to go until we arrive at the station. And we hope to fly away as soon as possible.
The weather is still good. The mood is excellent. Next time I'll send you a message when we will see the station.
Good luck! Good luck!
Hello, 7 Summits Club ! Today is a joyous event, we crossed the mark half of the route. This day we made 17, 5 km. We went in the accelerated tempo, and have not even tired. Now it is still 54 kilometers to the Amundsen-Scott station. We ...
Hello, 7 Summits Club ! Today is a joyous event, we crossed the mark half of the route. This day we made 17, 5 km. We went in the accelerated tempo, and have not even tired. Now it is still 54 kilometers to the Amundsen-Scott station. We are planning for 3 days to reach it, making 17-20 km per day. We hope that we will be in time for an airplane. On December 16, guys fly home, and I'll have to meet the next group at Union Glacier. These are our plans.
The Amundsen - Scott station usually is seen from 20 kms, so the last day, everybody goes in a straight line. Now we go not straight: by compass, by GPS, then the shadows, spending time for orientation. And then we will go in a straight line, it will be much easier.
The weather has now set a good idea. The weather was much worse when we throw away.
Good luck! Happy Weekend!
Leader of the expedition to the South Pole Alexander Abramov.
Hello! Leader of the expedition to the South Pole, Alexander Abramov. Today, 10 th December, we went 6 hours, again we made about 11 kilometers. The weather was not very good: a strong wind, minus thirty. The main problem is that you can ...
Hello! Leader of the expedition to the South Pole, Alexander Abramov. Today, 10 th December, we went 6 hours, again we made about 11 kilometers. The weather was not very good: a strong wind, minus thirty. The main problem is that you can not stay long during a day just to eat and drink tea. Literally 2-3 minutes and that’s all ... you're cool and must go to escape, mask misted.
In general everything is all right. We go to bed now, putting the third camp. Given the point where we landed, we have to go another 70 km. But we are not upset, we like this fact. Many thanks to those who came up with this program, "Last Degree". Excellent opportunity to feel like a man, if you're a man.
I would recommend it to try. And you'll never forget this trip.
All ... bye! Bye! Until tomorrow.
Hello, 7 Summits Club! This is Alexander Abramov from Antarctica. We are in good mood, today it was the second day of our trek on skis to the South Pole on the program "Last Degree". We passed 11 kilometers. The pace was low, and we ...
Hello, 7 Summits Club! This is Alexander Abramov from Antarctica.
We are in good mood, today it was the second day of our trek on skis to the South Pole on the program "Last Degree". We passed 11 kilometers. The pace was low, and we are thinking how to get rid of the products to be easier to go. I am pleased that we are very clearly go directly to the South Pole. In fact, the issues of navigation very difficult: there are no landmarks and the sun goes around the circle.
In general. I figured out with difficulty, I realized what was wrong in navigation yesterday.
It's very interesting: go on an absolutely barren desert in the southern hemisphere near the pole. There, its navigation very difficult. 30 degrees of frost, GPS is not work constantly, we have to introduce any amendments and go on a compass. And by the sun and the shadows, depending on time of day. By the way is a very interesting option, a person works as a sundial.
In all calculations, was made global error. Today until 3 am I thought, what is the reason and I finally managed to understand. Then, in Moscow, I'll tell you.
All kiss and hug (girls), shake a paw (boys)! Bye!
December 3, a team of 7 Summits Club landed in Antarctica. This is the first our team of the season. We follow the Program Skiing to the South Pole, a length of 111 km. The program is also called the "Last Degree». Band members: Alex ...
December 3, a team of 7 Summits Club landed in Antarctica. This is the first our team of the season. We follow the Program Skiing to the South Pole, a length of 111 km. The program is also called the "Last Degree». Band members: Alex Abramov (guide), Alexander Orlov, Arvydas Avulis (Lithuania).
So we flew to Antarctica. All day yesterday were gathering in Punta Arenas, it was a question to fly or not. Good weather was already 10 days and it began to deteriorate. Therefore, the flight was scheduled for the night. As a result, at 2 o'clock in the morning we were informed that we fly. At 5 a.m. the plane took off, and somewhere at 9 a.m. we were at Union Glacier.
This is a new airport, which the company ALE built at the new location. I can tell you: what made it fundamentally different from what was at Patriot Hills. At Patriot Hills was not bad, but here is just amazing. They brought a large number of new modules.
They are not simply shifted the airfield from place to place, they are completely modernized their camp.
Toilets now- a large modules with a metal frame with plastic trim. Inside, some pumps, all very civilized, cool. I think that in Antarctica there is no well-ordered place. Only at the South Pole, Amundsen Base - Scott .. There are cooler, of course. But the Union Glacier - this is a temporary camp, gradually approaching to civilization.
Union Glacier - a very interesting place, mountains are on all sides, very beautiful scenery. Strange, but there always windless, they say that since the opening of the camp there was no wind.
Approximately 50 people flew with us on the plane. Most of them were go to Mount Vinson (35 persons), several people go to the South Pole. We were told that one group is already working on our route, they came out 3 days ago.
Everything is going according to plan. Now we go to bed. The sun never sets, it continues to go, just becomes a night just below.
We got good skis and sleds. Tomorrow afternoon will be entirely devoted to preparation. The day after tomorrow (December 6) in the morning we will depart on 89-th degree and enter the route.
The local insurance broker has climbed the highest peak of just about every continent with family members. Two years ago, the Mallory family made headlines as the first family to reach the summit of Mount Everest. "The goal that was set 10 ...
The local insurance broker has climbed the highest peak of just about every continent with family members. Two years ago, the Mallory family made headlines as the first family to reach the summit of Mount Everest. "The goal that was set 10 years ago, was that I climb the highest mountain of every continent with at least one member of my immediate family," said Mallory, who lives in Utopia. The last mountain could well be the most challenging. But Mallory, 59, won't be going at it alone. He'll be joined by Laura, 23, and Adam, 28.
Laura, now a nurse working in Parry Sound, became the youngest Canadian woman to successfully climb Everest. Adam is an electrical engineer in Mississauga.
Second son, Alan, 25, won't be involved in this climb, but he'll be close by.
Newly married, the mechanical engineer took a job in Santiago, Chile. There could well be a family reunion when the climbing trio stops there en route to Antarctica's Mount Vinson.
Dan's wife, Barbara, won't be climbing, but she is making her own arrangements to support the climbing family, likely from a base in Chile.
The climbers are leaving Barrie Dec. 11 and hope to summit Mount Vinson sometime around Christmas.
For Laura, it's a trip of a lifetime that she agreed to go on only last week.
"I almost missed this opportunity," she said incredulously. "I was considering not going because of a job. I should have said yes right away, without thinking about it. It can change your life forever."
It all worked out in the end. She was offered to fill a maternity leave in February, a month or so after the family's return from the climb.
Antarctica is considered the bottom of the world circling the South Pole. It is almost entirely covered by ice, has no government and no permanent population, although it is something of a magnet for researchers, attracting up to 5,000 people to research stations scattered across the continent.
While Mount Vinson isn't considered the toughest of the highest peaks to climb, it is perhaps the least accessible.
"This one has a number of unique challenges," begins Mallory.
Because it is so remote, it will cost the Barrie-area family just about as much to get to as Everest did. The cost of the Everest climb for each Mallory family member was between $40,000 to $45,000, substantially less than the average $75,000 to $100,000 most people shell out to reach the top of the world.
So far, the plan is to fly to Santiago where the Mallorys will catch another flight to Punta Arenas, a city close to the size of Barrie. There the Mallorys will spend about five days getting supplies, organizing their gear and making final arrangements.
From there they will board a Russian propeller plane and land on a blue ice runway at the Patriot Hills encampment, run by an expedition support and touring company. It is a seasonal camp populated by tents during that continent's summer, from November to January.
From there, they board a smaller plane for a one-hour, 15- minute flight to Mount Vinson where they will begin their climb of the 16,200-foot mountain.
Flying from Punta Arenas costs $25,000 per person.
Oxygen isn't necessary for the climb, but there are challenges related to the air. The lower barometric pressure so close to the South Pole means the air is less dense and could feel like a mountain more than 5,000 feet taller than it actually is.
The Mallorys are preparing for the possible physiological impacts. While they each suffered from altitude sickness to some degree at Everest, none advanced to pulmonary or cerebral edema, so they're hoping their bodies will adjust on Mount Vinson as well.
The biggest challenge could well be the wind.
"I'm suspecting the winds are going to be the most unique thing we're going to be dealing with," said the senior Mallory. "But we might be lucky.
"I'm hoping for a clear day, without any wind and we'll get a magnificent view of the Ellsworth Mountains."
It's known to get as cold as -- 125 F, but it will likely be closer to -30 F during their venture.
Just the same, the Mallorys expect their experience at Everest to serve them well.
Certainly much of the gear and clothing they gathered for the Himalayan climb will, once again, be useful.
"I think we could probably live in a freezer with the gear we've got," he laughs.
The advantage is the 24 hours of sunlight.
Just the same, the weather has got to be optimal for the actual day of the climb.
Typically, the Mallorys don't use guides.
This approach served them well at Everest -- there is no better group on which to rely than family members who you trust, know and understand. Unlike solo climbers, who each have individual goals, the Mallorys know they can rely, implicitly, upon each member of their own group. No one Mallory triumphs over another.
The Mallorys have found reliance upon their own judgement to serve them well. But to get to the mountain at the bottom of the world the Mallorys have to use an outfitter and are obliged to take a guide. They will be joined by a climber from Japan. While climbing the Seven Summits was the original goal of the senior Mallory, the plan to include family members in all the climbs leaves the door open for the three children to follow in their dad's footsteps. Afterall, they've all conquered Everest.
"It's actually a feasible goal for me," said Laura, who will have four of the summits under her belt by the end of the year. "I just need someone to climb with for the others."
"I have to be the luckiest dad in the world to have all my family members interested in doing the activities I love so much," said Dan Mallory.
"We can illustrate to others that you can have this relationship with your kids and your family."
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The Seven Summits
At the beginning of this year, 275 people had climbed the seven summits - the highest mountains on the seven continents. By the beginning of next, Dan Mallory expects to add his name to that list. His accomplishments will include:
2002-- Mt. Aconcagua (6,962 m/22,841 ft.), highest mountain in South America;
2004-- Mt. McKinley (6,193m /20,320 ft.), highest in North America 2005-- Mt. Kosciuszko (2,228 m/ 7,310 ft.), highest mountain inAustralia;
2006-- Mt. Elbrus (5,642 m/18,510 ft.) -highest European peak; 2006-- Mt. Kilimanjaro (5,895 m/ 19,342 ft.), highest mountain inAfrica; 2008 - Mt. Everest (8,848 m/29,029 ft.), highest mountain inAsia; 2010 - Mt. Vinson (4,892 m/ 16,050 ft.), highest mountain inAntarctica.
Arriving in the well-known, friendly city of Punta Arenas, Alex Abramov immediately set to work. First of all - negotiations with ALE, thy must agree everything related to organization and to final payment for programs. Representatives of ...
Arriving in the well-known, friendly city of Punta Arenas, Alex Abramov immediately set to work. First of all - negotiations with ALE, thy must agree everything related to organization and to final payment for programs. Representatives of the firm told the good news: the weather in Union Glacier is good. The expectations were confirmed: due to better wind rose, landing of the IL-76 is gone with more reliability. On Saturday, the fourth flight was made, almost all equipment was delivered to Antarctica, the base camp is set. The first group at Vinson has already gone to the Camp Union Glacier.
Alex Abramov will spent three days, waiting for arrival of our first group. In the morning he took from the stock of ALE equipment left after last years season. "Now I will check, it and prepare for transportation”.
Yesterday we said “good by” to our leader, President of the 7 Summits Club Alexander Abramov to Antarctica. He flew out on Saturday morning, as a minimum, for two months. For a modest table there were spoken high words that ...
Yesterday we said “good by” to our leader, President of the 7 Summits Club Alexander Abramov to Antarctica. He flew out on Saturday morning, as a minimum, for two months. For a modest table there were spoken high words that connection with him will not be interrupted. Even in the hours and days when modern means of communication will not be able to support it. In the near future, Alexander arrived at the extreme south of Chile, the city of Punta Arenas. December 3, his team plans to fly in Antarctica. It seems to be that an airplane bridge "Continent - Union Glacier” works well and we hoped that the flight will be made on time. We will wait for messages.
Information ALE. More than 20 years ago Adventure Network International (ANI) made history by establishing a blue-ice runway at Patriot Hills and flying tourists into the interior of Antarctica. ALE purchased ANI in 2003 and continued to ...
Information ALE. More than 20 years ago Adventure Network International (ANI) made history by establishing a blue-ice runway at Patriot Hills and flying tourists into the interior of Antarctica. ALE purchased ANI in 2003 and continued to develop and improve operations in that same pioneering spirit. ALE has now completed a four year process to assess and certify a new runway that will improve flight reliability and open up new frontiers for exploration.
ALE is pleased to announce the inauguration of our new blue-ice runway and re-furbished camp at Union Glacier (79° 45'S 083° 14'W), 70 km north-west of Patriot Hills.
Union Glacier Blue-Ice Runway (SCGC) has been inspected and is a fully certified runway that can take intercontinental jets from South America. Proving flights were successfully undertaken by ALE's Ilyushin in December 2009 and January 2010. ALE's first passenger flight from Punta Arenas, Chile to SCGC will take place mid-November 2010 at the start of our 2010 Antarctic season.
After much research, ALE identified Union Glacier as a potential landing site in 2006. Two seasons of weather data was gathered and detailed surveys carried out on the blue-ice runway to determine its suitability for landing heavy aircraft, before certification by the Chilean Civil Aviation Authorities in November 2008.
ALE's new, into-wind runway will allow us to offer a more predictable flight schedule; less likelihood of delays to our programs; and enhanced logistic support in Antarctica. Henceforth, intercontinental flights will operate into SCGC. Patriot Hills will remain as our secondary runway in Antarctica.
Union Glacier Camp
The camp setting is spectacular. Scenic peaks rise in all directions providing many opportunities for technical climbing, scenic hikes, and ski touring. Surpisingly for Antarctica, there is often little wind at camp, providing a comfortable environment to relax and take it all in.
Our new Union Glacier camp is located at the base of Mount Rossman, 8km from the runway. On landing, guests will be directed to a new heated passenger terminal, where they will pick up a shuttle service to the camp. Two new, specially-adapted 4x4 passenger vans will be used for passenger shuttles.
The completely refurbished base camp now offers the height of Antarctic field comforts for up to 80 guests. ALE has made a significant investment in infrastructure and at each stage of the planning process has considered how to improve environmental standards; enhance our guests' experience; and improve operational efficiency.
Complimentary meal service is now provided in the Guide Complex at our Union Glacier Camp for Guide Companies, expeditions, and non-guided groups.
Union Glacier is an active glacier with a number of crevassed areas, so we have groomed and marked a snow road network around the camp and blue-ice runway, and to the main areas for guest activities. The whole area will be zoned to indicate safe and unsafe areas to work and travel.