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  • Writer's pictureSiv Harstad

Follow my "Next Level Inland Solo unsupported South Pole ski-kite Expedition"

Updated: May 16, 2023

I have for several years planned to go the South Pole. My initial plan was to build a team and to do an expedition out of Chile. I had the team, 4 of us in total. 4 became 2 people and the Dare to Dream Big project - you can read more about it here.

Now in 2022 our Dare to Dream Big Antarctica expedition was again postponed. So I decided to do a "shorter" solo expedition. It has not been easy to make the the solo expedition happen, but now I am ready and will fly out tomorrow. Because there have been so much back and forth with this expedition I have not shared much about my plans beforehand. However I promise I'll share the experience afterwards.

If you want to support my GoFundMe go here

Here is the route I have planned:

In Antarctica we are now approaching summer. What does that mean? It means that it is daylight 24/7 and even midnight sun. Temperature wise I'm expecting it to range from -20C to -45C.

There are no animals to worry about in Antarctica, so it is mainly the elements that is the challenge. Of course to be on my own for 3-4 weeks, in an environment without cellphone or mail coverage can be a combination of liberating and lonesome. I normally enjoy my own company, so I am not worried about that.

Extreme expeditions are in many ways a "simple" life, that must not be confused with an easy life. Most of the day I will be busy with various activities, where the fundamental need has the most focus. Sleep, eat, go to the "bathroom" and making sure there is progress towards the goal. When I am on expeditions I like this. I love the contrast to everyday life in our busy world where we are online 24/7. And also I love the contrast of sleeping in a tent in a hash environment vs having all that I need and more at home in Norway.

Follow my progress:

You'll see my progress in the image bellow and updates on how I'm doing is bellow the image.

Day 1: December 17th flying the 4200K from Cape Town to: Queen Maud Land in Antarctica, la 5,5-6h flight. The plane we fly out with is an Ilyushin 76 TD-90 that take both passengers and cargo. In fact it can take 20 tons of cargo in addition to the passengers.

The runway where we'll be landing is a blue ice runway (it's a frozen lake) 75 km from the Antarctic coast.

Day 2 : After a 9 hour journey by Arctic truck Siv arrived at her starting position this morning. Tent up, eat and sleep before start. The temperature is minus 21 Celsius. Siv left Cape Town in 30 degrees Celsius.

Day 3 : Strong wind with strong gust. After a few attempts to start Siv decided the wind was too unstable. She stayed put.

Day 4 : Today Siv had good starting conditions - a little up-wind uphill that slowly took her up to 2535 meters above sea level. Her sled is 105 kg so it takes time to kite uphill. She is now gaining in on the polar plateau. She has had a beautiful day with blue skyes and the view of snow peaked mountains on the horizon.

Day 5 : Siv is experiencing lots of headwind today and the progress is a bit slow. Too much unstable wind and she needs to prioritize safety.

Day 6 : Strong and unstable winds makes the progress slow. Siv had to pull her sled for a bit today, and that was heavy s**t .-) Weather is good and cold night at minus 27 degrees Celsius.

Day 7 : The wind is still very unstable. The snow is packed and hard, as expected. Siv has now tackled the long uphill. She has the most beautiful camp site and is enjoying her marzipan chocolate after a long dag.

Day 8 : Christmas greetings from Siv to all of you!! She is so grateful for everyone following her journey. Her Christmas wish is a stable northern wind. Her Christmas meny is salmon with pesto, ginger bread and marzipan pig ( a Norwegian tradition - eating marzipan bread shaped as a pig on Christmas Eve )

Day 9 : Unstable winds makes the progress slow. Lovely weather with minus 25 degrees Celsius. Siv is ready for longer legs.

Day 10 : Unstable winds that died completely during the day.

Day 11 : The unstable winds continue AND finally some progress. Siv has now reached the Polar plateau and a milestone is completed. She is now at 3131 meters above sea level and enjoying the altitude. Sleeps like a baby on her Exped sleeping pad in minus 32 degrees Celsius.

Day 12 : To stay or go ? The wind has picked up and the she can only see 10 meters in front of her. She decided to stay put and enjoy tent life.

Day 13 : She is having a day of rest. Outside it is still windy and low visibility. She enjoyed a smoothie and sandwich for lunch. She hopes the weather clears up soon.

Day 14 : Still very low visibility and not able to kite. Luckily Siv is in a very unique place and she is enjoying it. She is so happy for all her followers keeping her virtual company. You may see her location her:

Day 15 : Happy New Year Siv - we are all rooting for you!! Siv wishing us all a Happy New Year, special thanks to her family and UK AR team!! She had a great day in minus 25 and lots of sastrugi after the windy days

Day 16 : Siv says the weather is better, yet still unstable winds. Mainly blues skies and cold feet and hands that defrost in the sleeping bag.

Day 17 : She woke up to strong winds. She is still experiencing unstable winds. The effective temperature is minus 44 degrees today.

Day 18 : She woke up to calm winds today. After a while the wind picked up before it dies completely. Very cold day and still a good day.

Day 19 : Siv says it was surreal to wake up to no wind. After some time a very light wind arrived. Headwind, long kite-lines and sastrugi is no fun. A lot of work today and not much to show for it.

Day 20 : Yet another day without much wind. The kite is collapsing all the time says Siv. Just one of these days when it is no wind for kiting. One tiny step closer to the goal.

Day 21 is January 6th. Siv is very happy she has finally passed 75 degrees South. Still not much wind and she has had trouble wind her stoves the past few days. Which is not ideal when she is needs to boil water at minus 38 degrees. She is really happy to see the sun every day now. Sivs current position

Day 22 : Still very little wind.

Day 23 : Very little wind and it turned into a headwind. Very challenging kite conditions. Sunny and minus 30 degrees.

Day 24 : Siv woke up to no wind at all. She spent the day fixing gear.

Day 25 : Some wind today and she was able to kite a few kilometers. Siv is hoping the kiting weather picks up. She would really like to increase her daily legs. In general she is enjoying herself. Sivs current position

Day 26 : Siv is experiencing a polar high that results in little or no wind. She clears camp every day in hope of nice wind.

Day 27 : Today Siv was able to get her largest kite up and did some kilometers of kiting. Still sunny weather.

Day 28 : The wind was pulling in the right direction today although the wind was very mild. On days like this Siv has to have 60 meter long lines on her kite. The weather is cold - minus 30 during the day ans minus 40 during the night.

Day 29 : Still a very cold day with mild wind and long kite lines. It's hard to catch the wind wind the kite. Siv works hard very day to gain progress. She is very thankful to all us followers.

Day 30 : Today is the day Siv was supposed to have reached the South Pole. Unfortunately, she is still not there. She is determined to continue as long as possible. Go Siv! Sivs current position

Day 31 : Siv continues to experience unstable and soft winds. And today she did get a short period of nice wind. She saw a plane today and that is the first glimpse of humans since the beginning of her expedition in December.

Day 32 : Siv received some challenging news today. Her seat on the last flight out is not secured after all. She is looking for options. All ideas a welcome.

Day 33 : January 18th is Sivs birthday! Happy birthday Siv and she says thank you all for the birthday greetings she has received. She woke up to zero wind and it picked up a bit after lunch. With all the sastrugi and mild wind the progress was so and so.

Day 34: Another day with little to no wind. It is now very cold and she has to be careful with a couple of toes that froze a bit much last week. Sunny cold weather down south :-) Sivs current position

Day 35 : Siv is still experiencing difficult wind conditions. The cold wind is blowing straight in to her alpine boots.

Day 36 : Finally a day with good wind conditions. All the sastrugi makes the ride feel like a labyrinth.

Day 37 : Siv woke up to strong winds and decided to make a late start.Hands and feet need to TLC.

Day 38 : January 23rd. Today started with overcast, nice kite wind and super flat light. That makes it hard to kite through the sastrugi. She has now been at 3300 meters above sea level for a month. The Antartic altitude equals 4300 in the Himalayas.

Physically she feel strong and ready do continue. Because of transport issues she will not be able to reach the South Pole this season. Trying to reach the Pole will put her at risk of not having transport out. She is very disheartened by this. Especially since her time constraints are mainly due to her late start, which in turn are were caused by several challenging people factors.

She still doesn't know when she will be picked up and be on her way back to SA. She will have more information tomorrow.

She is so grateful for all of you that hare following her quest, sending greetings and lovely messages. She is very inspired by this and sends a heartfelt thank you to all of you.

Day 39 : New day - new learning experience. Today Siv has been out looking for a space suitable as an airstrip. She has passed on weather and snow observations. She is now waiting for the transporters assessment of her findings. Sivs current position

February 6th - Siv reports that she is fine and is waiting for transport back to Cape Town, South Africa.

Dear friends

I appreciate your messages and am sorry to have worried some of you when there were no updates.

What happened was that on Saturday/Day 40 the plane came to pick me up, but unfortunately the pilot didn’t want to land. He thought the ground was too rough to land the plane after the bad weather.

Can you imagine the joy of finally getting picked up, only to see the plane disappear in the distance… I have to say, at that moment I cried.

That’s when I decided to stop posting updates, because sometimes it’s better not to know what happens until afterwards. I know most would worry more if they knew that, including my parents.

After the pilot decided not to land due to the ground conditions I learned that the only other plane on this side of the continent that could have landed where I was, was grounded because it needed to replace a part. It would at earliest get the part flown in and be repaired 5 days later.

I suddenly found myself in a very harsh reality. The season was shortly getting to an end and I was 1000km from the closest people, in one of the toughest environments in the world. I had limited supplies of food and fuel left, and would soon run out. When the temperature gets down to -40C at night you don’t last long without fuel…

When I was waiting for the plane I never worried, when the plane could not land it all changed in a moment.

Thankfully it all ended well 🙏🏻

I am safely back in Cape Town and on my way back to Norway.

When I’m back home and have visited my family I’ll share more details of my Antarctic journey. A big thanks to all of my Virtual Travel buddies🌟💜

2,054 views13 comments

14 commenti

15 feb 2023

All good. Picked up Siv at Asker (Norway) trainstation. She is as always smiling and in one pice. Looking forward to hear details from her latest trip and experiences.

Mi piace

Gillian Viljoen
Gillian Viljoen
08 feb 2023

I’m so happy to see latest report. thinking of you Siv🤗

Mi piace

27 gen 2023

Over 40 dager på isen - håper du kommer deg hjem uten for mye vanskeligheter! 🍀💪

Mi piace

Gillian Viljoen
Gillian Viljoen
19 gen 2023

Dear Siv

everything about this trip has been a challenge and yet you endure. Continue to trust in yourself and know that you are supported. Sending much love and strength.

Mi piace

Gillian Viljoen
Gillian Viljoen
17 gen 2023

You are inspiring with your determination and passion to reach your goal!

I am thinking of you

Mi piace
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