HALF-WAY POINT

HALF-WAY POINT


The distance between Novo and the South Pole is 2200 kilometers, and this is the half-way point. The landscape here consists of ice and very fine snow; compacted and even. Whichever direction you look, the white expanse seems infinite.

https://youtu.be/QK7kzajt5p4
INFO: WIND SPEED

INFO: WIND SPEED

NOVO STATION

NOVO STATION

The adventure starts at Novo station – a remote outpost located 75 kilometers from the Antarctic coast at Schirmacher Oasis, Queen Maud Land. This legendary location — a research station separated from land by the Lazarev Ice Shelf — has been the starting point for a many expeditions.

Even in summer, only 70 souls inhabit this place far away from the rest of the world. But this is where the Lynx Adventure airplane lands on an ice-covered runway, ready to send our team into the unknown.

https://youtu.be/Ot5beXlHkfY
SOUTH POLE

SOUTH POLE


The South Pole is the only location on Earth where all directions face north. This barren, featureless, windswept ice plateau is the home of the Amundsen-Scott Station, which has been permanently staffed since 1956. At an altitude of 2835 meters above sea level, the station sits on an ice sheet estimated to be about 2700 meters thick.

Here, much of the sunlight is reflected back into the atmosphere by the blindingly white snow. Combined with the high altitude, the climate here is astonishingly cold. In summer, from September to March, the sun continuously skirts the horizon, it’s warmth reflected into the cold blue sky.

The air humidity is near zero – like an icy desert, where snow still falls due to high winds.

https://youtu.be/03MYQm7o9Pw
WOHLTHAT MOUNTAINS

WOHLTHAT MOUNTAINS

Discovered in the late 1930s, Wohlthat Mountains is a large group of associated mountain features, located in Fimbulheimen in the central Queen Maud Land. Peaks rise up to 2970 meters.

The area has not been explored in the recent years. This is where the expedition team will attempt a first ascent – conquer a mountain for the first time.

INFO: VALKYRIE DOME

INFO: VALKYRIE DOME

THE FLIGHT TO NOVO

THE FLIGHT TO NOVO

We will fly from Finland to Capetown / South Africa, where we will pack the Russian airplane Illiusin with all our gear. The flight to Antarctica will take 5,5 hours.

We have about 3000 kg of gear with us. Everything from satellite phones to toilet paper. You name it, we most likely have it. Everything we have with us is packed in bags or boxes. On Antarctica it will take several hours to unload the plane. It will be a cold wait for us, because we are not used to the cold weather yet.

The landing on Antarctica is always a big andventure. We have passed the ”point of no return”, which means we HAVE to land, whatever the weather is like.

https://youtu.be/c0omZkKsKKg
INFO: THE TERRAIN

INFO: THE TERRAIN

Moving anywhere in Antarctica requires extensive knowledge about the terrain and the elevation. Expedition teams must always be aware of the ever-changing ice sheet, and prepare for the dangers of possible crevasses.

But it’s not only the fear of what lies under your feet – or under the snowmobile’s tracks – that expeditioners must prepare for. The surprisingly high elevations also take their toll. The Vinson Massif – the highest point on Antarctica — rises almost 5000m above sea level.

During the first 200 kilometers of the expedition, the team will climb from just 100 meters above sea level to over 3000 meters – well beyond the point at which altitude affects the human body, as well as the performance level of even the best snowmobiles.

https://youtu.be/KhBd-P6Qh98
INFO: RECORD LOW

INFO: RECORD LOW

INFO: ELEVATION

INFO: ELEVATION

#1 - ARRIVAL AT NOVO

DAY #1 ARRIVAL AT NOVO

We have arrived at Novo Station - Antarctica!

The landing was pretty smooth and now we have unloaded the plane.
So now it’s time to sort out and organize all the gear and start making the snowmobiles ready for this adventure.

A lot of work ahead!

The weather here is bright and sunny. No wind. Let’s do this!

Cheers,
Pata


#2 MAJOR HASSLE AT NOVO

DAY #2 MAJOR HASSLE

Hello from Novo!

Now we defInItely understand why people have not driven snowmobiles 2200km from Novo to the pole and back. It’s a thousand things to organize, pack, deal, fix and mix. You need to be a negotiator, diplomat, mechanical engineer, navigator, business man, and sometimes a pain in someone's ass.

Yesterday most of us got a small heart attack. Four of our sledges did not reach Antarctica! Well, off I went to discuss with the chief of the camp if they would have a big sledge we could borrow. Finally we could use a "fire truck" sledge. Great guys here in Novo!

The second heart attack came two hours ago when we heard that we will not get all the gasoline we ordered. A new logistics plan was made instantly. It could be we have to ride the final few hundred kilometers to the South Pole with only two snowmobiles. We will make the decisions then. And then we always have skies!

We finally have everything packed now and it’s getting colder. It’s going to be a long day ahead of us.

Over and out from Antarctica,
Pata

#3 X-MAS JET SKIING

DAY #3 XMAS JET SKIING

December 24th

Hello to everyone from Antarctica, and MERRY CHRISTMAS!

Today has been a looong day. We started riding yesterday morning and moved all day and all night. As I write this, the time is 06:57 in the morning and soon we’ll get some sleep.

Why we are changing our rhythm, is that it was +30 degrees in the sun! It was like we were riding through small lakes with water scooters! During the night time it’s much colder, and everything freezes, which makes it is much easier and faster to ride a snowmobile.

Anyhow, our first day riding has ended, and we are really tired. Actually, as I’m writing this to you, I have fallen asleep....two times. It’s better to stop before writing something completely nuts!

Good night from Antarctica.
Over and out.

Pata

- - -

P.S. The Image is from Pata's archive from the region, since the connections were very 'Antarctica style'. Better luck next time!

#4 BROKEN GEAR & DECISIONS

DAY #4 BROKEN GEAR & DECISIONS

December 26th

Third day of snowmobiling is now behind us and we have now passed the dangerous mountain area.

The day started with a discussion if we should split the team. Two persons would target the South Pole and the other two would focus on climbing the first ascents. This would give us a good possibility in achieving both of our targets. We finally agreed to stick together because of safety reasons and head for the pole.

Our target was to ride 150 kilometers today, but we only covered 90 km. We had constant challenges with strapping our gear and fuel properly on the sledges, which are very heavily loaded. The terrain was rough and the straps broke several times. Also one sledge is broken and can only be used for lighter items. This increases the burden on the other sledges.

We are now over an altitude of 2000 meters, which combined with the thin air on Antartica feels like 3000 meters above sea level. The altitude is putting a strain on our bodies. We feel tired and exhausted after today’s ride.

The weather is good: -10 to -20 degrees Celsius with moderate wind speeds.Tents are now up and food is ready.

Over and out.
Pata

#6 A BROKEN SLEDGE SKI

DAY #6: A BROKEN SLEDGE SKI - NO RISKS

December 28th

Hello from the ice!

In the beginning of the expedition we had +30 degrees Celsius in the sun, and snow melted into small lakes. It was like moving through soft ice cream. Now we are sitting in our tents in -40° C. The corresponding altitude shows 4400 meters. This puts an extra strain on our bodies.

Anyways, riding today was like on the sea. Sastrugi after sastrugi (waves in the snow) just kept on coming. The wind and the extreme cold weather combined with the many sastrugis finally cracked one of the skis under Pekka’s carrier sledge.

It was our biggest sled, which carried about 30% of our weight… So this means that we have to turn around even if our Lynx Commander snowmobiles have been working excellently. They have started in -40° C perfectly and have been pulling huge loads in an extremely challenging terrain.

It’s mentally tough, but then again these hard decisions sometimes have to be made. We don’t have too many options at the moment, and we will not take a risk of more things going wrong.

Even if we can not reach the South Pole, the adventure is not over. We will ride back with all our gear and then we’ll move towards the mountains to try to climb a first ascent. Let’s see how it goes!

Stay tuned.

Over and out,
Pata

#9 BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS

DAY #9: BACK TO THE MOUNTAINS

January 1

First things first: Happy New Year!

On Antarctica there is no bad weather, only good storms.

After the decision to turn around the guys who had been sitting in FD83 – a camp 750km from the pole – also decided to drive back to Novo. They were travelling with three cars, and after a couple of hours we heard that one of their cars broke down. The could not fix it, so they continued with two. It was a nice small get together on the ice. They hadn't seen people for five weeks. They helped to carry some of our gear and our broken carrier sledge back to Novo.

A storm was blowing in, so we jumped on our snowmobiles. The idea was to outrun the storm, and drive back to the mountains. We struggled with the riding and it was a cold and long 20 hours!

Finally we reached the mountains in a whiteout and pitched our tents. After that we have sat in our tents for two days. The wind is so hard we have to wear ear protection. It’s a bit like riding a train: a constant noise and the wind shakes the tent (you will see the video when we come home).

Now we will start preparing our New Years Eve. Best regards to all of you and have a really good party. We will too!

Over and out,

Pata

P.S. Our plan was to report pretty much every day, but it is very hard just putting on boots, melt snow to cook water and make food, digging out your tents etc. in -42 degrees Celsius. One update takes about two hours to make. It doesn't seem that long, but is quite a hassle. :)

#10 THE STORM IS OVER

DAY #10: THE STORM IS OVER

January 2

Yesterday we had a small celebration with good food: macaroni with sweet chili sauce. The storm seems to be over and today we had to dig very deep to find our snowmobiles. We measured that there was around one meter of packed snow near our tent. Tomorrow we will move our camp into the mountains. Until then.

Over and out from Antarctica.

Pata

#11 MOUNT SUOMI

DAY #11: MOUNT SUOMI

January 3 & 4

Mount Suomi, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica

After three days of stormy weather and spending time in our tents, the weather changed to clear sunshine and -20 C. We changed campsite to get closer to the mountains where we wanted to climb. After setting up the camp, Pata and Pekka took off around mid day skiing to the closest mountain range. We passed over a completely frozen lake and finally arrtived at the foot of the mountain. The slope was covered with ice and gravel.

The climb to the first ridge took us about four hours. On the way up we crossed a couple of crevasses. Hours later the summit ridge was reached. The temperature -26 C with moderate wind required the usage of face masks and other protective gear. We roped up when we reached the 55 degrees snow slope to the ridge. One side fell down 600 meters almost vertically and the other side 150 meters to the upper glacier.

Finally we came to the summit cone which was scrambling on loose rocks. The first ascent was completed. Visibility from the top was endless.

The mountain will be named "Mount Suomi" to honor Finland's 100 years of independence. Now there is a small part of Finland on Antarctica.

Ten hours from when we started, we finally arrived to our camp to have some well deserved delicious food.

Over and out.

The Lynx Adventure Team

#13 BUSY CLIMBERS

DAY #13: BUSY CLIMBERS

January 5

After a freezing night the morning turned out with bright sunshine. After breakfast we started our snowmobiles and went looking for mountains we could climb, because conquering Mount Suomi made us crave for more!

The first mountain was right around the corner about 7 km from our camp. We had to walk around the mountain from the other side due to crevasses and ice. After a while, the second first ascent of the trip was completed!

The second mountain of the day was a relatively easy ridge climb, but the view from the top was unbelievable: tens of mountains lined up in a row, and a frozen sea-like landscape. It was like on a different planet! We stayed half an hour at the top just admiring the view.

What would be a better way to call it a day than warm food and good company!

Pata

#15 WHITEOUT

DAY #15: WHITEOUT

January 7

The last days have been full of action. Today we climbed our fifth first ascent!

Temperatures have been varying with "warm days"(-10°c) and cold nights(-20°c to -25°c). Yesterday was an interesting day and we reached our fourth first ascent. At the top of the mountain the weather changed suddenly and the wind picked up and it started snowing. We had to descend rapidly and when we finally reached our snowmobiles, there was a complete whiteout. Visibility was less than ten meters and it was challenging to see the tracks back to our camp.

It was a long and slow ride and we finally made it back. Later in the evening we got visitors. An Icelandic team was on its way to repair their broken vehicle several hundreds of kilometers away. We enjoyed the food and they continued their journey.

Today two members of our team returned from Novo base where they have been repairing our broken sledges.

Tomorrow we're going to make a final first ascent and after that start preparations to move ourselves back to
Novo base.

Pata



#17 BACK TO THE BASECAMP

DAY #17: BACK TO THE BASECAMP

January 9

Now we are finally back in the camp of Novolazarevskaya. We didn't reach the South Pole, but still rode about 1200km. That is equivalent to driving over Greenland and back. Our second goal was to climb a first ascent and name the peak Mount Suomi. When that was done, we climbed five more first ascents.

Reaching six mountains would not have been possible without our snowmobiles which worked great in the challenging mountain terrain. As a gratitude to Lynx we will name the second mountain to "Mount LYNX"

Tomorrow we will maybe have a sauna and then start packing. At this moment the runway over here is too soft to land on, so it could be we need to fly to a Norwegian camp called Troll and then board to the Ilyushin back to Cape Town. This means the adventure continues.

At the moment we are laying in our main 8-person tent. Our beards have grown, but we didn't get that scary look in the mirror. I cleaned my hands with soap for the first time in three weeks and the smell was just luxurious.

Over and out from Novo

Pata

#18: PUTTING THE SLEDS TO A TEST

DAY #18: PUTTING THE SLEDS TO A TEST

January 10

The last days at Novo base have given us the possibility to test the Lynx Commanders without the carrier sledges and heavy loads. They are incredible machines! The power is tremendous and immediately available. Suspension is working great and especially the electronic suspension lets you drive very fast over the sastrugi, which are sharp grooves or ridges formed on the snow surface by wind erosion.

A couple of our team members tested today how fast you can go on a good surface. One reached 160km/h and the other one 158km/h!

On a good surface 60-80km/h feels like a safe speed driving longer distances without cargo. You still have enough time to react to changes on the surface. With loaded carrier sledges the average speed was 40-50km/h. The consumption is also surprisingly low for the size and power of the engine.

Today we were riding a trail with rough surface. The speed was low and suddenly a crevasse opened up in front of us through the trail. One needs to be careful when riding on Antartica!

Over and out from Novo.

Pata

THROWBACK TO THE HARDEST DAY

THROWBACK TO DAY #5: THE HARDEST 23 HOURS

This is a throwback to our hardest day on the ice.

We were gaining altitude. We could feel it in our bodies and even see it in our faces. Jóns eyes started to swell like a blowfish. He looked ten years older than he was. We all laughed at it, but always kept in mind to be careful and go slowly.

We had to ride through a mountain range to gain the polar plateau. Luckily we had a route in our GPS's that the Icelanders had scouted during the years. Under the snow the glacier was like Swiss cheese, full of crevasses. We had to stick to the route.

There was a steep hill infront of us. Pata went up first, and with nearly 800kg in three carrier sledges behind the snowmobile, he got stuck. Pekka also got stuck. Mika used some more speed and got up to the top followed by Jón. Then began a whole lot of digging, winching, fixing and mixing. Believe it or not, even a few strong words came out of our mouths. Eventually everyone got up the hill and we could continue our journey.

Ten hours later we spotted the horizon on the glacier. Endless snow and ice as far as you could see. At the same time the temperature started dropping. First -30° C and finally -40° C... The altitude based on air pressure was 4400 meters. Our Lynx Commanders had 40% less power due to this, but they did not have problems in pulling the heavily packed sledges.

This high altitude affects people in different ways. Jóns eyes kept on swelling, Pekka was suffering from a headache and Mika was exhausted. We started to have problems with our carrier sledges with suspensions and straps starting to break. It took hours to repair them in the cold.

Another five hours and we had to stop. We set up the tents in the freezing cold and crawled into our sleeping bags with all our clothes on. Pekka tried to read his book but it was frozen like a brick... The wind was picking up and nobody slept well. Next morning we woke up having big flakes of ice on the tent wall… And what happened next, you probably have read before.

#23 FLYING HOME

DAY #23: FLYING HOME

January 15

Dear folks, today we have been flying. The surface of the runway in Novo was too soft this morning for a big plane like an Ilyushin-76 to land on, so the logistics had to be planned again. I went and asked what we should do and got the answer:

"Njet problem. Normal catastrophe.”

Our Russian logistics provider knows how this is done.

First we jumped on a small plane (Twin Otter) from Novo to the Norwegian reaserch station Troll. Our equipment had already been taken care of by a DC-3 a few hours earlier. The flight to Troll took us one hour. We were packed like herrings in a tin can.

The Norwegians have a blue ice runway, so the bigger plane could land over there. After the landing everything went quickly: we just walked over the runway to the Ilyushin, sat down among other passengers and ‘whoosh’ the plane already was up in the air.

We waren't the only ones on the flight: the plane was filled with scientists and technicians from all over the world. After spending weeks on the cold and windy continent called Antarctica, everyone onboard had only one thing on their mind: going home.

Stay tuned for larger images and the documentary film!

Thank YOU for your support!

Pata

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