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Richard Weber- Kite Skiing to the South Pole

On Nov 16, 2011 a team of six adventurers flew to the continent of Antarctica. The team led by Richard Weber (Canada), and included Chris De Lapuente (Britain); Kathy Braegger and Ruth Storm (USA); Michael Archer (New Zealand). On November 22, the team started skiing from the Ronne Ice Shelf at a location called the “Messner Start”, 900 km from the South Pole. The team pulled all their supplies in sleds. Kathy Braegger had really bad luck when she developed an internal infection on the second day and had to be evacuated.  The team took the most direct route that crossed two crevasse areas. Both these regions were crossed without any incident. On day 23, Chris fell and injured his leg. He struggled on, limping badly for five more days. It became clear that not only the injury was getting worse but it was becoming extremely serious. He was evacuated after skiing about 600 km. One month later, he is still walking with crutches. After 38 days, Richard, Michael and Ruth reached the Pole. Ruth returned from the Pole by aircraft.

At the Pole, there was a re-supply of equipment. Richard and Michael spent two days re-arranging their equipment. After a frustrating period waiting four days for wind, Michael and Richard started their kite-skiing journey 1130 km back to the edge of the continent. The South Pole is at an altitude of almost 10,000 feet. Cold air flows from the Pole down toward sea level. But in the area of the Pole with are unpredictable. Richard and Michael spent ten days kiting and another three days waiting for wind. Most kiting days they covered about one degree of latitude. Their best day was 240km. They reached Hercules Inlet on the 57th day, January 17, 2012.

Travelling across Antarctica is in many ways boring; endless white, no wildlife, the Messner Route has almost no mountain scenery. Yet, Antarctica is so vast, huge, pristine (except for the US base at the South Pole), and snow surfaces are always changing. From the start to the South Pole the climb is almost 10,000 feet but it is mind boggling to think that all that climb is on top of ice. The South Pole is located on 10,000 feet of ice. It is an amazing journey. It is a long way, yet we touched just a small section of the continent.

The kite-skiiing was often frustrating because of a lack of wind and the fact we did not have all the correct equipment. At the same time, when the wind was good, flying across the surface of Antarctica was an amazing exhilarating experience. We are a couple of men aged 50 plus, with limited kite-skiing experience yet we covered over 1100 km in ten days of kiting. This year other kiting expeditions completed amazing treks, thousand of kilometres in short periods to time. No questions kite-skiing will become more and more popular in Antarctic and other parts of the world were conditions are right. I feel that I am incredibly lucky to have had the opportunity to traverse this unique landscape at the bottom of the world

Richard Weber is a world leader in polar expeditions. He has trekked to the North Pole more times than anyone in history. In 1995, he completed the only expedition to reach the North Pole and return with no outside assistance. He holds the records for the fastest North and South Pole expeditions in the Guinness Book of Records.

Read more about Richard’s adventure and the 7 items that were most critical to his Polar Expedition including 7SYSTEMS>>>

 


Richard Weber- Setting another North Pole Record

On March 3rd, Richard Weber and his son, Tessum Weber along with international adventurers, David Pierce Jones and Howard Fairbanks embark on a trek to the Geographic North Pole. The 750 km trek from northern Canada is the toughest trek on the planet.  This is Richard’s seventh full-length expedition to the North Pole and Tessum’s first expedition to the North Pole.   On April 14, 2010 they reached the North Pole in 41 days 18 hours 52 minutes.   They used 7SYSTEMS daily. 

“It’s an amazing experience that is hard to describe in a few words. I think Howard best described it when he said : Some of the best moments are taken from the worst times.  Mother Nature throws everything possible at you; storms, negative drift, whiteout, thin ice, high winds, extreme cold. You name it, we survived it.  Our team was strong, we worked together well…during the last 5 days, we only slept 11 hours in order to best the southern drift and reach the Pole as expediently as possible.

With the support 7SYSTEMS provided our bodies during the expedition, I now want to start offering it to all the polar expeditions I train.  I really believe it makes a difference.”

7 Questions from 7SYSTEMS

1. What accomplishment are you most proud of in your athletic career?

RW: In 1995 my Russian friend and I skied from Canada to the North Pole and back to Canada with no outside assistance. It took 122 days. It is the only (verified) expedition ever to go to the Pole and return without outside assistance.

2. What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

RW: Great things are done by a series of small steps brought together.

3. What motivates you to get up every day and kick your own ass?

RW: At my age I do not have to kick my ass – it comes naturally.

4. Who is the person you look up to most and why?

RW: Roald Amundsen. “Adventure is bad planning”

5. If you were stranded on an island what book would you want to have with you?

RW: A survival book!

6. What’s your favorite unhealthy snack?

RW: Nachos

7. What is the best restaurant you’ve ever been too and what did you eat there?

RW: Les Fougeres in Chelsea Quebec is my favourite restaurant.

Read more about the Weber Actic Expedition to the North Pole.