2009 – Antarctica Fuel Drop

Starting Date: Nov 2, 2009

This project had two main aims, first to find a safe route onto the plateau, and secondly to go 1500 km into the plateau and prepare to receive a fuel paradrop at 83:40 degrees.

Despite careful studies, information from pilots and the experience from the expedition the previous season, the team had a few close call incidents with crevasses. ALCI had bought a GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar) and Arctic Trucks designed fittings and conducted more studies on the glacier and it‘s movement. Pushing the GPR ahead of them the team needed to backtrack a number of times and search for alternative routes. In the end they successfully established a safe route along the Shcerbakov mountain range onto the plateau.

The second task was to drive to the drop area and select a zone with fairly soft snow, where the fuel barrels would be dropped. On the way the team stopped at the Mia crash site, where a Basler aircraft had crashed the previous season, relaying status information to the airplane retrieval team to arrive later. After selecting a drop zone, the team waited for the right weather and for the Ilyushin Il-76 to arrive. The fuel drop was successful and the ground team stacked the 248 barrels, ready to service flights going to and from from South Pole.

On the return journey the team re-scanned the route they had established through the mountains confirming the safety of the route and then return to Novo airbase.

Time:      November 2nd – 30th 2009
Route:    Drove from Novo to 83.20 latitude. Combined driving distance 6.000km
Participants:    Gísli Jónsson, Freyr Jónsson, Andrey Myller and Mike Herbert. Gisli Karel further supported the team and did maintenance on the other two vehicles at the airbase
Cars:      Two AT44 Hilux