1996-1997 ANTARCTICA

For vehicles to travel on glaciers and deep snow, belt had really traditionally been the only option. In Iceland we had made radical changes to this common practice and developed our cars to do many of the same things with much greater efficiency in many conditions. Swedish scientists had experienced our vehicles working on Icelandic glaciers with their Icelandic colleges but it took the persistence of Jón Svanþórsson who had extreme interest in Antarctica and his friends within the Swedish Polar Instituted, SWEA, to get this of the ground.
For Arctic Trucks we knew the capabilities of these solutions on Icelandic glaciers but what would Antarctica be like, this would be our first international challenge. we believed the optimal vehicle to build our solution on for this challenge would be the Land Cruiser 80, 4.2 liter diesel Manual. We took the development and alteration of these vehicles further than we had ever done before, the engineers gave the first vehicle the name “Pamela” referring to the actress Pamela Anderson.
With a team of scientist and logistics people from Sweden and Netherlands, Freyr and Jón arrived at the Antarctica ice shelf, with icebreaker Agulhas, in Antarctica in December 1997. The teams and the vehicle got offloaded onto the ice shelf on Weddell Sea. It was a big excitement to see how the vehicles would cope on the ice and later on the high plateau, to us, this was the other end of the world.
The task of the vehicles was transportation of people and equipment from the ice shelf to WASA station, various tasks around the station, a drilling expedition onto the plateau and ice-radar scanning. The vehicles and the teams performed very well and fairly comfortably completed all the planned tasks and took on some more. Working side by side with the Hagglund belt vehicles, our cars confirmed the strengths and weaknesses we had already experienced in Iceland, the Hagglunds can pull more weight but the cars travel much faster, with much lower fuel consumption, greater comfort and reliability. 

Time: December 7th 1997 to February 11th 1998.

Route:    The route from the landing point 72°3’9S 16°39’W to Wasa research station 73°05’S 13°25’W. From WASA up the Kiberg valley to the high plateau 76°S 8°03’W

Participants: Freyr Jónsson and Jón Svanþórsson from Arctic Trucks.
Cars: Land Cruiser 80 AT44 


Greenland is right next us in Iceland, huge in comparison and was a fairly unchartered territory when Arctic Trucks was approached by Lasse Rungholm from Denmark to drive across, in memorial of Fridtjof Nansen crossing of Greenland. Backed up by KNI AS Greenland, we began by assembling a team, analyzing the Greenland glacier, finding the biggest challenge to find a route onto and off the glacier. 

Nothing like this had ever been attempted with cars, we had two vehicles from the Antarctica project and to carry all the equipment and people including a crew from the Danish TV, DR1, we needed to build a 3rd vehicle for this project. 

As expected, the biggest challenge this expedition faced was to find a route from the landing side of Godthabsfjord to the glacier and then finding a route up the “ice wall” that faced them. Once on the glacier the going was until they begun coming off having to navigate through large crevasse areas. 

Upon arriving back to Isortoq, planned to be the end point of the expedition, the ship that was supposed to transport the vehicles back to Iceland could not make it into the frozen harbor. The only logical choice was to drive back across the ice cap where the harbors are ice-free all year. The expedition back was much faster and easier as the route had been set. 

Time:  May 14th – 23rd 1999
Route: From Nuuk, off the icecap to Isortoq total 800 km. Combined driving distance 4.400km
Participants:   Freyr JónssonArngrímur Hermannsson,
Hallgrímur Arngrímsson, Árni Árnason,
Valdimar GuðmundssonIngimundur Þorsteinsson
from Arctic Trucks.

Cars: Land Cruiser 80 AT44 

2007 – Magnetic North Pole

Through sales to militaries, specialized vehicles from us had been used in more countries around the world than ever by 2007. On the other hand, we had not participated in any international event for a number of years when Toyota GB contacted us and asked if we could build a Toyota Hilux to drive to the magnetic North Pole. With limited knowledge about the conditions we boldly responded that we thought so, we would study. 

The project was for BBC Top Gear, the cars should be racing a dog sled. At this point we knew very little about Top Gear and the popularity the TV program enjoyed but the challenge inspired us very much. Built on the incredible reputation of the Toyota Hilux, we needed to give it the capacity to endure the expedition without making any extreme visual changes the original vehicle. After a study of the ice and interviews with polar explorers, the distance and logistics we concluded that the AT44 conversion would not be needed and chose to use the AT38, a smaller, but still very capable Arctic Trucks build. 

Toyota GB shipped two new Hilux to  Iceland and we had 7 months to develop and test. To bring all the equipment and crew we added one of our Land Cruiser 120 also with AT38 and built an expedition trailer. 

Only on the arrival in Resolute far up north in Canada, could we test the performance of the vehicles on the ice and local snow conditions on the surrounding islands. Richard Hammond had already arrived to train with the dogs and joined us for a number of our test drives. It was not very encouraging for him that the cars drove with ease at speeds multiple to what the dogs could keep. His hope was for lots of bolder fields, ice cracks and other obstacles where the dogs would excel. When Jeremy Clarkson and James May arrived they soon started to show sympathy for the „straw“ Richard had pulled. 

The race is covered in an excellent and entertaining TV program. The team arrived at the Pole 2nd of May, took some time for rest before heading back to Resolute. The drive back was considerable easier, with some more filming we arrived back in Resolute on the 7th of May. 

It was great experience and a pleasure to work with the three presenters, the film crew and the North Pole Challenge team. 

Time: April 22nd – May 7th 2007
Route: Resolute – Bathurst Island – Helena Island – King Christian Island – west of Thor Island – Noice Peninsula – Magnetic North Pole – Total of 2000 km.
Participants: Hjalti V. Hjaltason, Haraldur Pétursson and Emil Grímsson from Arctic Trucks.
Cars: Toyota Hilux AT38, Toyota Land Cruiser 120 AT38 

Combined driving distances: 6000km 

Polar Challenge on BBC 

Top Gear episode on Amazon 

2008 - Antarctica Amundsen Omega Pole Race

To follow up the North Pole Challenge, Arctic Trucks took on an extremely challenging expedition to providing support for a ski race documented by the BBC. The program was called “On thin ice”,  starring Ben Fogel and James Cracknell, and the goal was to cover a ski race between 7 teams, the last six and a half degrees to South Pole. Before the race started, Arctic Trucks supported the teams and film crew during the acclimation phase through the mountains and onto the plateau.
Since then this has become a common route for Arctic Trucks  to the South Pole, but at this stage this route had never been driven before, which made everything more uncertain. It’s not like you can call 911 for rescue in this place! 

To be able to deliver the needed support, we undertook a task that would have taken the bigger national Antarctica programs years of planning and at least two seasons to finish. The framework we had to work with was generally believed to be impossible at this time. 

Arctic Trucks performance during the Top Gear Magnetic North Pole expedition made Tony Martin, the organizer of the event, decide to place his trust in Arctic Trucks to accomplish this big task. He was backed up by Alexey Truchin, the director of TAC and his team. 

One of our biggest uncertainties was how the vehicles would perform on the plateau, mostly in 2600 to 3400 meter altitude. We did not know what kind of snow we would find there, how the engines would cope with the high altitude and how the drive train and tires would perform in the extreme cold. We had to deliver fuel capacity of driving 1.600km and coming short of fuel was not an option. We also knew that the more we loaded the vehicles with fuel and equipment the higher the fuel consumption would be, up to the point when the vehicles would simply not be able to float on the snow. We had to decide on what spare parts to bring and what to leave behind. Jet 1A fuel was the only option and we had very limited time to test additives and engine performance. Finally we decided on a figure that each vehicle would need to take a load of 2800 kg, of which 1500 kg would need to be loaded on the car and 1300 kg on a trailer. To deliver floatation and traction with this weight we clearly needed AT44 setup. The Toyota Hilux is designed for 800kg load and strengths of all metal subsiding rapidly as the temperature decreases. It was obvious that we had a big design challenge on our hands. 

Additionally, we would have to cross a very dangerous zone to access the high plateau, the glacier that moves through the Shcerbakov mountain range is very crevassed with wide and very deep crevasses undetectable from above. 

Fortunately this expedition was very successful and ultimately Arctic Trucks gained extremely valuable experience from the expedition that laid the groundwork for future expeditions in Antarctica. The expedition was very eventful and our team  faced some extreme challenges. 

Time: November 30th 2008 to February 11th 2009 
Route: Novo airbase to South Pole to Novo airbase plus various extra. Combined driving distance: 22.000km 
Participants: Gísli Jónsson, Hjalti V. Hjaltason, Emil Grímsson from Arctic Trucks. 
Cars: Arctic Trucks Hilux AT44 

2009 – Antarctic Fuel Drop

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 fitments 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 alternatives route. 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 side, 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, the ground team assembled the 248 barrels in starches, 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 

2010 - Antarctica KNGS

The second expedition of the 2010-11 season was for the Kazakhstan National Geographic Society, KNGS. It was organized by KNGS and The Antarctica Company (TAC). 

KNGS had already bought two AT44 Hilux from Arctic Trucks and planned an expedition South Pole the following season on the 100 year anniversary of Amundsen and later Scott arriving at the South Pole. This expedition was intended for them to test the vehicles and equipment. Using one of their own AT44 Hilux and one of the original AT44 Hilux, Hlynur Sigurðsson from Arctic Trucks together with Andrey Myller from ALCI and Konstanttin Orlov and Standislav Makarenko from KNGS, took of from Novo airbase early December, heading for the fuel depot at 83 degrees. Being light weight and following the already established trail the driving was fast. After a good sleep and rest at 2000 meters they continue and finished the nearly 1500 km drive in 3 days. After a rest, the expedition decided to continue to South Pole and arrived there after 4.5 days, which was later recognised as a world record. 

The journey back was even faster arriving back at Novo airbase in 3.5 days. Not having to carry loads for other purposes and the established track resulted in the best fuel economy on this route that Arctic Trucks had experience, 2.2 km per litre. 

Time: December 4th – 16th 2010 
Route: Novo – South Pole – ca. 6000 km back and forth 
Participants: Hlynur Sigurðsson from Arctic Trucks, Andrey Myller from ALCI airbase, Konstantin Orlov and Stanislav Makarenko from KNGS. 
Cars: Two AT44 Hilux 
Combined driving distance: 9600km 

2010 – Antarctica Ski Race


The first expedition of the 2010-11 season was for the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR). 

The plan was to leave the Indian Antarctica station, Matri on the 12th November but got delayed by a day when the AT team was called in to assist the rescuing a person that had fallen into a crevasse nearby. Using the crane system on the vehicles this system and the AT team contributed greatly to safe the life of this person. 

On the 13th of November, a team of 4 vehicles left the Matri station, 3 of the first AT44 Hilux from the 2008 season and one new AT44 Hilux the Indian station had purchased from Arctic Trucks. The goal was to drive to the South Pole and visit their colleges at the South Pole station while doing some research on the way, nearly a 5000 km return expedition. The expedition safely followed the route through the mountains and arrived to the high plateau by the 16th of Nov. This early in the season it is really cold and the expedition suffered 3 days of temperature below -50C°, the Indian scientists measured -56C° at one point. 

Next to the South Pole the expedition left one vehicle with a crew from ALCI that had been flown in to prepare for another fuel drop 20km away from South Pole. 

The expedition received a warm welcome from the team at the South Pole and the expedition team enjoyed the comfort the station offers. 

The fuel drop team and vehicle rejoined the expedition on the way back and the return journey was faster, easier with a good trail established and warmer as they were now a bit later in the season. 

Arctic Trucks team consisted of highly experienced drivers/mechanics Freyr Jonsson and Eyjolfur Teitsson. The third person, Gísli Karel Elísson, joined them at the fuel drop and continued from there. One person from the ALCI airbase took part, and 8 people from the Indian scientific station MATRI. 

Time: November 13th – December 5th 2010 

Route: Novo – South Pole – Novo – 4600 km back and forth 

Participants: Freyr JónssonEyjólfur Teitsson and Gísli Karel Elísson from Arctic Trucks. Andrey Myller and Andrey Krojen? from ALCI airbase. Rasik Ravindra, Ajay Dhar, M. Javed Beg, Thamban Meloth, Pradip Malhotra, Ashit Swain, Krishnamoorty, Surat Singh from the Indian scientific station MATRI. 

Cars: 4 AT44 Hilux AT44 

Combined driving distance: 20.000km 

2010 - Iceland Eyjafjallajökull Eruption

24th of March 2010, the Icelandic Metro office requested Arctic Trucks to provide support to go the Eyjafjallajökull fix measuring equipment located around the glacier but it had started erupting. In the beginning the eruption was fairly contained and we contacted Top Gear that there might be an interesting opportunity for them to come and make something out of it. 

The Top Gear team immediately showed great interest but the team and the presenters were all booked and difficult to get them free. In the end it was decided that James May would come over and we would make a story based on one of the original North Pole AT38 Hilux. 

On the way up to the volcano the weather got really bad with snow and winds up to 30 meters pr. second resulting in zero visability. That did not stop the expedition using the GPS to navigate the expedition pushed ahead. When we came closer the eruption side the weather cleared unfolding the magnificent view of the volcano spewing gloving lava. The story is on the TV program. 

Time: April 22nd – May 7th 2007
Route: Resolute – Bathurst Island – Helena Island – King Christian Island – west of Thor Island – Noice Peninsula – Magnetic North Pole – Total of 2000 km.
Participants: Hjalti V. Hjaltason, Haraldur Pétursson and Emil Grímsson from Arctic Trucks.
Cars: Toyota Hilux AT38, Toyota Land Cruiser 120 AT38 

Combined driving distances: 6000km 

Polar Challenge on BBC 

Top Gear episode on Amazon 

2010 - Top Gear Eyjafjallajökull

March 24th of 2010, the Icelandic Metro office requested Arctic Trucks services to provide support to go to Eyjafjallajökull to fix measuring equipment located around the glacier, but it had started erupting. In the beginning the eruption was fairly contained and we notified Top Gear that there might be an interesting opportunity for them to come and make something of it. 

The Top Gear team immediately showed great interest but the team and the presenters were all booked and difficult to get them free. In the end it was decided that James May would come over and we would make a story based on one of the original North Pole AT38 Hilux. 

On the way up to the volcano, the weather got really bad with snow drifts and winds up to 30 meters per second, resulting in zero visibility. That did not stop the expedition and using GPS to navigate, the expedition pushed ahead. When we came closer the eruption side, the weather cleared, unfolding a magnificent view of the volcano spewing gloving lava. The story is on the TV program. 

Time: April 5th – 7th, 2010 

Route: Fimmvörðuháls, Eyjafjallajökull and surroundings 

Participants: A team of Arctic Trucks staff. 

Cars: Toyota Hilux AT44, Toyota Land Cruiser 120 AT44 

2011 - Antarctica Double Traverse

On the 22nd of November 2011, two AT44 and two AT44 6×6 set off from the ice self below Novo airbase. There were several objectives and goals for the expedition. The first was as a luxury ski support, skiing from 88 degrees to the South Pole. The team consisted of two AT Drivers/Mechanics/Paramedics, the EWR organizer and one more driver/support person. The first task was to drive the 2100 km to the starting point, but this was the “maiden voyage” for the newly developed Arctic Trucks 6×6 vehicles. 

Arriving at 88 degrees, the team set up a luxury camp and prepared a runway for Basler bringing in the clients. After 2-3 days of acclimation the clients started their skiing towards South Pole. Some preferred the comfort of the vehicles while others skied various parts of the daily distance, arriving at camps with tents and beds setup, the chef having already prepared dinner. 

After arriving and celebrating at the South Pole, the group headed back to a camp 20km away and waited for the TAC pickup. The runway there was covered with very soft snow, denying the airplane enough speed to get airborne in the thin air. After the trucks compressed a 4 km long runway, driving back and forth, the airplane managed to take off and with a stopover at FD83 fuel depot for refueling, the client returned to Novo airbase about 9 hours later. 

Once the VIP clients were picked up at South Pole the expedition team took off and drove to Ross Ice shelf, down the Leverett glacier along the route the NSF has established for bringing fuel to the South Pole station. The drive down to Ross was fairly fast and easy, when the team arrived there they had formally made a full Antarctica crossing from the ice shelf next to Novo airbase to the Ross Ice shelf with a stop at the South Pole. 

After a short stop at Ross Ice shelf, the team returned to the South Pole to celebrate Christmas prepare for the upcoming projects. 

After the VIP support, Ross Ice Shelf and Christmas at South Pole the team drove the 800km back to the fuel depot (FD83) to prepare for the next project, supporting BBC Blue Peter program. But first the team made a successful drive to the Pole of Inaccessibility (POI). POI is defined as the hardest place to reach in Antarctica, furthest away from ocean. The drive was very tough on the team and the vehicles, most of the route they had to drive 90 degrees on big sastrugi fields and with altitude of nearly 3800 meter the oxygen level and temperature dropped even further. At POI the team took photos by the statue of Lenin, which a Russian expedition had placed there during the cold war.
The return journey from FD83 and back to FD83 was 1000 km and the team arrived back at FD83 January 1st, after about a 3-4 day journey having to deal with some mechanical issues on one of the three vehicles. 

Having now completed over 6100 km this team took on one more project, to support a BBC TV program called Blue Peter, with Helen Skelton and Niklas Norman, an additional 3400 km on the Antarctica plateau still to go. 

Helen and Niklas had previously skied along the Shcherbakov Mountain range to acclimatize supported by other AT vehicles and crew. A TAC Basler flight took them from the top of the mountain range to FD83, the starting point for the plateau expedition, 800 km to South Pole. January 4th, Helen and Niklas started kiting, skiing and biking to the South Pole. It is a long and tough expedition, high altitude, extremely cold and definitely not bike friendly. Niklas, a highly experienced competition kiter, was very strong and Helen, who had very limited experienced dealing with these conditions, surprised most with extreme determination and strong performance. 

After arriving for the 3rd time at the South Pole, the team waited for the BBC crew to be picked up by a TAC flight. Once everyone had left the expedition, the AT team started they last part of their journey, back to the Ice shelf below Novo airbase, nearly 2500 km away. 

On the 6th February, the team arrived on the ice shelf below Novo airbase, finishing a double crossing of Antarctica and the longest expedition on the Antarctica Plateau ever, 9500km for each vehicle in total.
Combined total km drive 28.500km 

Participants: Gísli Jónsson – driver and mechanic and Guðmundur Guðjónsson – driver, mechanic and paramedic, from Arctic Trucks. 
Tony Martin, Steve and Jim from EWR. 
Cars: Two Hilux AT44 and two AT44 6X6 

2011 - Antarctica EWR Ski Race - ``Cold Sweat``

South Pole Anniversary Race 

On the 14th of December 1911 Roald Amundsen and his Norwegian team were the first people to reach the South Pole. Shortly after on the 17th of January 1912, Scott and his teammates arrived at South Pole after a very difficult journey only to find Amundsen had beaten them to it. 

Now 100 years later EWR set up a competition between 7 teams, to ski the last 7 degrees to South Pole. The first task was to carry out acclimatization 100km through the Shcherbakov mountain range. Supported by 5 AT vehicles and people from AT and EWR, plus TV crews. 3 vehicles then continued to FD83 while 2 vehicles supported the last leg and waited with the teams for a TAC flight to arrive and take the teams to FD83. Included in this was the BBC Blue Peter team. 

When the car team arrived at FD83 the team that was to support Blue Peter was already there. 

The seven ski teams arrived with two Basler flights and the race was started 4th January. During the first days the distance between the first and the last ski team became 80 km and became longer every day. One vehicle from the Blue Peter support was moved to the ski race support and the ski race support was split into two teams, front and rear, with two cars in each. As the distance between the teams continued to increase, the vehicles picked up the last teams and moved them forward to keep everyone at a safe distance for support. People pushed themselves extremely hard and in a few days a medivac flight had to be called in for one skier. 

As in the race 100 years earlier the competition quickly focused around two teams, one from Norway and another from UK (Wales). On a checkpoint mid-way to South Pole it was though clear that the Norwegian team already had a big advantage, moving incredibly fast, having perfected the camp routine, water melting and food intake down to saving seconds, giving them 18 hours of skiing every day. This got them to the South Pole on the 16th January, an incredible one week ahead of team number two. 

As the support crew waited for the last teams to arrive at South Pole, three vehicles were sent back to Novo airbase to prepare a camp there for the competitors when they would arrive with flights back from South Pole. The drive back for these 3 vehicles took less than 4 days, moving over 600km per day on the average. 

The last vehicle waited at the Pole together with the Blue Peter support until all competitors had been flown out and the returned to Novo airbase. 

Time: December 23th 2011 to January 30th 2012 

Route: Novo – South Pole – Novo – 4600 km back and forth 

Participants: Eyjólfur Már Teitsson from Arctic Trucks. 

Cars: 3x AT44 Hilux + 1x AT44 Hilux 6×6 + 2xAT44 Hilux for acclimation support 

Total combined km driven: 22.400km 

2013 – Walking with the Wounded

Walking With The Wounded – Antarctica 2013 

Walking with the Wounded is a UK based charity which funds both the retraining and re-education of wounded servicemen and women, aiming to help them find long term employment after they have left the Armed Forces. WWTW hopes to inspire other injured soldiers and raise funds for their support. 

By the time the South Pole adventure took place WWTW had already succeded in supporting a team of wounded soldiers together with Prince Harry walk the last degree to North Pole, and another team on their behalf had made an attempt to top Mount Everest the year after. 

Antarctica was set to top this all, bringing 3 international teams of wounded soldiers to ski the last 3 degrees to the South Pole. For the skiers this was an enormous challenge, but so was the organizational challenge behind all this, years of planning involving dozens of people. 

Arctic Trucks carried a big responsibility, supplying extremely challenging logistics and providing safety backup during the race. 

Starting off from Novo runway, the first task was to establish a starting point for the ski race, about two thousand kilometers away and to set up a runway for the airplane bringing in the ski teams and camera crews. The journey to the starting point was challenging, very bad weather, difficult snow conditions and heavy loads of supplies on a very tight schedule. 

At the location we had planned the starting point, 334 km from the South Pole, the whole area was covered with sastrugies and nowhere close to land a plane. After searching around for a further flat area, we ended up setting up the runway 354 km away from South Pole. 

It took two flights to bring in the ski teams and the camera crew. Landing at an altitude of 2700 meters and temperature between -30 and -40°C only few days after leaving a summer in Cape Town was a bit of as shock for some and a few suffered badly from altitude sickness. It was soon decided to give people a bit more time to get acclimatized and bring the start line 70 km closer to the South Pole, requiring the vehicles to shuttle back and forth to move all the people and equipment. 

The determination of the skiing teams to perform was very high, ultimately the challenge for a well trained un-injured people to make this distance was a big one but all the teams wanted to win and pushed really hard, constantly pushing and pulling over sastrugies– not really easy when you are blind or with prosthetic limbs. At the first checkpoint the soldiers had pushed themselves so hard that it was risky to have them in conditions like this. Ed Parker decided to stop the race and bring everyone another 70km closer to the Pole. Luckily we still had enough fuel to transport everything forward to the last degree. With the pace of the skiing slower, everyone arrived safely to the South Pole. 

After two flights having taken all teams and service crew out and one bringing in Maria Leijerstram, the Arctic Trucks team split up. Two cars returned to Novo airbase with equipment and established two more fuel points for the upcoming tractor project the following season, but the other two vehicles took Maria to the Ross Ice Shelf to start a new expedition. 

Time: November 15th 2013 – 28th December 12th 2014. 

Route: Novo airbase – South Pole – Novo airbase 

Participants: Emil Grimsson, Pálmi BaldurssonTorfi Jóhannsson and Ari Hauksson frá Arctic Trucks. 

Cars: 2 x AT44 Hilux, 2 x AT44 6X6 Hilux 

More information about the Walking with the wounded project here: 


2013 – Antarctic White Ice Project

Maria Leijerstam approached Arctic Trucks in November 2012, planning to cycle solo to the South Pole from either Hercules inlet or Ross Ice shelf. 

Cycling on snow can be a huge challenge, to cover extensive distances on a bike cycle in Antarctica looked impossible. Despite a few attempts no one had ever succeeded in reaching South Pole from the ice shelf on a bicycle. Arctic Trucks had already supported BBC program “Blue Peter” with Helen Skelton, skiing, kiting and bicycling 750km to the South Pole. From this experience we knew that „effective“ cycling was not possible for most of the route unless following a hardened path from the vehicles. 

The most logical choice was the Ross Ice Shelf and trail of the US Antarctica Traverse. 

A lot of thoughts and ideas were shared regarding the bike, tires, air pressure etc. but Maria surprised us all showing up with a Tricycle. 

Maria already knew of one or more people also attempting to be the first people to bike cycle to the South Pole so there was a feeling of competition in the air when Maria arrived at South Pole 17th Dec 2013 with the flight that was picking up the Walking With The Wounded teams. She was very eager to get started as the other two people that were also attempting this had started from Hercules Inlet a few weeks earlier. Maria was already suffering a bit from the flight to the pole and the altitude so we took off quickly from South Pole. 19 hours later we camped at the Ross Ice shelf. 

After a good night’s sleep and rest, Maria could not wait and started cycling the 650 km back to South Pole. Her plan was to do this unsupported and she started the first days on her own, we kept track of here and took photos and video but mostly she just wanted to be in her own space. The weather was excellent and the trail was hard packed and easy to cycle on. We all enjoyed the magnificent scenery but started to feel the pain Maria was going through climbing up the steep Leverett glacier with all her equipment on the bike. But she persisted, used here hands to turn the front wheels for more power and grip. At one point she had to off-loaded part of the equipment to be able to continue and had to come back down to get it. 

This way Maria finished the climb up Leverett Glacier and started cycling on flatter surfaces. At this point there was more “snow drift” in the trail and as the Tricycle has to push 3 trails through the snow the resistance becomes an obstacle. She struggled to find efficient air pressure for the tires and a put a lot of manual labour to pump up the tires with the tiny pump she carried with her. At the same time, temperature dropped considerably and the progress was very slow. 

Maria kept asking if we had information how far the other two cyclists had gone, her priority was to be the first to cycle to South Pole. One morning when we woke up, we saw her tent was down, she was gone but had left the luggage behind. From this point and to South Pole, we supported her all the way carrying food, camp equipment and etc. She was having problems with her knee and her feet getting cold so occasionally she would come into the car to warm them up. We could all see that she was in pain but said little about it and just continued and continued, finishing in less than 11 days, being the first person to cycle to South Pole and setting a new record for a human powered person to get from ice shelf to South Pole. 

From the South Pole we headed off, driving to Union Glacier, meeting up with Juan Menendez Granados a few hundred kilometers in, but he was also attempting to ski and bike to the South Pole. At Thiels Corner we encountered Daniel Burton on his bike. 

Time: December 17th to 30th 2013 

Route: South Pole – Amundsen Coast – South Pole – Patriot Hills 

Participants: Emil Grímsson and Torfi Jóhannsson from Arctic Trucks. 

Cars: 1 x AT44 Hilux, 1 x AT44 6X6 Hilux 

2013: Antarctica Willis Resilience

The Willis Resilience Expedition – Antarctica 2013 

In this expedition Willis, the global risk adviser, insurance and reinsurance broker, teamed up with the teenage explorer and climate campaigner Parker Liautaud to attempt a World Record. The purpose of the South Pole speed expedition was to help explore the impact of climate change on the planet. 

Parker Liautauds aim was to set a new speed record for traversing Antarctica from the coast to the South Pole on foot as well as becoming the youngest man ever to accomplish this on foot. 

During the Expedition, Parker and his team conducted invaluable scientific research aimed at exploring the impact of climate change. By uncovering new scientific data and enhancing our understanding of a changing world, the Expedition is deeply entwined with Willis’ core business, which is to offer risk management solutions and strategies to help clients overcome challenges and build resilience for a risky world. More information about Willis resilience Expedition here: 

Time: December 3rd to 31st 2013. 

Route: Union Glacier – South Pole – Amundsen Coast – South Pole – Novo 

Participants: Eyjólfur Már Teitsson from Arctic Trucks and the members of the Willis resilience team. 

Cars: 1 x AT44 6X6 Hilux 

2015 – Antarctica Brazillian Research

“Weather and perfect snow allowed fast forward, sometimes more than 50 km per hour in some parts up to 70 km per hour. Undoubtedly, the transportation with these vehicles is revolutionizing the polar logistics!” 

The main purpose of the expedition was to collect snow and ice core samples from the science module Criosfera 1, (S 84° W 79° 30) 540 km south of Union Glacier camp and back to Union glacier through a new route passing Criosfera 2 (S 79° 55.58’ W 094° 21.19’) and Hewette Pass which has never been driven before. Estimated route length was around 1700 km and 16 days were planned for the traverse. 

We finished this traverse in less time than expected and both faster (only 12 days) and more cost effectively than traditional traverses on snow groomers with much more load, fuel consumption and equipment. 

Time: January 5th to 17th 2015 
Route: Union Glacier – Criosfera 1 – Criosfera 2 – Union Glacier 
Participants: Eðwarð Williamsson and Hlynur Sigurðsson from Arctic Trucks, and a team of Brazilian scientists. 
Cars: 2 x AT44 6X6 Hilux

2015 – Lake Untersee

Lake Untersee is a large ice covered lake in East Antarctica. The expedition started from the ice-way at Novo in Queen Maud Land with two trucks and four team members. Goals for the expedition where to explore the route, find appropriate camping grounds at Unterssee and provide assistance to the scientific expedition already at the lake site. 

IAATO sent one observer along on this expedition to monitor Arctic Trucks operations, this was the final step in Arctic Trucks members application to the IAATO. The distance from Novo to Untersee as only 150 Km, making it just a one day drive for the trucks. The mountains surrounding the lake site rise from 1000 to 2500 meters above the ice making it a truly extraordinary place. When we arrived at the lake we came accross a group of scientists researching the lake, they guided us over to the next lake in the next valley Lake Obersee. There we found an old camp site used by German scientists a few years ago. We spent two nights at this camp site. This gave us enough time to explore the area and to watch them undertake a research scuba dive under the ice. After two amazing nights we headed back to Novo. Average speed during the drive was 35 km/h and fuel consumption was considerably lower than that we have experienced on expeditions further in land.