Aloha Antarctica 2011/12

Expedition to the South Pole and Transantarctic Crossing

Aloha Antarctica is a South Pole Skiing Expedition and Transantarctic Crossing. On November 7th 2011 Armin Wirth of Germany and Dieter Staudinger of Austria, residing in Canada, will depart from Cape Town, South Africa to the Russian airbase Novo in Antarctica. From Novo they will board a short flight to the starting point of their expedition, which is in proximity of the South African Antarctic Research station, SANAE IV. Once there, about 2,200km (1370 mi) separate the two explorers from their first goal, the South Pole. They will ski, pulling each 150kg (330 lbs.) of supplies in their sleds and use kites if wind conditions are favourable. Aloha Antarctica is the first expedition to attempt this completely uncharted and unexplored route to the South Pole. Once the two have reached the South Pole, their next goal is Hercules Inlet on the Ronne Ice Shelf. While this route is known, it is yet another 1,100km (683 mi). On January 27th, 2012 Armin Wirth and Dieter Staudinger will depart Antarctica from the Union Glacier Camp to Puntas Arenas, Chile.

Maps of Antarctica for Download (Source: Bundesamt für Kartographie und Geodäsie)

Expedition to the South Pole and Transantarctic Crossing


  • Armin Wirth (39) / Germany
  • Dieter Staudinger (35) / Austria (resident of Canada)

Expedition Start:

  • November 7th: Flight with Russian Ilyushin IL-76 from Cape Town, South Africa to Russian Antarctic Airbase Novolazarevskaya (Novo). (70°46? S / 11°49? E)
  • November 8th: Flight with Canadian operated Basler BT-67 on skis from Novo to vicinity of South African Antarctic Research Station SANAE IV. (72° 40` S / 2° 50` W)

Goal #1:    

  • South Pole. Distance from SANAE IV approximately 2200km (1370 mi)
  • First expedition on this route.
  • Completely unexplored

Goal #2:

  • Hercules Inlet on Ronne Ice Shelf. (80° 5`S / 78° 30`W)
  • Distance from South Pole approximately 1100km (683 mi)
  • Known route.
  • Previously explored

Elevation Progression:

  • From approximately 600m (1,950 feet) above sea level to approximately 3,200m (10,500 feet) on top of the Polar ice cap. Due to low oxygen partial pressure on Polar ice cap perceived altitude is approximately 4,000+ meters (13,100+ feet) above sea level.


  • January 27th departure with Ilyushin IL-76TD from Union Glacier (79°47?S / 82°53?W) to Puntas Arenas, Chile

Total Distance:    

  • 3,200km (1,998mi)

Mode of transport:

  • On Skis, pulling sleds (pulkas). Use of kites when wind

Sled weight:

  • Approximately 150kg (330 lbs.) per pulka

Flysurfer Kite sizes:

  • 6m2 to 19m2 (65sq. ft. to 205sq. ft.)


  • -20°C to -40°C (Wind-chill up to -60°C)
  • -4°F to -40°F (Wind-chill up to -76°F)


  • 0 – 60 knots (0 to 100km/h) (0 to 70mph)


  • Freeze dried food rations (5000 – 7000 calories/day)


  • Voice and data transmission via Iridium Satellite network
  • Daily updates to our ICEBLOG on

Preparation time:

  • 3 years


  • One step at a time – one day at a time


  • Never eat yellow snow!

Biggest challenges:

  • Avoid disorientation in whiteouts
  • Kiting in high and gusty winds
  • Not to let one’s own thoughts drive one mad
  • Don’t fall into crevasses
  • Avoid frostbite and blisters
  • Stay focussed and calm under (time-) pressure