The Expedition Goes On
Looking at the time left, and the current level of funding it doesn't take a genius to realize that there isn't much of a chance that Kickstarter will hit the goal. However the expedition goes on. With the aid of generous sponsors, and individuals we will still make this happen. We would still like your help in making this expedition a reality. Please go to epicsouthpole.blogspot.com to see other ways you can contribute to the expedition.
The South Pole Epic
The South Pole Epic will create a documentary film about the first expedition to cross Antarctica to the South Pole by bicycle. The expedition will start at the edge of the Antarctic continent and travel about 750 miles to the South Pole. We will have to battle prevailing headwinds, extreme cold, crevasses, and sastrugi while climbing from sea level to over 9,000 feet. A documentary of the event will be created and used as a pilot for a mountain biking adventure series.
- Create a documentary film of the expedition.
- Be the first expedition to cross Antarctica to the South Pole by bicycle
- Create social media that will provide a log of the trek, and interesting facts about the expedition and about Antarctica.
- epicsouthpole.blogspot.comwww.facebook.com/SouthPoleEpic and https://www.facebook.com/SouthPoleEpic
South Pole Expeditions
South Pole expeditions are usually done using skis. Nobody has travel the 750 miles from the coast to the pole by bicycle. Thorough examination of several other expeditions that have used bicycles in Antarctica have shown that fat bikes are well suited for Antarctic travel.
Antarctica, on average, is the coldest, driest, and windiest continent, and has the highest average elevation of all the continents. The South Pole is at 9,300 feet. This means our trip to the pole will be generally uphill.
Antarctica is the coldest of Earth's continents. The coldest natural temperature ever recorded on Earth was −89.2 °C (−128.6 °F) at the Russian Vostok Station in Antarctica on 21 July 1983. For comparison, this is 11 °C (20 °F) colder than subliming dry ice. Antarctica is a frozen desert with little precipitation. Temperatures during the time frame of our expedition can range from around freezing at the coast to -40F at the South Pole.
At the edge of the continent, strong katabatic winds off the polar plateau often blow at storm force. A Katabatic wind, from the Greek word katabatikos meaning "going downhill", is a wind that carries high density air from a higher elevation down a slope under the force of gravity. Katabatic winds can rush down elevated slopes at hurricane speeds. Typical winds on our route will not reach hurricane speeds. While we will have some calm days, we can expect many days to have headwinds in the 20 to 30 mph range.
Storms can deposit large quantities of snow which can create debilitating pockets of soft powder. Crevasses, whiteouts, and sastrugi also pose formidable obstacles.
Crevasses are steep cracks in a glacier. They may be many metres deep and have almost vertical sides. They form because the internal flow of a glacier happens at different rates, in different places. They are a very dangerous hazard as fresh snow can cover the opening, causing travellers to fall into them.
Sastrugi are sharp irregular grooves or ridges formed on a snow surface by wind erosion, saltation of snow particles, and deposition, and found in polar and temperate snow regions. They differ from sand dunes in that the ridges are markedly parallel to the prevailing winds.
Large sastrugi can reach 6 feet or more in height and are especially troublesome. Traveling on the irregular surface of sastrugi can be very tiring, and can risk breaking equipment—ripples and waves are often undercut, the surface is hard and unforgiving with constant minor topographic changes between ridge and trough.
The South Pole Epic
Daniel Burton, owner of Epic Biking, and Todd Tueller will be travelling by bicycle from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole by bicycle. We will be using a fat tired bike which have 4+ inch wide tires that travel well on the top of snow. As proven by other expeditions the fat tire bikes are ideal for travel in Antarctica.
To insure success we will take three bikes, two to be ridden by Daniel and Todd, and a spare bike for redundancy. We will also bring extra parts and tools. With 5 years experience as a bicycle mechanic, Daniel will be able to make any necessary repairs or adjustments to the bicycles.
After reaching the South Pole, and if we have enough time, we will make a return trip to the start. The return trip will be easier, as we will be traveling generally downhill with a tailwind. Also as the season progresses the snow gets harder, making travel easier.
The expedition will have two Iridium phones allowing us to keep in contact with the rest of the world. We will have several POV video cameras such as the GoPro mounted to the bikes allowing us to capture video from multiple angles. We will also have a professional video camera that will be our primary video source for the documentary. We will document each day’s travel and camp events. Michael Karr, an Emmy Award winning producer will create a pilot for a network series.
Option 1 - One cyclist (Daniel solo); Photos from the expedition shared on blog and Facebook. Also some basic videos can be shared. (This option will be available to us in the event the Kickstarter project does not reach its goal)
- $69,000 Airfare, emergency support, resupply caches, and logistical support
- $15,000 Equipment (bike, tent, food, satellite phones, etc.)
- $84,000 Total
Option 2 - Two cyclists (Dan and Todd); This is the minimum required to create a documentary. The extra cyclist allows us to get video of each other while biking and in camp allowing us to get enough video to create the documentary. Successful funding of the Kickstarter project, plus non Kickstarter funds (personal and sponsorship) will allow us to do option 2.
- $135,000 Airfare, emergency support, resupply caches, and logistical support
- $30,000 Equipment (bikes, tent, food, satellite phones, etc.)
- $165,000 Total
Option 3 - Two cyclists with a professional cameraman. This will allow us the best opportunity to share what it is like to bike to the South Pole with the world. This option also improves our odds of a successful expedition by providing additional support and redundancy.
- $150,000 Airfare, emergency support, resupply caches, and logistical support
- $400,000 Video production; Cameraman and transportation for cameraman to accompany and document the expedition. Cameraman will travel on snowmobile allowing him to create the best possible video production.
- $50,000 Equipment (bikes, tents, food, satellite phones, video equipment, etc.)
- $600,000 Total
Risks and challenges
This will not be an easy task. The South Pole is at an elevation of 2,835 metres (9,301 ft) above sea level, and the start will be at sea level. Also the winds in Antarctica can be as high as 200 mph, and radiate out from the South Pole to the coast. This means we will be traveling up hill and into the wind most of the way. Also the winds can create 6 foot sastrugi or snow drifts. The fat tires with low air pressure will work great in Antarctica, but larger sastrugi will be a challenge. We will be using ALE (Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions) to plan the trip to insure the best possible chances of completion.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)