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IPGA Newsletter

Issue No. 3                     May 2016

New members, executive board reshuffle and lots of activity from our IPGA guides.
After 4 years as IPGA Vice President, founding member Richard Weber has stepped down from the board to concentrate on his business. This year heralds Richard's 17th year at Arctic Lodge. Alain Hubert, also an IPGA founder, has taken up the role of Vice President. IPGA Master Guide Dixie Dansercoer was voted in as IPGA board member and we look forward to his contribution.
We welcome new IPGA guides, Matty McNair, Honorary Polar Guide; Sarah McNair-Landry, Master Polar Guide and Audun Tholfsen, Polar Guide.
Below are contributions from some of our members. Many were in Longyearbyen during the disrupted start to the North Pole season. It was great to bump in to guides as they shuffled between meetings, bars, restaurants and storage places, and even better to see them out on the ice.

Polar Guides in Svalbard


Audun 8

Ola Sinarmo, Leo Plenkin and Bengt Rotmo at Longyearbyen's airport hangar. Photo Eric Philips


Prophetic sign at Barneo. Photo: Audun Tholfsen 


Annie Aggens  IPGA Board Member
Annie just returned from another crossing of Vatnajökull in Iceland and managed to escape without any major storms. She reported that it was a great trip.
Next, Polar Explorers are off to Mt. Baker for their South Pole/Vinson Combo training. It's full on summer and they've traded Baffins for Tevas, sleds for SUP's. Annie is looking forward to heading to Antarctica for another season next autumn.     
  Annie 2
  Annie 1

Dixie Dansercoer  IPGA Master Polar Guide
Polar Circles has grown its Polar Experience division with a Belgian main retailer and representation in France, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Canada, US (in the making) and China. Dixie has four co-guides to assist him with three equipment storage locations: Novo Airbase, Queen Maud Land, Antarctica (10 sets) , Spitsbergen (20 sets), and Iceland/Greenland (10 sets).
Here is Dixie's planning for next Austral/Arctic season:

Nov 2016: Guiding an Ulvetanna ski-kiting expedition in Queen Maud Land, Antarctica (in co-operation with Icetrrek)
Jan 2017:  Guiding a sailing expedition to the Antarctic Peninsula & King George Island with freedive, kiteboard, climbing and ski-kite activities.
Feb 2017:  Guiding a Greenland expedition with ski-kite initiation.
May 2017: Guiding two Spitsbergen expeditions
April/ May/ June:  North Pole to Franz Jozef Land expedition with Alain Hubert.
Regarding equipment development, in cooperation with Mullion Dixie has finalized a drysuit with the following major ameliorations:
- weight reduction of 970g
- increased dexterity, vision and freedom of movement
- compatibility with Rotofella NNN or Salomon SNS bindings
Together with a team of engineers out of Le Mans, France, he is also working on increased sled flotation, a new concept for sailing/rowing and safety measures for open water crossings.
  Dixie 1
  Dixie 2
  Dixie 3

Conrad Dickinson  IPGA Polar Guide

A busy old year, reports Conrad, but good fun. Autumn saw a number of training courses and then on January 6th he headed to Norway with his wife Hillary to try and ski 2700km.

Despite some unseasonal 'global warming' weather and storm 'Thor', they made good progress. On day 62 Hilary did something to her lower back and they could not continue.

They met some great people, not least one of Børge's young guides Vincent, who was quite surprised to meet other people in the middle of the Hardangervidda in February.

The highlight of unseasonal weather was six days of solid rain with 1' of overwater on lakes and uncrossable streams (see photo of crossing on 2 felled trees). Crazy for March.
In April Conrad was again in Norway and Sweden. Next year includes a high Arctic kiting trip.
Conrad 1
Conrad 5
Conrad 2

Conrad 4

Conrad 3  


Christoph Höbenreich  IPGA Polar Guide

After guiding a happy bunch of polar campers on a ski-last-degree over the flat snow to the Geographic South Pole in January 2015 Christoph was looking for some steep and deep powder heliski-guiding in Kamchatka in March 2015. There he experienced some of the finest snow on Earth on the magic volcanoes in the Russian Far East.
A long weekend in June 2015 took him to Japan to climb Mount Fuji before the official climbing season started – a beautiful mountain to watch, he reports, but an ugly peak to climb.
In July 2015 Christoph sailed aboard a polar cruiseship from Svalbard to Franz Josef Land, where he experienced the first ever offical entry including passport and visa control on the archipelago. 'I had the chance to remember our historic Austrian-Russian Payer-Weyprecht-Memorial-Expedition in the footsteps of the explorers in 2005 together with Victor Boyarski', reminisced Christoph from his home in Innsbruk, Austria.
In August 2008 he took his family to the desert highlands of Iceland in a crazy 4x4 monstervan. And in November 2015 he led his 3rd and again highly-succesful exploratory ski- & mountaineering expedition to Queen Maud Land, to tackle some new peaks. See his report in the American Alpine Journal. Christoph's last heliski trip to Kamchatka in March 2016 was not so lucky due to the severe weather, difficult avalanche situation and other complications.
Next plans: If all goes well Christoph will try to explore the northern Namib sandsea close to the border of Angola with 4x4 off the beaten tracks in summer 2016. And in the next Antarctic season he is most excited  to leave the well known paths again and take another international team of avid explorers to one of the most rarely visited regions and rarely climbed peaks on Earth: Mount Sidley, 4.285m, the highest volcano in Antarctica. 'This is situated in the interior of Marie-Byrd-Land in West-Antarctica, the largest no-man´s-land on Earth', says Christoph.
   Christoph P1160657
   Christoph DSC 7350
   Christoph P3360106
   Christoph QML 2377
   Christoph DSC 7988

Alain Hubert  IPGA Master Polar Guide
In April Alain made his fourth expedition to Baffin Island, this time crossing from Igloolik to Clyde River. Alain reported it was 'an engaged ski trek of around 350km from sea to sea surrounded by an amazing and severe nature with some surprising visits like the one of caribou.'   6 Reaching the generator lake before going down Clyde River
2 Climbing up the Mc Donald River   1 Overnight when crossing  by ski doo the Fox Basin from Igloolik to Baffin
7  Got some visitors at night   5 Our camp on day 10
Børge Ousland  IPGA Master Polar Guide

Børge reported that Ousland Exploration had completed a crossing of Svartisen Glacier, Norway's second largest, with a team of 7.

Currently he has three different teams crossing Greenland from west to east followed in August by an expedition to Newtontoppen, the highest mountain on Svalbard.

Then it is the classic and more difficult crossing of Greenland east to west by skis, also in August, followed by the Northern Patagonia icecap crossing in October.
Lastly, Ousland Exploration's South Pole last degree trip will happen after xmas.
  Ousland 1
 Ousland 3  


Eric Philips  IPGA Master Polar Guide
In November last year Eric guided his annual South Pole and Emperor penguin trip with a group from China, his 6th season with them. He also met for the first time with Christoph and his team at Oasis Guesthouse who had just returned from their QML trip. Dixie also dropped in to the Guesthouse for a cup of tea during his season with White Desert.
Following this trip Eric took off on a solo two week kite-ski expedition from ALCI Airbase to the iconic QML peak, Ulvetanna and back, a distance of around 360km.
In March Eric and his daughter Mardi completed a ski tour in Svalbard. Skiing up the Rabot glacier they crossed Fimbuleisen (icecap) and descended the narrow and spectacular Noisdalen (valley) to Tempelfjorden where they were invited to stay with the rangers stationed at Fredheim hut.
April was a busy season for Icetrek. Eric guided a 14yo Australian schoolgirl and her father, filmed by Petter Nyquist, from 88.40 to NP, while Dixie guided a family of three on a last degree, and recently-endorsed IPGA guide Audun Tholfsen guided a team of 4, also from 88.40.
In Dec-Jan Eric will guide a new route to the South Pole. As part of their preparation the two participants were on the recent North Pole trip with Audun.
  Eric Tripolers
  Eric Ulvetanna15 137
  Eric Ulvetanna15 66
Eric NP 2   Eric and Mardi

Doug Stoup  IPGA Polar Guide
2016 has been an exciting year for Doug in both Antarctica and the Arctic.
He led 117 skiers to the Antarctic Peninsula in November and was busy ski guiding for much of the winter in North America, in Canada, Sun Valley, Idaho and Lake Tahoe.
This April Doug was in Spitsbergen to train with paraplegic Aron Anderson for an attempt to ski from the coast of Antarctica to the South Pole, scheduled for November.
  Doug 4
Doug 1
Doug 2


Audun Tholfsen  IPGA Polar Guide

It's hard to pin Audun down as he is constantly travelling or in the backcountry of Spitsbergen. Nevertheless he did send some photos from his North Pole trip guiding for Icetrek.

Together with 4 clients his team skied from 88.40 to the North Pole. Keith Tuffley took his fat bike to Barneo where it was much appreciated by staff and visitors.

Audun 7

Audun 5

   Audun 1Audun 2Audun 3

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Thanks to all the our contributors. Happy guiding!

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