Acciona Windpowered Antarctica

  • Start date: 6/12/2011
  • End date: 01/16/2012
  • Start / end point: Novolazárevskaya Base-Patriot Hills Base
  • Total kilometers: 3,500
  • Expedition duration: 34 days
  • Challenges achieved: First expedition to reach the South Pole with a wind vehicle


The same year of the centenary of the arrival to the Geographical South Pole, Ramón Larramendi embarked on his second expedition to Antarctica with the WindSled. On this occasion, he traveled 3,500 km. The team, together with the project leader, was made up by the engineer Ignacio Oficialdegui, the photographer Javier Selva and the biologist Juan Palo Albar. It was sponsored by Acciona Company and its objective was to reach the South Pole in the first polar eco-vehicle in the world.

After months of preparation, Larramendi and his team left on December 6 for the Russian base Novolazárevskaya. Two days later, on the ‘plateau’, the assembly of the vehicle began. On this occasion it was divided into two modules (locomotive and habitability with a tent). On the 18th, the navigation began towards the South Pole, taking turns piloting thus allowing them to sail up to 20 hours a day on ice.

The unstable weather in Antarctica slowed them down during the first days, having to change the kites to control the speed, but the terrain had better conditions than Larramendi experienced in 2005 and they soon managed to do stages of up to 250 kilometers without stopping. A rhythm that did not change until December 28, when they found an area of ​​sastrugis in which it was difficult to advance bearing a weight of 1,240 kilos.


Despite the difficulties, on January 1, 2012, after 2,200 km, 19 days and 12 hours, they reached the Geographic South Pole (Latitude: 90º – Longitude: 0º). They were the first group of Spaniards to arrive at this location with a wind, therefore, non-polluting vehicle. In addition, the last stage they advanced 310 km without stopping, a new record.

After a few days of rest, in which the expedition members visited the American base Amundsen-Scott and the base scientists met the WindSled team, on January 4 Larramendi and his group resumed the journey, of which 1,300 km still remained to be covered. Ahead they previewed a complicated descent, with a terrain of sastrugis, that they managed to overcome, and very variable wind.

As of January 13, the descent became steeper, under 2,000 meters in altitude, and the temperature rose to -17ºC. 600 km away, one could see the first mountains off the coast. Finally, on January 16, after a final section of non-stop 300 kilometers, in 36 hours, they arrived at their destination, in the vicinity of Patriot Hills, where they would be picked up by a small plane that left the Union Glacier base. They had covered 3,500 km in 34 days.


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