We are Happy to Report That Elva Made it! Image

We are happy to report that Elva made it!

Elva writes “Well its official! I am the oldest person in the Southern Hemisphere to have been to both the North Pole, the South Pole and all seven continents!


Weather was a major factor in my adventure! Because of adverse conditions we were delayed in Punta Arenas for several days. Arriving in Union Glacier, Antarctica on 17th December 2018. That night we were hit with extreme weather. Blizzards, snowstorms, whiteouts, and the katabatic winds which are peculiar to Antarctica. So it went on until 21st December, when the weather cleared temporarily. This was just long enough for us to make the 5 hour flight to the South Pole, spend several hours there and then fly back to Union Glacier.


My official certificate of achievement states that I walked to the actual geographic South Pole, unassisted and unsupported. Well I can honestly say it was exhausting and a real struggle to stand upright. Let alone walk in such strong winds and such a high altitude. I could barely walk 40 steps without having to stop to catch my breath. In fact I recall at one rest stop looking up and thinking, if I can just keep going, with 6 more rests I should be able to make it! Funny how your mind works!


So there I stood, at both the Ceremonial South Pole, and the Geographic South Pole, holding our flag. I felt so proud, so humble, so insignificant, so peaceful, so quiet, so spiritual, so exhilarated, so overawed, celebrating those incredible explorers Amundsen and Scott.

As a bonus I was taken on an internal tour of the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Base. This was a real eye-opener. How superb! Then back to Union Glacier where once again the severe weather closed in! Just my luck! The weather I mean! However, behind every cloud there is a silver lining. Mine was that this extreme weather and the katabatic winds drew all the Antarctic travellers back to the sanctuary of Union Glacier Camp. There I was in this confined space with some of the most incredible, amazing, adventurous people from all over the world. There were mountaineers, Vinson Massif, Everest and K2 climbers, extreme mountain skiers, skydivers, explorers, cross Antarctica skiers, and so on. What a privilege it was to meet and share time with them and hear first-hand of their incredible stories and adventures.


The continent itself is awesome too! So white, so vast, so many mountain ranges, so pristine and amazingly beautiful in its pure and untouched, rugged grandeur!

Knowing I have seen and experienced Antarctica at its most beautiful, and it’s most terrifying, is mind blowing for me. I am still overwhelmed and brought to tears when I think of my experience of this frozen continent.


Warmest regards and best wishes to all the COTA readers who offered well wishes and support and to COTA Insurance, the people that helped me realise my dream.”


Elva Johnson


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