Sunday, 23 December 2007 00:00

Getting there, pain is easing...

Day 42 - 23rd December

Camp; Tagney family, Black valley.
Position: S87.0658, W084.5356
Temperature: -19c to -23c
Weather: good snow condition, blue skies.

Distance; 20.2km 7 hrs

327 km to go 810 km complete.

Much better form today and had an enjoyable day navigating and was delighted that we were only 9 meters off course at the end of the day.

All my weight has been distributed to Clare, Shaun and Jon. I am very lucky that we are well down on weight as we get closer to the pole. As well as being very proud at how the team has rallied together.

Clare has taken the tent, shovel, 1 personal bag and some of my food. Adding an extra 20kg to her sled.

Jon has taken 1 personal bag weighing 12kgs and another weighing 3kg adding an extra 15kg to his sled.

Shaun has taken stoves and fuel = 8kg as well as 1 personal bag 5 kg. Total = 13kg

As well as that they take turns pulling my sled attached to there’s which now weighs 20kg. All of this is helping me recover, as well as the medical treatment from Clare with heavy doses of medication.

Hopefully by tomorrow I should be able to start pulling my sled again if the pain easies. I will try in the afternoon to put some weight on my back to see how I react to it. If its ok, I will ramp up to full weight in my sled by the time we reach our rest day.

Cross fingers, I don’t do further damage and that its not to soon to put pressure on my back. Clare, Shaun and Jon have offered to carry all my load until the rest day, if the weight reacts on my back.

The cold today was severe -23c.

camp; Tagney family.
I am very honoured that I have been accepted as one of their own. In one of the most beautiful places in the world. Thank you for all the good times over the years. Happy Christmas from the ice
Published in South Pole 2007-08
Friday, 21 December 2007 00:00

Day 40 It's all about teamwork...

Day 40 21/12/07

Camp; Mike Barry.

Position: S86.7014, W085.5313
Temperature: -15cto -18c
Weather: sunshine and visibility.
Distance; 20.2km 7hrs skiing

It’s all about teamwork…..

We have now all had our good days and bad days so far on Antarctic. The one advantage of having a hand picked team is loyalty to each other, the goal as well as having a very strong team. Today once again the team spirit shone through.

My darkest day was yesterday when I hurt my back while filming, and for a small period I thought that was it for me. The team rallied to my distressed state of despair.

Today to give my back a chance to recover, Clare, Jon and Shaun distributed all of my gear between them and made me ski free of all weight to give my strained back a chance to recover. Even though I felt guilty, it was either rest it for a few days or move. We are now limited on time due to food supply and have lost a few days due to slow progress because of bad weather. We still have 1 or 2 spare days for rest or injuries and will reserve them till needed. We will push on to near 88 degrees south before our next rest day.

while Clare, Jon and Shaun carried my gear today, I navigated all day as part of my duties for being relieved of weight. We had good visibility and snow conditions. I was in agony for the first 5 hours, but as the day went by the pain eased. Tomorrow we will adapt the same procedure and hope the pain goes before I carry weight.


Today, it was like traveling on a moonscape landscape. It is the first time in Antarctic since we started our journey 40 days ago that we got a chance to appreciate the beauty off this harsh barren icy desert. Up to now we have been dogged with storms, katabatic wins, blizzards, whiteout and no contrast days and soft snow. Lets hope this is the beginning of some good weather for a change. We could really do with some sunshine in our life.

Our target for the next few days until my back gets better is to cover a minimum of 20km at worst. we should de doing between 24-26km a day, but for now we’d be happy with 20km.


Just getting home sick, thinking of what everyone at home are getting up to for Christmas. More about that in the next few days.

Camp; I’d like to dedicate this camp site to my fellow adventurer Mike Barry, Mags and family.

Mike completed his journey to the pole from the edge of the continent in 2004 on the 20th January. The first
Irish man to reach the South Pole.
Published in South Pole 2007-08
Wednesday, 19 December 2007 00:00

A miserable white out...

Day 38 19th December

A miserable white out…

Position: S86.4957, W085.8810.
Temperature: average – 13c
Weather: Started clear, within 2 hours we had white out.

391 km to go.

We just can’t get away from this bad weather system. It seems like, it is just following us on our route. The snow condition improved overnight and our morning began well. Sun, no wind and all the signs that we would travel a good distance. However within two hours the weather changed. The weather system came in again from the North- East, bringing cloud cover and snow.

We just pushed hard through the miserable conditions, we were lucky that the snow had firmed up, which eased the pressure of pulling the sled. By end of our day we returned a reasonable distance for our effort, 25.9km. We are worried, as no one can tell us how this weather system that we are in will go.

The weather here in Antarctic so far for us is like Irish weather, we can have all seasons in one day. Well this isn’t a holiday, its an expedition. So far the weather has not been kind to us, so we just have to except what is been thrown at us and get on with the task of getting to the Pole.

We will hope tomorrow brings an improvement.

The good news is that we have hit another milestone. We are now in the 300’s and have 391 km’s to go. Lots of hard work to do yet and lots of problems to solve in the next few weeks. The team are in good spirits but loosing weight fast. As we say in Ireland, it’s not over until the fat lady sings.

Good night as we dream about good weather.

To the Pole…
Published in South Pole 2007-08
Monday, 12 November 2007 00:00

Only 1100km to go!

Camp name – Niall Foley
Date: 12/11/07
Position: S80.04.999, W080.33.044
Temperature: -10
Weather: sun and a 20kt wind
Distance to Pole: 1107km

The most incredible flight took us from Chile to Patriot Hills on Antarctica a distance of 3000km. From the ‘bomb’ sighting windows on the underbelly of the plane, the Antarctic peninsula looked like we were flying on a different planet. Our Russian pilots were very professional and put us down safely on the 3km blue ice runway in conditions most would consider unsafe.

We sorted our gear yet again, then made camp. During the night we had some of the worst katabatic winds Patriot Hills has ever seen. Gusts of over 60knts destroyed Joel’s tent, a member of the South African team (ours have performed brilliantly). The winds continued through all of the day and so all flights to our start point, Hercules Inlet were postponed. This gave us a day to sleep, relaxation, practice our camp craft and mingle with the other teams. Temperature here is about -15c don’t want to think what the windchill is.

Woke up this morning to blue sky, moderate winds, Mike Sharp said our flight to the start point would be at 11:00am, we were the 1st expedition to the inlet. The flight in the small ski equipped Twin Otter was exhilarating and after 5 attempts at landing we were safely down. The snow is very wind blown here and so the amazing Canadian pilots would just barely touch down and if the snow was too rough, they would throttle up and find somewhere else to land. A quick goodbye and the plane was gone and suddenly we had started our long walk to the pole, we had arrived at Hercules Inlet on the edge of the continent, 1100km to go.

We think it should take us 3 days to ski the 50km back to Patriot Hills, but we will take it easy, we need to get used to the skiing, sleds, the cold, and the food it has only been 2 months since we got off the Greenland icecap.

The 4 sleds, the James Caird, The Dudley Docker, Stancomb Wills and Jack have performed well, especially across the dry and crystaline snow that we have had today. Now we are tucked up in our tents, fed and watered, recouperating for the long day ahead tomorrow.
Published in South Pole 2007-08
Thursday, 11 October 2007 00:00

Press release on Beyond Endurance TV series


“Explorers wanted: ordinary men and women wanted for an extraordinary adventure”. 700 intrigued Irish men and women responded to this advertisement in the press. BEYOND ENDURANCE is a four-part series that follows this group of wannabe explorers as they attempt to make it through the selection trials and go to the harsh Antarctic terrain of South Georgia in their attempt to follow in the footsteps of Sir Ernest Shackleton.

In 1916, Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica to reach the South Pole. His expedition fell foul of the treacherous conditions of the Weddell Sea and the journey turned into an epic battle for survival in one of the harshest environments in the world. 90 years on, in the anniversary year, renowned adventurer Pat Falvey plans to take a group of enthusiastic but vastly inexperienced explorers on a trip to Antarctica to follow in Shackleton’s footsteps. BEYOND ENDURANCE will provide the ultimate in reality TV as it takes a cast of ordinary people doing extraordinary things in some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world. This series will offer viewers an accessible but surprising television experience as they witness the transformation of ordinary people from couch potatoes to hardened travelers, pushing themselves to limits they never thought possible.

The commitment is a leap into the unknown. For a start, anyone wanting to take part has to hand over €15,000. They also have to take part on a number of trials which take place in Co. Kerry, and Norway. Using an observational approach, the series will see them struggle with both the elements and their own physical limitations to learn the outdoor skills necessary to survive in the Antarctic.

A number of unlikely candidates step forward. Mary Casey, a 56 year old mother of four, from the Innishowen Peninsula of Donegal. They say a women of my age should know better, I say that it’s because I’m a woman my age I know better, do it better, and relish the challenge!
Cliff Reid from Athy, Co Kildare, a student with serious fundraising needs. “I come from Shackleton’s home town, and felt we should have a representative. No one came forward so I gave up the fags and the drink, and decided to see if I could make a go of it myself…”

Retired fireman Jerry Aherne, from Cork. Sporting a handlebar moustache and a copy of ‘Unsung Hero’, the book about the life of explorer Tom Crean, he leapt at the chance to emulate his heroes. “I want to know what these men endured, and I want to find out if I am up to the physical and mental challenge. “

Expedition leader Pat Falvey started out life in the construction industry, eventually swapping his concrete mixer for a set of crampons. He has summated Everest twice and completed over 50 successful expeditions across the world. Falvey has put his house on the line to guarantee the huge costs associated with this madcap scheme. He has made commitments. A ship capable of withstanding the most inhospitable seas has been chartered and now Falvey must run a successful expedition to cover his costs. He needs to recoup over half a million Euro, or he goes bust.

The training for and expedition to South Georgia, which the series follows, is only part of the overall Beyond Endurance Expedition. Pat and the rest of the team are to complete the expedition's final objective by skiing to the South Pole and beyond. They leave Ireland on the 1st of November and will spend at least 60 days on the Ice.

This will be the ultimate reality TV show that sends people quite literally to the end of the earth…

The series was filmed in High Definition using Sony cameras by Steve O'Reilly and Niall Foley and is produced by Karen Rodgers of PANACHE TELEVISION for RTE. Four half-hour documentaries will be shown weekly on RTE 1 at 7pm, beginning on 23rd October.

Published in Past Projects
Sunday, 09 September 2007 00:00

Team Safe - Success!!

photo: Shaun, Clare, Johnathon and Pat. Johnathon was on a different team while in Greenland.

Following a phone call at 16:45pm irish time, 13:45pm Greenland time, Pat Falvey, Clare O'Leary and Shaun Menzies have just come off the edge of the Greenland ice cap on to their first solid ground in 31 days.

Pat was very excited and there was lots of banter and laughing going on in the background as they meet with the first people in weeks which were there to collect them and drive them to Kangelussak about 10 miles away where i imagine a big meal, long shower or bath and about 5 or more pints are on the cards.

The trio have gained massive experience and preparation for their South Pole attempt in Nov/Dec.

They had a very testing time especially as they approached the end. With such a short distance to the freedom of finally taking off their skiis ahead, they battled through the maze of melt water and persisted where I'm sure others have packed it in.

Well Done
Published in Greenland 2007
Wednesday, 04 February 2009 00:00

'Middle of Nowhere' pilot info

The format will allow the viewers to feel as if they are part of the conversation. The setting will be a very warm and easy environment with multiple cameras covering the conversation as it happens.

The conversation would naturally traverse all the human feelings and physical dilemmas possible that adventurers face; from the physical environment to the emotional side of extreme endeavors, the spiritual significance, and the mental fortitude necessary to finish the trip.

Each explorer will tell the stories, anecdotes, jokes?etc. of their adventures. Of course, no one person will dominate the evening. Scientists, camera people, guides, various and sundry who accompany different excursions also have a turn at describing the highlights of their adventure.

The host will masterfully guide the conversation so that it feels like exactly that, a conversation. Informality is the key, IE: the waiter taking food and drink orders may well make it into the final cut of the show.

We have moments where explorers tell us who they are inspired by, who they emulate and why. What their sense of adventure means within the context of their family, friends and colleagues. So we cover the history of other magnificent achievements as well.

In the end, result, we expect the experience to be greater than the sum of its parts. The explorers will give, and also gain from each other. The audience will feel connected and included in the lives of many they will know, and many they will come to know.


Adventurer, Explorer, Motivational speaker, Team trainer, Author, Photographer and film producer. Pat Falvey is Ireland's leading team trainer and motivational speaker as well as being a world-renowned adventurer and explorer. His achievements to date are an inspiration to all.

Pat has over 62 high adventurers completed around the world to his credit. He is the only person in the world to have completed the Seven Summits challenge twice, including climbing Mount Everest from both Nepal and Tibet as well as walking/skiing to the South Pole and traversing Greenland. He also led the 1st Irish team to complete an oxygen-less ascent on an 8000 meter peak in 1998, into an area know to climbers as The Death Zone, on the sixth highest mountain in the world, Cho-Oyu.

Pat has a charismatic personality and is a natural story teller. His resume of adventure immediately buys the respect of anyone who finds him/herself sitting at the same table. For more on Pat, please go to or


The location will be informal, allowing conversation to flow freely. Due to the scope of the series, the same type of location must be available anywhere in the world. We plan on shooting at high-end, quiet restaurants that meet the requirements of the shoot. The restaurant will in return get exposure within the credits and an exterior shot in the opening credits of that particular show.


URBAN BREW STUDIOS- Based in Johannesburg, yet beaming out into the world, Urban Brew has been serving the continent of Africa for more than 10 years, consistently producing over twenty hours of television a week for the national broadcaster. Game Shows, Talk Shows, Kids programming, Documentaries...the works.

With offices in East, West and South Africa, Urban Brew has been able to influence millions of Africans in the production arena of television and film. A major training facility, Urban Brew supports Soweto TV, and is currently training the personnel and setting up the station for South Sudan TV.

SWITCHVERT - is an ideas/production house based in Washington DC and Jo-burg South Africa. We are all about telling the story. Our work literally spans the globe with projects in the last two years crossing 5 continents.

Over the past few years we have focused on commercials, documentaries and television. Our work is as diverse as it sounds. In South Africa we have worked on both sitcom and magazine TV programs, bringing each show to a primetime audience. Our documentaries were shot in Antarctica, Haiti, South America, the US and sub-Saharan Africa. We have shot over 40 commercials with USAID in Nigeria, Zambia, Haiti and Mozambique.

More recently Switchvert has moved into the realm of Feature Film. In mid 2009 we are set to begin principal photography on our very own 'Formula'.

Published in Current Projects
Wednesday, 22 August 2007 00:00

Running out of Food & Time 22/08/07

Pat called me on Wednesday evening in great form. He said they were all well except for his sled. "The conditions are the same with snow on the ground its quite soft and sticky as the day progresses, We are approx 80km from DYE 2, Our solar power has been zero over the last few days as there is no sun and little light. We have batteries as backup but it means conserving quite a bit of the use. We are also running low on food and time and we will keep you updated on any decisions made towards the final few days, say hi to everyone..."

From DYE 2 they will have approx 185kms to go before they come off the ice cap, they are expecting to encounter the same as the start, lots of crevasses and streams etc., That may hold them up even more.
Published in Greenland 2007
Wednesday, 08 August 2007 00:00

RTE release new season

its finally on our screens, well kinda. RTE have just released their upcoming schedule of programming for Autumn/Winter. The new 4 part Beyond Endurance reality documentary leads the way for their factual programmes which should be aired in late October for 4 weeks. Look out for RTE guide review and will feature on RTE previews closer the air date. Further info and video promo's are available here. Thanks to Steve O Reilly and Karen Rodgers from Panache television for delivering the goods after nearly 2 years of production. Well done!! I remember the day i met Steve in Dublin and we then discussed the expedition with Pat and its grown from there. Thanks especially to Pat and all the team members for having the dream and doing the dream.
Published in Past Projects
22 July 2006
The green light is on for the summit attempt:

The hardest section is coming up so we will be all tense for the next 2 to 3 days as the lads make their decision to go or not to go for the summit. After the next camp, which will be camp 4, the lads will move up to 8000 meters and into a place known to us climbers as "Death Zone".

Despite all the planning and the logistics, the most important aspect of all is the decision making process of taking calculated risks - and calculated is what they have to be. There is now no room for error, positive attitude, self belief and technical ability will be called for.

Over 8000 meters the mountain becomes a different place. It has no mercy on the weak, or those that don’t take the mountain's changing moods seriously.

All climbers that move into The Death Zone know the risks, as do their families and friends. Our thoughts are with the boys.

Pat Falvey

For the best of Irish mountaineering news and comments,
Published in K2 BroadPeak 2006
Page 18 of 19
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