On Thursday, January 6, 2011 Barbara Hillary embarked on a long-awaited journey to make her mark as the first African-American woman on record to reach both Poles.
Having reached the North Pole on skis at 75 Barbara, a lung cancer survivor, will realize her South Pole goal just four years later. She would like to thank her friends and supporters, without whom none of this would have been possible.

After reading Barbara's travel log below, you can track her progress and hear voice messages at the Expenews Expedition Tracking website- CLICK HERE!


Sunday, January 23, 2011:
Reporting in via voice message on Expenews, Barbara has arrived at Union Glacier Camp on Antarctica, looking up the Heritage Range of the Ellsworth Mountains. Barbara is the only passenger, aside from a few doctors who were along for the ride anyway. All of the other expeditioners have gone home because their time or money ran out.

There will be two stops on the way to the South Pole. One is a scheduled stop to refuel after making the trip from Punta Arenas, since there can be no refueling at Amunsden-Scott South Pole Station. The second is a supply pickup, to maximize use of the valuable empty space on any planes going to the Station.

The original Amundsen-Scott Station was built by the United States Government during November 1956 as a part of its commitment to the scientific goals of the International Geophysical Year (I.G.Y.), an international effort lasting from January 1957 through June 1958 to study, among other things, the geophysics of the polar regions.

Jake Thomas
Operations Manager

Friday, January 21, 2011:
BARBARA IS ON HER WAY! As I type this, she is boarding a Russian plane to
Antarctica. Her first stop will be Patriot Hills, the base camp for Polar operations. She will stay there until the group is acclimated to the temperature and elevation and then continue on to the Amundsen-Scott Science Station at the South Pole. Thank you to all of Barbara's supporters for their encouragement and essential contributions.

Jake Thomas
Operations Manager

Saturday, January 15, 2011:
Exhausted. Walked about 5 to 7 miles to reach the airport, only to be turned away. The strikers have barriers at different points with lines of abandoned vehicles (trucks, buses, cars, 16 wheeler rigs) and stacked, burning tires. ALE intended to fly us out to Argentina, refuel and head to Antarctica but the strikers are not permitting airport fuel trucks access to the airport. After arriving at the airport, a part went on the plane and it will take approximately 5 days for a replacement.

It was extremely difficult to return to the hotel. The strikers at the airport tell the police when they can cross the barriers and the American  Embassy is stationed at the airport and was a big help in my return.

Back at the hotel, my expedition group met to take a tally of those who will cancel and those who will wait for the part and try to make it to Antarctica. I decided to wait the projected five days for the part, but some of the people decided to leave. I feel that I must stay and try to make it but I am quickly running out of money.

Two deaths occured at the airport- I understand that a truck tried to push through a blockade and killed two women.

Thursday January 13, 2011
Results of meeting tonight - We have the promise that the trip is still viable. The weather is always a factor, but the most important issue as I see it, is what difference does it make what the weather is if the road blockades, due to the strike, remain in effect and are impassible. In essence, we remain in a holding pattern. ALE has reassured us that every effort is being made to resolve the problem.

Previously today:
The last two days have been an unrelenting roller coaster. We're going, and then we are not going. Now the real icing on the cake-- and it's not very sweet-- is that we are basically under a type of house arrest at the hotel. A little background information-- there is a civil action on the part of what appears to be most of the citizens of Punta Arenas. They are adamantly opposed to some type of heating gas price increase. We see their anger expressed in the following ways:

• Continuously using their car horns
• Flags at half mast
• Black flags and provincial flags displayed
• Most stores are closed
• Very few, if any, taxis are running

The big issue, according to all the information we're received and what has been shown on TV, all major highways leading to the city and the airport have been blocked by abandoned and/or burning cars.

We are isolated and unable to leave for Antarctica. The status of the trip, and everything else, is up in the air. There will be a meeting held at 19:00 to let us know our status including the trip. Needless to say, the frustration that we all feel is overwhelming. I will make every effort to keep everyone posted. I am safe and in good health. I have not lost my sense of humour, though it has been tested.

Wednesday January 12, 2011
I walked around Punta Arenas today and inflicted pain on the local people with my dreadful Spanish. I have never met such kind and friendly people. Some have walked out of their way to give me clear directions. The overall atmosphere here is somewhat laid back.

Monday January 11, 2010:
At 8:00am I was out of the gate ready to begin my 1600 mile trip to Antarctica. The hotel lobby was crowded with an assortment of some of the healthiest human beings I have seen recently, all wearing arctic outer wear. We boarded the bus, rode to the airport and went through security. Then we were told the trip was cancelled due to bad weather. So, we boarded the bus again and returned to the hotel. We are scheduled to be updated at 8:00am tomorrow morning.

Monday January 10, 2010:
Today is a good example of how we are spending our time: "Be ready at 7:00am"..."cancelled due to bad weather"..."stand by till 12:30 and be ready"..."cancelled due to bad weather"..."standby till 18:30 and be ready"...."cancelled due to bad weather" and, finally, "notified to standby till 8:30am the next morning and be ready".

"Standby" means that your outer and inner garments are laid out and ready. We are expected to put them on between your room and the elevator so you are not exposed to the elements when you get off the elevator.

Sunday, January 9:
Barbara will be leaving within the next 24 hours, possibly as early as tonight, for
Patriot Hills, Antarctica- Jake

"Sunday orientation meeting was with an impressive group of adeventurers and athletes. I have a new friend Quinn, who is the youngest pilot i've ever seen. Very nice young man. There's no doubt that people reflect how they are raised. Sunday afternoon there were deafening sounds of numerous car horns unfront of the hotel. Most of the town protesting a 16% hike in gas prices. They were protesting with black flags and honking horns. I went out and participated by waving a flag and adding a bit of colour to the protest."

Saturday, January 8:
Barbara reports a safe and timely check-in at the Diego del Almadro hotel in Punta Arenas, Chile and that the people are warm and wonderful. Weather is in the mid-fifties and mostly cloudy.

Friday, January 7:
After a layover in Santiago, Chile Barbara will fly out to Punta Arenas and meet up with the expedition organizer, Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions.

Thursday, January 6:
Barbara's LAN Airlines flight leaves JFK for Santiago, Chile on time and without delay.


Inspirational Speaker

You can book Barbara as a speaker for your group or organization over year 2008. The coming year will be a very busy time of training, planning and appearances for Barbara, so please let us know as early as possible should you wish engage her to speak.


Supporters & Contributors

Barbara would like to gratefully acknowledge and most sincerely thank the many sponsors, donors, supporters, good friends and well-wishers without whose help and support her remarkable achievement would have been impossible. All who have contributed and supported will be mentioned on this website in due course. Check the Supporters section for updates. If we've missed you so far, not to worry, we'll soon catch up.


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Contact Barbara Hillary  
(718) 318-2031 • northandsouthpole@gmail.com