Geoff Wilson adds Simpson’s desert crossing to his solo wind-assisted accomplishments
That would have been enough to send most adventurers packing, but August’s attempt was his last chance. Wilson had promised his wife Sarah that he would concede that the Simpson was impassable if this attempt failed.
His goal? “A great adventure, without getting killed.”
Wilson dedicated the trip to the local Wangkangurru and Yarluyandi people. “I want to raise awareness of the harmful effects of our carbon emissions on our sacred nature and show how we can make changes for the better.”
After seeing the impact of climate change in Antarctica and Greenland, Wilson wants to promote wind adventures as a way to explore with reduced or zero emissions. This attempt, however, required a support team to take the lead in clearing 4WD traffic.
Wilson told the Herald that his solo wind adventure through Antarctica seemed “calm and cohesive, easy” compared to the Simpson. There, “fine winds would provide 48 hours of continuous wind pressure at five knots and clear space.”
But the Simpson’s wind was fickle, as one of his Instagram posts illustrates: “I broke my own daily desert mileage record today – 119 kilometers in a single day.
“The gusty winds blew all day and with just three kite/tree incidents and minimal breaks, our little team managed 11 hours of continuous movement north – sometimes at breakneck speeds at other times. to a simple crawl. 119 kilometers of being run over in a buggy through a rugged desert is like a 300 kilometer day on ice.
A dead inland sea, the Simpson Dunes run parallel for up to 600 kilometres, Australian scientists say. There is no way to cross using valleys like Wilson did in the Sahara Desert. “It’s over,” he said.
Gusting winds lifted Wilson from the buggy 50 to 60 times. “On one occasion I was picked up and the kite went into a power loop because the wind was like a tornado. I just got drilled headfirst with a helmet in the sand. You could easily break your neck.
Understanding that towing his buggy would exhaust him to the point of giving up, he took the advice of a specialist meteorologist, Marc De Keyser, in Belgium.
After a big day of hauling men, De Keyser told him that the wind would be perfect the next afternoon.
Wilson’s Aeolian Adventures
- Sahara Desert: 2450km, 42 days in 2009
- Greenland: 2500km, 18 days in 2017
- Antarctica: 5316km, 58 days in 2020
- Simpson Desert: 570km, 12 days in 2022
“We sat down, played checkers and had lunch. At 2:30 p.m. I started to extend the kite in the direction the wind would come. At that time, it was coming 180 degrees in the wrong direction. At 3 p.m. it was 90 degrees. At half past three, as expected, it was perfect.
In the two hours before nightfall, the wind propelled him 46 kilometers.
Wilson discovered a passion for kite-assisted travel while crossing the Sahara in 2009 when he crossed six African countries over 2,500 kilometres. “Now, less than 12 years later, no one has covered more ocean sand and ice using kites.”
When he crossed the Sahara, his team worried about bandits stealing equipment. To generate goodwill, the advance team traveled to each village to distribute small octopus-shaped kites to children.. Upon arrival, they saw groups of up to 40 children flying the kites with their tentacles trailing.
“There’s something about the single-string kite, the four-string kite, that stirs the human soul,” he said.
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