Team

Patrick Woodhead Chief Executive Officer

Having been part of the youngest and fastest team to ever reach the South Pole in 2002, Patrick went on to lead the first ever East to West traverse of Antarctica, covering 1850km in a total of 75 days. Outside of the Polar World, he has been on many successful expeditions, summiting unclimbed mountains in Tibet and Kyrgyzstan, kayaking down unchartered rivers in the Amazon and being part of the team to set the fastest crossing of the Atlantic Ocean. In 2015 he broke the record for the fastest traverse of Greenland.

Robyn Woodhead Chief Operating Officer

After an expedition to Antarctica in 2006, Robyn turned her attention to the other end of the planet and skied the last degree to the north pole. She now combines her polar experience with running the London and South African office with Patrick.  Robyn manages Marketing, Financial, Human Resources, Governmental and client liaison side of the business.  Affable, energetic and organisational skills to put soldier ants to shame, Robyn will be on hand to assist clients throughout their journey. Robyn is an avid global explorer, having travelled to over 90 countries on her last count.

Stuart McFadzean Runway Manager

Stuart returns for his third season as head of the air logistics team for White Desert, assisting our clients in accessing the continent from Cape Town and exploring its interior. He has a solid background in logistics having over 15 years of project experience, initially as the project manager for the Australian Antarctic Division’s Wilkins Ice Runway, developing infrastructure and operating procedures to support all flights by AAD to, and within, the continent.

Catherine Stott Client Relationship Manager

Catherine works on the client side of the team in the London and Cape Town offices. Having previously worked in the Financial sector as a corporate broker in London, Catherine then indulged her passion for travel. Catherine has working at riding safaris in Kenya and Uganda and with stunt horses in South Africa. She has completed a sailing race in Tanzania and came fifth in the Mongol Derby, ’the longest and toughest horse race in the world’. Exceptionally efficient, Catherine helps all our clients prepare for their trip South and looks after them whilst in Cape Town.

Emmanuel Pellissier Head Guide

Emmanuel is White Desert’s Head Guide and brings a wealth of experience to the role. He is a certified high mountain guide and an avid climber with many first and second ascents to his name. These include the first ascent of the east face of Cerro Kishtwar (6193m), India in 2015 and the second ascent of the east pillar of Holtanna (Queen Maud Land), Antarctica in 2009. The Cerro Kishtwar expedition was awarded the 2016 “piolets d’or”. Away from climbing, Emmanuel likes to ski, slack line, high line and practice yoga.

Pierre Muller Camp Medic and Field Guide

Pierre is a respected high mountain guide and doctor. He has led trips in Algeria, Kyrgistan, Russia, Greenland and Pakistan. Amongst his greatest achievements are his 2003 winter ascent of the north face of the Matterhorn and his 2007 winter ascent of the north face of the Eigur. Pierre specialises in severe trauma injuries and emergency medication. He holds a sailing licence and speaks French, English, Spanish and German.

Emmanuel Guy Field Guide

Emmanuel is an experienced and passionate high mountain guide who prides himself on his competence in the service of his professional activities. A keen base jumper, he once attempted to jump from the summit of the Big Tower of Trango in Pakistan. He has embarked on over 20 expeditions including the highly active Tungurahua volcano in Ecuador, the Alps and the Himalayas. Emmanuel is always ready for a new adventure and is there to help others.

Katheryn Stone Chef

After completing a Grande Diploma in Cordon Bleu Cookery at Silwood in Cape Town, Katheryn went into the ‘pressure pot’ of running a restaurant kitchen and, having survived that, currently runs her own successful high-end catering business in the city. From catering for small intimate events to serving six course meals for 400+ guests, Katheryn loves the buzz that comes from working in a fast-paced kitchen and enjoys creating a memorable dining experience for her guests.

Matt Botha Camp Logistics

Matt is no stranger to exploration and adventure, having embarked on and led many trips into and around Africa. His love for wildlife and conservation combined with his knowledge and survival skills, in the remotest of places, makes him the perfect companion to explore nature in its purest form. Matt has also embarked on some gruelling physical challenges on kayak, foot and bike and recently led a team that summited Mount Kilimanjaro entirely barefoot to raise funds for the Red Cross Children’s Hospital.

Wendy Guan Camp Assistant

Wendy is a master of several trades – IT engineer, pilot, marketing guru to name a few – and has travelled extensively in China and New Zealand. Having celebrated her 30th birthday by flying over Mt Everest she is also no stranger to adventure travel, and is greatly looking forward to catering to our clients’ needs at Whichaway Camp.

Mairi Macleod Cargo Manager

Mairi grew up in the outer Hebrides. Her appetite for adventure stems from her merchant mariner father and she eagerly followed his footsteps into a life of travel and adventure. She has worked in remote logistics for a wide range of organisations in locations as diverse as Southern Sudan and the South Pole. She also overwintered as the base commander for British Antarctic Survey and we are honoured to have such a wealth of experience at camp.

Jolanta Berzina Camp Hostess

Jolanta brings a wealth of experience to her role as camp hostess. She spent the early part of her career in Norway where she held a number of hospitality positions in top hotels. Having gained a reputation as a highly respected host, she made the move into hotel and human resources management. As well as her native tongue – Latvian, Jolanta speaks fluent English & Norwegian and has a very good grasp of German and Russian.

Dumisani Sibanda Cape Town Driver

Dumi is our trusted right-hand man who takes care of an array of different pre-season assignments whilst in Cape Town. Having been born in Zimbabwe, he had never seen snow before joining White Desert and embarking on a trip to Antarctica. He recalls his time on the ice as being like a dream and certainly an experience of a lifetime.

Graham Lucas Camp Construction

Graham is South African born and bred. He has worked as a handyman for two seasons and is in charge of camp construction. He is known for being gifted at building anything so remains a vital member of the team out in Antarctica.

  • Beyond my imagination

    “Antarctica was an entry into something that was beyond my imagination. None of the trip's numerous highlights could have come true without the expertise of the team.”

    Fahd Munir

  • Unique experience

    "You have a unique experience delivered by very experienced people with great judgement, flexibility and knowledge. You are to be congratulated."

    Endika Aboitiz

  • The Wedding of our dreams

    “White Desert hosted the wedding of our dreams. They did a fantastic job in making sure our special day turned out to be an amazing experience that we will cherish forever.”

    Mark and Julia McDowell

  • The true meaning of traveling

    “There is so little there, but so much to experience! A place where you can find your own true voice, away from the distractions of the outside world. Where you find the true meaning of traveling. ”

    Alan Chen

  • A wonderful experience

    "Lovely memories of this adventure. We are recommending it, and White Desert, to family and friends and our travel agent. Thank you for a wonderful experience."

    Philippe and Trudy Bovay