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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.

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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.

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Sam Beaugey Camp Manager

Sam is professional high mountain guide with countless expeditions under his belt. From big wall climbing in Yosemite, USA to descending via snowboard from the summit of Mt Everest, Sam is highly respected in the exploration world.
Despite being an avid BASE jumper and one of the highest level ice climbers on the planet, he is down to earth and easy going. Whatever your ability, Sam will only push you as far as you want to go, ensuring you get the most out of your trip with White Desert.

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Dixie Dansercoer

Dixie Dansercoer is one of the great stalwarts of polar exploration. In the early 1990s, he completed a 4,000km ski crossing of the Antarctic continent and then went north, crossing the Arctic Ocean – 1,800 km in 106 days. He then ski-kited a further 5,013km around Antarctica and broke another world record with a similar style expedition in Greenland. Special advisor to UNICEF and with a 15m statute erected in Newport, Belgium in his honour, his extraordinary achievements are truly one-of-a-kind.

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Jerome Ruby Field Guide

Jerome is another member of the team who grew up in the Chamonix valley. Jerome learnt to ski before he could walk. His adventurous spirit and desire to push the boundaries made him one of the original pioneers of freeride snowboarding. He is a world-renowned snowboard legend who has become famous for descending a number of the world’s highest mountains that were previously thought impossible to ski.

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Justine Lindsay Chef

After studying at The Institute of Culinary Arts in Stellenbosch, South Africa, Justine soon moved on to Mercedes AMG PETRONAS Formula One Team and has spent the last few years with them. Travelling around the world with the F1 circus, Justine has had to think on her feet. From getting food deliveries in a tuk-tuk at the Indian Grand Prix, to losing gas and electricity at the Brazil Grand Prix at the precise moment when Michael Schumacher wanted his pasta…there was never a dull moment!

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Matt Botha

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.

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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, joining the team in 2016, is greatly looking forward to catering to our clients’ needs at Whichaway Camp.

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Mairi Macleod

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.

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Ryan Ashworth

Ryan started his career working in manufacturing, on the technical side of product design, before spending some time travelling around Europe. He soon became an electrical engineer at the City & Guilds of London, which led him to the tunnels of the London Underground where he managed various station refurbishments. Returning to South Africa, Ryan started his own company specialising in high-end renovations, and is now White Desert’s go-to guy for technical advice, building knowledge and general all-round problems.

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Eric Rowberry

Eric is the man you’ll need if anything needs fixing around camp. His experience stems from working in the steaming hot jungles of Equatorial Guinea which might seem like an unlikely fit for Antarctica, but in each location, the need to be resourceful is paramount. Eric loves the outdoors and is incredibly affable and easy going. This will be his second season with White Desert.

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Claire Freebairn

Claire works on the client and media side of the team alongside Robyn in the London and Cape Town offices. In previous incarnations, Claire has managed PR teams, worked for demanding entrepreneurs such as Lord Karan Bilimoria, co-founder of Cobra Beer and, most recently, set up and managed the Family Office of Sir James Dyson, of vacuum cleaner fame. Endlessly cheerful and efficient to the point of scaring those around her, Claire will helps all our clients prepare for their trip South and looks after them while in Cape Town.

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Richard Godden Client & Media Relations Manager

Richard works on client and media relations alongside Robyn in the London and Cape Town offices. Before joining White Desert, Richard spent 8 years working as a travel consultant arranging luxury holidays to Latin America. In his most recent role, he was responsible for managing client treks on the Inca Trail in Peru and yachting in the Galapagos Islands. He holds a Marketing degree and has travelled extensively within South America. Richard helps our clients prepare for their trip South and looks after them while in Cape Town.

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  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • Beyond my imagination

    "Blue ice caves, mountains to climb, ice waves etc, throw in penguins and a monumental trip to the South Pole, any other place in the world will be underwhelming."

    Jane Loginova and family