courtesy Rory O'Connor
AdventureStats Polar Rules and Definitions

Posted: Oct 10, 2011 05:21 am EDT
(AdventureStats) One hundred years later we will celebrate Scott and Amundsen with the biggest Antarctica season yet.

In order to fairly compare the various challenges, here a recap of the traditional rules collected ten years ago from the world's foremost polar explorers and applied by AdventureStats.

Distance

Measuring of distance (e.g. start to Pole) is done in a straight line.

Assist

Assist refers to the outside help received by an expedition. The most common form of polar assist is air-resupply.

Labels:
Unassisted
Assisted - resupplies
Assisted - emergency (this category also applies if one or more members leave an ongoing expedition)

Support

Support refers to external power aids used for significant speed and load advantage. Typical aids are wind power (kites), animal power (dogs), or engine power (motorized vehicles).

Only human powered expeditions are considered unsupported.

Use of human powered equipment such as skis, snowshoes, and sleds are not considered support. Use of navigation aid such as compass and GPS are not considered support. Use of safety aids such as radios, satellite phones and location beacons are not considered support.

Labels:
Unsupported
Wind Support
Dog Support
Motorized Support

Style

Style refers to other characteristics of the expedition.

Labels:
Unguided
Guided
Solo
The style label solo requires that the explorer is alone and receives no outside assistance. A solo performance consequently requires the assist label unassisted.

Start/End Point

Below refer to overland or oversea North Pole or South Pole expeditions:

Travel to the South/North Pole

- The start point has to be from the boundary between land and water - the coast line. Permanent ice is considered part of the ocean, not the land.
- If the coast line is not obvious due to permanent ice, the start point should be according to mapped outline of the coast.

Partial travel to the South/North Pole

Any start point that is not at the edge of the continental land mass, but at least 1 degree from the Pole itself. This covers "Last Degree" Expeditions as well as Patriot Hills / Union Glacier starting points.

Traverse

- A Polar Traverse applies to expeditions traveling across a geographical feature. Example of features is continents, oceans, glaciers and mountain ranges.
- A traverse has different start and end points.
- An Antarctic or Arctic traverse has to traverse the full continent/ocean. The start and end points have to be from the boundary between land and water - the coast line. Permanent ice is considered part of the ocean, not the land.
- If the coast line is not obvious due to permanent ice, the start point should be according to mapped outline of the coast.

Return trip

- A return trip has the same start and end point.

Proximitiy

The proximity refers to accepted margin to valid start/end point.

- If the start/end point is determined by an obvious natural feature like the sea, or by a man/made object like the South Pole marker it should be touched.
- If the start/end point is determined by a GPS position like the North Pole, it should be verified by a GPS reading within a 30 meter margin
- If the start/end point is determined by a map like the Hercules Inlet, the point should be within the error margin of the source.

How to confirm an exploration achievement

The Explorer is believed to be telling the truth. It is considered a point of honor which most explorers hold higher than the success of the expedition.

No proof other than the explorer's word is required, one or several of the following methods of verifications are however suggested:

- Summit picture identifying the explorer, the summit features and surroundings.
- Video as above.
- Picture of GPS display showing altitude and position.
- Uploaded automatic tracking information (Argos or similar).
- Detailed log.
- Witnesses.

Responsibility of the Explorer

It is the responsibility of the explorer to properly acknowledge previous feats. False claims spread worldwide may harm the reputation of others (defamation). If the offender had knowledge that the claim was false, or if the information was reasonably available, there can be legal consequences.

It is the responsibility of the explorer to carefully research historical similar feats before claiming firsts and other records. Ignorance is no excuse.

Explorers should not separate themselves from PR companies, film crews and others associated with the explorer. It is the responsibility of the explorer to ensure that personal website, press releases, etc are fair and correct.

Links:

For more see Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?
Hercules Inlet start point


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