Amundsen's Antarctica: At The Pole!

Posted: Dec 15, 2011 04:00 am EST

(ExplorersWeb/AdventureStats) It's Norway's biggest celebration in years and it's held 16,658.81km away from Oslo - at the Geographic South Pole. Since Amundsen and his men first reached the Pole 100 years ago, a bunch of fellow Norwegians have followed his tracks. Check out today's special from AdventureStats for Norway's unique contribution to Antarctica exploration history.

Despite the different time zones making reports on the anniversary tricky, the celebration is on at the Amundsen-Scott polar base.

As for the current skiers repeating Amundsen's feat, except for the ones flown out to (or near) the pole, all are still fighting the battle out on the ice. Watch for Vegard and Harald though, hopefully coming in today.

Norwegian Polar Institute team (from Bay of Whales): kickstarting celebrations

"Because of different time zones, we are ahead of the celebration in Norway," dispatched the Norwegian team from Bay of Whales. Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg skied the last few kilometres of Amundsen’s route in to the South Pole along with Jan-Gunnar Winther, Stein P. Aasheim and Børge Ousland (ed note: Ousland was leading a last degree team).

Jan-Gunnar and Stein who were flown to the Pole yesterday, reported: "Then Prime Minister Stoltenberg gave a speech to all the people at the station, gathered around the ceremonial South Pole, where he also unveiled a bust of Roald Amundsen cast in ice."

"This outdoor ceremony began with a beautiful rendition of the Norwegian national anthem played on the flute by an American woman who works at the station. After that, Jan-Gunnar shared his thoughts about travelling in Amundsen’s tracks for the past six weeks. About 300 people participated in the commemoration."

"Later in the day a reception was held for all the Norwegians who have gathered at the South Pole, followed by a dinner where Americans also participated."

Meanwhile, their mates mates Vegard and Harald are still skiing in Amundsen’s tracks. "On Tuesday evening they were 13.5 kilometres behind Amundsen and had 41 kilometres left to ski before reaching the Pole," the team stated. "If the weather holds up, we expect them to arrive at the South Pole some time during the day – Norwegian time."

According to Bill Spindler, a big video ceremony will be held in Tromso, Norway, at 19:00 (UTC+1), 1300 US eastern time, and 0700 on the 15th South Pole time.

See schedule of the events here.

100 years ago

On December 14 according to the date in his diary (confused by polar time zones), Amundsen and his men rested 15nm from their goal. One day later, the triumphant entry:

"So we arrived, and were able to raise our flag at the geographical South Pole – King Haakon VII’s Vidda. Thanks be to God!"

Amundsen reported the team arrived the pole at 3 pm in fair weather. As for determining the exact point, "the sun reappeared in the afternoon, and now we must go out and take a midnight observation," he wrote. "Naturally we are not exactly at the point called 90°, but after all our excellent observations and dead reckoning we must be very close."

"We arrived here with three sledges and 17 dogs. HH put one down just after arrival. ‘Helge’ was worn out. Tomorrow we will go out in three directions to circle the area round the Pole. We have had our celebratory meal – a little piece of seal meat each. We leave here the day after tomorrow with two sledges. The third sledge will be left here. Likewise we will leave a little three man tent (Rønne) with the Norwegian flag and a pennant marked Fram."

Meanwhile Scott unaware of his rival's success, had enough miseries to worry about. "Indigestion and the soggy condition of my clothes kept me awake for some time last night, and the exceptional exercise gives bad attacks of cramp," he wrote. "Our lips are getting raw and blistered. The eyes of the party are improving, I am glad to say. We are just starting our march with no very hopeful outlook."

AdventureStats anniversary special: Norwegians in Amundsen's tracks

For explorers, Amundsen set a unique precedent on how to achieve success that stands to this day. The recipe - prepare well and travel light - might one day guide the human race to Space.

'Amundsen's way' has stuck with the Norwegians since. Below some interesting facts and stats.

1911

Roald Amundsen with four companions reached the Pole after 54 days of skiing. The same feat took the 5 British 77 days.

The Norwegian team members were all in their late thirties born within 6 years from each other while the Britts spanned 15 years with the youngest Henry Bowers below 30 and Scott past 40 years of age.

Roald's team skied back in 25 days and covered the whole 2700 km in 79 days, a feat that only kiters can get close to in modern days.

1990

It would be 80 years before Norwegians skied to the South Pole again. In 1990 Sjur and Simen Mordre ran a dogsled across Antarctica from Berkner to Ross - a total of 2930 km - in 104 days. This was the first same season non motorized traverse of Antarctica.

Inspired by Amundsen's equipment the brothers developed the Mordre Extreme Skiing Boot still used by a majority of the most extreme polar expeditions.

1993

In 1993 Erling Kagge skied solo from Berkner and completed the first unsupported unsupplied trip to the South Pole. Total distance 1300km in 50 days. These days Kagge is into underground sewers.

1994

Starting from Hercules inlet Liv Arnesen became the second person to ski solo and the first woman to ski to the pole without motorized assistance.

The same year Lars Ebbesen and Odd Harald Hauge skied to the pole with Cato Zahl Pedersen. The "Unarmed expedition" was so called because Cato had no arms. The men started from Berkner and skied the 1300 km to the South Pole without resupplies and support.

1996

Borge Ousland traversed Antarctica. Using kites, he covered 2845 km in 65 days, at the time the longest non supplied South Pole trip since Amundsen.

2000

Starting out from Troll Base, Rolf Bae (died on K2 in 2008) and Eirik Sonneland traversed 3800 km to Scott Base with kites, braking Borge's record for an unsupplied polar trip.

2005

Rune Gjeldnes traversed with kites from Novo to Terra Nova and set a new 4804 km record.

2009

Rolf Bae's widow Cecilie Skog with American Ryan Waters completed the first unassisted and unsupported traverse of Antarctica (no kites). They skied a distance of 1800 km in 50 days

Norwegians were not the only ones breaking human limits at Antarctica though. Some were even, gulp, Englishmen! Go to ExplorersWeb's AdventureStats for polar statistics from Cook to present.

Current teams on the way to the SP

Christian Eide's Jubilee expedition team was 170km away from destination after 30km covered in great weather on Monday. Catalan Albert Bosch is 629km away from the Pole, but in great spirits thanks to a daily mileage of 30km in the last few days. Cas and Jonesy are rationing the food - they've got 416km to go to the Pole, but that's just half-way since the expedition goal is a return trip.

The British Military double team recreating the race between Amundsen and Scott are 274nm (Amundsen team) and 368nm (Scott team) from the Pole.

The Basques were midway between Novo base and the Pole on Monday. They are going well but feeling toes numb while skiing, and hurting as they warm up in the tent at the end of each day. "Capacity of suffering is also a plus on these kind of expeditions," they state.

The Nansen to Amundsen 100 years later members, outfitted in 1911 gear, are about to make tough decisions. One of the members has an injured foot, so the team is taking a day of rest before deciding whether to go on or abort the expedition. "When tissue is first damaged tolerate it less and you risk more damage," they reflected.

"So now we are here in the tent and discuss options. Trying to continue? Realize that you are not Amundsen and end the trip? Maybe Agnar should continue alone? We have no answer yet but have to make a decision soon. We can't remain on the polar plateau forever either."

Solo skier Howard Fairbank found horribly ragged terrain at 86:55.002S 82:23.745W.

Sebastian Copeland and Eric McNair have been stuck for two days at S79°39.887 E034°08.371, due to absolute lack of wind.

Jason de Cateret's motorized Thomson Reuters Eikon team has not yet restarted their speed record attempt.

About Amundsen diary dates: Readers pointed out that Amundsen forgot he crossed over the International Date Line, so the dates in his diaries from late November were one day ahead of the actual dates. Explorersweb staff decided to state his dates as they originally were penned.

Antarctica/SP - General facts:

Gateway port Cape Town, South Africa:
To ALCI/TAC base camp Novolazarevskaya / Novo
(70o 46'37S", 011o 49'26"E)
Gateway port Punta Arenas, Chile, South America:
To ALE/ANI base camp, Union Glacier
(79o 45'S, 083o 14'W).
Gateway port Punta Christchurch, New Zealand:
To US base McMurdo
(77o 50'39"S, 166o 40'22"E)


1 nautical mile (nm) = 1.852 km
1 nm = 1.151 statute mile
1 knot = 1.852 km/h
1 degree of Latitude is 110 km

Sastrugi are hard snow bumps and can be as high as 10 feet.
A nunatak is a peak of a mountain rising above the ice cap; sometimes covered with snow, sometimes exposed rock.


Useful links:

CONTACT 5 expedition technology
HumanEdgeTech
Polar rules of Adventure
What is solo?
Hercules Inlet start point
2011-12 Guidelines for NGO Visitors to the South Pole Station
South Pole Station news (Bill Spindler)
Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE)
Adventure Network International (ANI)
The Antarctic Company (TAC/ALCI)

Weather:

Weather4Expeditions
Wx7 observations at Union Glacier

Amundsen's & Scott's diaries
Amundsen's book, "The South Pole"
Amundsen's diary courtesy Fram Museum
Amundsen pix, courtesy Fram Museum
Scott's diary

Space research expedition dispatches

ANSMET Meteorite hunters

List of Links to Antarctica 2011-12 teams
Classifications: Unassisted (no airdrops), unsupported (no kites/dogs/motor).

Hercules Inlet

Unassisted, unsupported:
Aleksander Gamme, Norway (solo)
Australian James Castrission and Justin Jones (Cas & Jonesy - return)
Steffen Dahl, Norway (solo)
Mark Wood, UK (solo)
Albert Bosch and Charles Gel, Spain (Catalans)
Mark George, Australia (solo)

Assisted (airdrops):
ANI Polar Vision US/UK
Polar Explorers
Byrony Balen (With PolarExplorers)
Johan Ernst Nilson


Bay of Whales and Cape Evans

Unassisted, unsupported:
British Army Scott-Amundsen Race 2011-12 - Amudsen team led by Henry Worsley from Bay of Whales

British Army Scott-Amundsen Race 2011-12 - Scott team led by Mark Langridge, from Cape Evans

Assisted (airdrops), supported (kites)
Norwegians from Bay of Whales

Ross Ice Shelf

Unassisted, unsupported:
The South Pole Jubilee Expedition - latitude Expeditions
The South Pole Jubilee Expedition - Borge Ousland & Lars Ebbesen Polar Exploration
The South Pole Jubilee Expedition - Rory O'Connor
The South Pole Jubilee Expedition Ottar and Jacob

Assisted (airdrops)
From Nansen to Amundsen 2011, Norway
Felicity Aston, UK (solo SP & assisted traverse)


Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf

Unassisted, unsupported:
Richard Weber & team (kite traverse)
Hvitserk, Norway

Supported (kites):
Howard Fairbank, South Africa (solo SP)

Assisted (airdrops), supported (kites)
Pole to Pole Run Pat Farmer
Pole to Pole Run Eric Philips
Charlie Paton ANI team
Nabil Al Busaidi (Nabs)

Novolazarevskaya

Supported (kites):
Dixie Dansercoer and Sam Deltour
Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland
Basque Team: Iurrategi, Vallejo, Zabalza
Spanish Acciona-Antartida

South African Antarctic Research station, SANAE IV

Partial SP trips: 1-2 last degrees

Borge Ousland
The South Pole Push Doug Stoup
Humpty Dumpty South Pole Last Degree (Damien Guildea)
Harald Kippenes (with. J.E.Nilson)
Adventure Consultants: Vinson+Last degree
ANI/ALE last degree
One Call Wintercamp

Motorized support

Thomson Reuters Eikon
Arctic Trucks on Antarctica

Scott's last camp

International Scott Centenary Expedition

#Polar #topstory #feature #choice











"So we arrived, and were able to raise our flag at the geographical South Pole – King Håkon VII’s Vidda. Thanks be to God! "
courtesy Fram Museum, SOURCE
Anniversary celebrations today (tomorrow, SP time). Jens Stoltenberg gives a speech to tourists and SP base folks by a bust of Amundsen carved in ice.
courtesy SMK [Office of the Prime Minister]
Amundsen team members checking their position with a sextant and a compass at the South Pole. "Naturally we are not exactly at the point called 90°, but after all our excellent observations and dead reckoning we must be very close."
courtesy Fram Museum, SOURCE
Thanks to a plane lift over the last 80km, Norwegians from Bay of Whales reached the SP just in time to report the celebration live over CONTACT 5.
courtesy Norwegians from Bay of Whales team, SOURCE
In 1993 Erling Kagge skied solo from Berkner and completed the first unsupported unsupplied trip to the South Pole. "The scariest moments of my life have not been in the wilderness, but in the cities," he told ExplorersWeb in an interview.
courtesy Erling Kagge, SOURCE
Borge Ousland traversed Antarctica. Using kites, he covered 2845 km in 65 days, at the time the longest non supplied South Pole trip since Amundsen.
Rune Gjeldnes traversed with kites from Novo to Terra Nova and set a new 4804 km record.
Starting out from Troll Base, pictured Rolf Bae and Eirik Sonneland traversed 3800 km to Scott Base with kites. Rolf died on K2 in 2008, right before the eyes of his newly wed wife...
...Cecilie Skog who completed the first unassisted and unsupported traverse of Antarctica in Rolf's honor.
courtesy Ryan Waters (over Contact), SOURCE
The "Unarmed expedition" was so called because Cato had no arms. The men started from Berkner and skied the 1300 km to the South Pole without resupplies and support. They later also tried Everest, with Cato working the ropes by the way of a hook.