CIRCUS ANTARCTICA, Part 2
The development of modern Antarctic expeditions and an attempt to classify ice travel. Part 2.
History sets our pathPhoto 4 Each year on January 1 the true position of 90º south is marked with an emblem artistically designed during an annual competition held amongst South Pole station staff. The emblem, together with the entire station, moves with the ice as it flows slowly seaward. Photo: Christoph Höbenreich 2015 The Geographical South Pole is not a naturally visible point, it is an end point of the earth’s axis and marked by the US base. As the 2700 m-thick glacial sheet covering Antarctica is slowly moving, the position of the pole on the ice surface is measured precisely to the centimetre on January 1st of each year and marked with an artfully redesigned South Pole Marker (Photo 4). In the early 1900’s, reaching this obscure and ominous point at 90 degrees south latitude was the wildest dream of polar explorers. Following the attainment of the South Pole by Roald Amundsen on December 14, 1911, the first crossing of the continent became the new target. Ernest Shackleton’s 1915 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition planned to cross the continent of Antarctica but his mission sunk together with his ship Endurance as it became entrapped in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea. The first continental traverse was eventually achieved during the International Geophysical Year of 1957–58 by the geologist and later director of the British Antarctic Survey in Cambridge Sir Vivian Fuchs and New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary who employed the help of tractor trains. Numerous scientific traverses with heavy oversnow vehicles followed. In 1980–81 Brits Ranulph Fiennes, Charles Burton and Oliver Shepard drove snowmobiles across Antarctica as part of their four-year Transglobe expedition, circumnavigating the earth along the Greenwich meridian. And in 1985–86, after overwintering on the continent, Brits Roger Mear and Robert Swan and Canadian Gareth Woods ski hauled over Shackleton/Scott’s route11 from Cape Evans via the perilous Beardmore Glacier. When they reached the South Pole after 1405 kilometres, they received the devastating news that their ship Southern Quest had been crushed by pack ice in the Ross Sea.12 After the most important geographical objectives in Antarctica had long been reached, crossed or climbed, professional adventurers of the early 1990s began looking for new opportunities to redefine old challenges, reconstructing criteria to create new records. Distance covered is a decisive criterion for modern long-distance routes and the reemerged differing applications of where to start and end, the most prominent being the choice of an ice shelf’s seaward outer edge or its landward inner edge, the latter being significantly closer to the Pole. Both were claimed to be the continental margins. In 1989–90, logistical flight delays forced South Tyrolean Reinhold Messner and German Arved Fuchs to reset their start point for a ski/kitecrossing of the Antarctic continent at 82°05’S, 71°58.5’W, on the inner edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf. This area is typified by a grounding line, a delineation where the inland ice sheet flowing down from the polar plateau continues over the shore, lifts from the seabed and starts to float as a 500 to 1000 meter thick ice shelf. This zone, several kilometres wide and hardly detectable on the surface, is categorised as an inner coastline for South Pole expeditions. However the popular kick-off point known today as ‚Messner Start‘, is 110 kilometres further east of Messner and Fuchs’ actual start point, 860 kilometres away from the South Pole and about 490 kilometres closer to the South Pole than its nearest outer coastline. Another popular South Pole start point along the Ronne Ice Shelf’s inner coastline is Hercules Inlet which lies 1130 kilometres from the Pole. In 1988–89 a commercial, eleven-person South Pole ski expedition with snowmobile support led by Canadian Martyn Williams pioneered the use of this location. Their team included two female participants, Shirley Metz and Victoria Murden, both from USA, the first women to reach the South Pole on ski.13
Not only what we do but how we do it.The legendary Transantarctica expedition of 1989-90 was one of the most spectacular traverses of the southern continent. Using three dogsleds and resupplied at various points, American Will Steger and Frenchman Jean-Louis Etienne led the international team of Victor Boyarsky (then USSR), Geoff Somers (UK), Keizo Funatsu (Japan) and Qin Dahe (China) on the longest crossing of Antarctica ever achieved (Photo 5 and 6). Beginning at its most northern extremity, the team traversed the now disintegrated Larsen ice shelf, followed the spine of the Antarctic Peninsula, continued past the Ellsworth Mountains, ascended the plateau to the South Pole station and onto the high and desolate east Antarctic plateau to the Soviet stations of Vostok and Mirny where the expedition ended 220 days later. The logistics required were colossal. A year earlier, 14 tons of food, fuel and dog feed across 18 depots were flown in along the intended route. During the expedition exhausted or sick dogs were flown out for recovery and replaced by fresh ones. Due to the enormous distance and duration, it was necessary to set out in the polar winter and under the toughest weather conditions. For the first time it was possible to cross the entire continent without motor vehicles – and to do it on the longest possible route. It was also the last expedition to navigate conventionally with sextant and wheeled odometer, satellite navigation was not yet commercially available. Hardly imaginable, this 6048 kilometre14 ski and dogsled traverse remains as a modern adventure classic that is second to none. Photo 5 Transantarctica team members Keizo Funatsu (Japan), Jean-Louis Etienne (France) and Victor Boyarsky (USSR) seem to be immune to wind, ice and cold as they take a break behind their sledge. The 6048 kilometres, 220-day expedition from the tip of the Antarctic Peninsula via the South Pole to the coast of East Antarctica, Transantarctica still stands as the longest crossing of the southern continent. Photo: Will Steger 1990 Photo 6 On the Weyerhaeuser glacier on the Antarctic Peninsula members of the 1989-90 Transantarctica dogsled expedition were required to negotiate numerous visible and invisible dangers. Photo: Will Steger 1989 Photo 7 The greatest challenge for Transantarctica’s sled dogs was surviving the heat of Cuba during an unscheduled stop-over of the Ilyushin 76 aircraft while flying to Antarctica. Two of the four-legged expedition members died from overheating on the Caribbean island. All animals however were able to instinctively protect themselves from the freezing temperatures on the ice. Photo: Will Steger 1989 Such elegant dogsled expeditions (Photo 7) are no longer possible as the environmental protocol to the Antarctic Treaty adopted in 1991 no longer allows dogs on the continent. From an environmental standpoint it is understandable that dogs are prohibited to protect the local wildlife from communicable diseases though it seems ironic that motor vehicles of all kinds (Photo 8) are permitted. Dog travel remains a romantic and emotional chapter of Antarctic exploration. Photo 8 While dogs have been banned from Antarctica by the environmental protocol to the Antarctic Treaty since 1991, motor vehicles are permitted, stirring conflicted feelings among some members of the expeditioning community. Competent authorities regulate the use of such vehicles to minimise impact on the environment and uphold the adventure value of the Antarctic wilderness for non-motorised travellers. Photo: Christoph Höbenreich 2009 Early explorers such as the Norwegian Fridtjof Nansen used rudimentary sails mounted on sledges15 such as on his 1888 crossing of Greenland and his 1895 North Pole attempt. Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs in 1989-90 were the first to successfully use kites in Antarctica on their 92 day, 2390 kilometre traverse (a distance previously and still touted16 as 2800 kilometres). As mentioned flight logistics problems forced their expedition to start not on the outer edge of the Ronne-Filchner Ice Shelf as originally planned, but from its inner edge, continuing on a previously untrodden route to the South Pole and beyond over the known Beardmore Glacier to New Zealand’s coastal Scott Base on the far side of the continent. Although the mountaineer and sailor had two depots previously flown in to add to their food and fuel supplies, for the first time a team was able to cross Antarctica without the immediate help of vehicles or sled dogs. On skis, hauling sleds and using parawings – ‚by fair means‘ or ‚only with natural forces‘17, as Messner aptly put it – for now we set aside their use of resupply caches and embrace their minimalism. Using soft leather ski touring boots and traditional telemark bindings, both designed for striding rather than edging, from time to time Messner and Fuchs launched their parawings, special foils designed by German kite pioneer Wolf Beringer. Even earlier German Dieter Strasilla was experimenting and working on parachute-like windsails for ‚para-skiing‘ in the Swiss Alps. In the pioneering days of the 80s and early 90s these parawings, which could realistically only be used for downwind travel, were simply regarded as an elegant innovation in self-sufficient polar travel (Photo 9). However these early kites, with their short lines and limited power zone, were relatively inefficient compared with today’s high-performance snowkites which enable adventurers to travel much faster, cross hard on the wind and cover fabulous distances (Photo 10). More on that later. Photo 9 Simple kites and equipment of the 1980s and early 90s offered mostly downwind sailing. Australians Ben Galbraith and Wade Fairley use ‚Quadrifoils‘ as an elegant form of natural energy. Photo: Eric Philips 1995 Photo 10 Australian Eric Philips uses a powerful snowkite with long lines during a solo expedition to the mountains of Queen Maud Land. In the background are the peaks of Kamelbuckel, Himmelsleiter, Steirerturm, Tiroler Spitze and Österreichspitze, first climbed by Austrians Christoph Höbenreich, Paul Koller and Karl Pichler in 2009. Photo: Eric Philips 2015 In 1996-97 Børge Ousland (Photo 11) made the bold decision to dispense with resupplies or outside help and, with the example set by his compatriot Erling Kagge who completed the first solo south Pole expedition some four years earlier, completed his solo crossing with an average of just over 44 kilometres per day. It was the first full unsupported solo ski & kite crossing of Antarctica. Ousland even resisted the temptation to shower at the US Amundsen-Scott South Pole station and also declined the invitation to a meal and even a cup of coffee.18 He wanted to complete the trip independent of any support en route lest he jeopardise his chance at a coveted ‚unsupported‘ title. His only caveat was accepting some printed email letters from his family as he passed through the Pole. The equivalent nowadays could be considered a chat to your kids on a satellite phone, an almost daily occurrence on modern polar expeditions. Ousland crossed a physical and psychological barrier with his minimalist crossing creating a milestone in the history of Antarctic travel, setting a benchmark for future high-performance expeditions. Photo 11 In 1996-97 Norwegian Børge Ousland broke the boundaries of the imaginable with a 2845 kilometre first solo crossing of Antarctica between its two outer coastlines of the Ronne-Filchner and Ross Ice Shelfs (Photo: Archives Børge Ousland). Serious polar athletes learn from their predecessors and subsequent journeys increased their distances with increasingly efficient kites. Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer (Photo 12) prepared with scientific meticulousness and benefited from improved kite technology in the Austral summer of 1997-98 during their crossing of the continent from Queen Maud Land via the South Pole to the opposite coast of the Ross Sea. With their new Nasawing kites, the Belgian duo covered 3924 kilometres, at the time the second longest distance on the continent, in just 99 days, completely self-sufficient ‚in the teeth of the wind‘, as they described it19. They managed daily stages of up to 271 kilometres. A new era of polar travel had begun. Photo 12 Belgians Alain Hubert and Dixie Dansercoer set a milestone in modern polar expeditions in 1997-98 with their newly developed ‚Nasawings‘ on a 3924 kilometre Antarctic crossing. Their success heralded the beginning of long-distance polar journeys using wind power. Photo: Michel Brent 1997 Polar skiing comes from the Norwegian cradle, evidenced across history where they have laid numerous bold and innovative firsts. For their full 1990-91 Antarctic crossing, brothers Sjur and Simon Mørdre combined dogs and kites and became the first to use the now common Berkner Island start point. Erling Kagge was the first skier to reach the South Pole solo and unsupported – and without a radio – on January 7th, 1993. In 1994, Liv Arnesen became the first woman to ski solo and unsupported from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole. In 2005-06, Rune Gjeldnes snowkited 4804 kilometres in just 90 days from Queen Maud Land through the South Pole and along the Transantarctic Mountains to Terra Nova Bay in Victoria Land, kiting an average of 53 kilometres per day21 and kite-ski specialist Ronny Finsås sped 1130 kilometres from the South Pole down to Hercules Inlet in just 5 days. Another great success in Antarctica also bore a Norwegian signature when in 2009-10 Norwegian Cecilie Skog (Photo 2) together with the American Ryan Waters skied across the continent from Berkner Island via the South Pole to the foot of the Axel Heiberg Glacier (Photo 13), their end point marked by the landward edge of the Ross Ice Shelf.22 With sleds weighing 135 kg at the on set the duo covered over 1800 kilometres in 70 days at an average of 25 kilometres per day, intentionally dispensing with kites and making the first human-powered crossing of the landmass. They fell short of a ‚full‘ crossing opting not to continue to the outer edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, instead flying out from the Axel Heiberg grounding zone. In January 13, 2011, Norwegian crack skier Christian Eide set a world record on the 1130-kilometre Hercules Inlet to South Pole route taking just 24 days, 1 hour and 13 minutes at an average of 47 kilometres a day. And in 2011-12 Aleksander Gamme completed the longest solo unsupported ski expedition to date, covering a distance of 2260 kilometres on his return Hercules-Pole trip. Showing exemplary sportsmanship, the Norwegian stopped one kilometre short of his original starting point, instead waiting two days for Australians James Castrission and Justin Jones to finish the identical route, crossing the finish line together. Photo 13 Norwegian Cecile Skog looks for a safe descent from the south polar plateau onto the heavily crevassed Axel Heiberg Glacier. She and her American companion Ryan Waters ended their crossing on the inner coastline of the Ross Ice Shelf. Photo: Ryan Waters (2010). A new generation of polar adventurer is emerging, tackling ambitious goals with both technical knowhow and a certain lightness of being. Canadian siblings Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry, whose parents Matty McNair and Paul Landry are among the world’s most experienced polar guides, grew up in Iqaluit with sled dogs and kites. They crossed Greenland as teenagers, mastered the notorious Northwest Passage (Photo 14) and set new standards at the South Pole in an almost playful manner. In 2011-12, Eric together with French-American Sebastian Copeland snowkited over 4000 kilometres in 81 days from Queen Maud Land to Hercules Inlet via the abandoned Russian station Poljus Nedostupnosti (Pole of Inaccessibility), with its legendary bust of Lenin still evident in the snow, and the South Pole. In 2019-20 Sarah also visited the Pole of Inaccessibility, arriving after guiding a client on a gruelling 2000+ km ski expedition. Photo 14 In 2011 Canadian siblings Eric and Sarah McNair-Landry mastered the 3300 kilometre Northwest Passage with modern snowkites. Such expeditions demand high levels of skill, energy and concentration with a high risk of injury. (Photo: Sarah McNair-Landry Archives) In 2016 the prolific South African-Swiss adventurer Mike Horn arrived in Antarctica, not by plane, but in the style of the early explorers. He sailed his yacht Pangea to Princess Astrid coast where he stepped ashore with his packed sled, bid farewell to the crew and snowkited via the South Pole to the French station Dumont d`Durville in Adélie Land on the opposite side of the continent. His full solo snowkite crossing covered 4930 kilometres in just 57 days, a great triumph of true adventure spirit that was somewhat tarnished by his disingenuous declaration of covering 5100 kilometres, a prank no doubt designed to surpass the former longest snowkite expedition record of 5067 kilometres held by Frenchman Michael Charavin and German pal Cornelius Strohm on their Wings over Greenland full unsupported Greenland loop two years earlier. Incidentally, Horn accepted a warm meal at the South Pole, raising the question among hardcore purists whether, according to stringent standards, he qualified for ‚unsupported‘. Had he accepted outside support? Or was his act just a symbol of his irrepressible freedom, a whimsical gesture of resistance to rules and conformity? In the final analysis the meal played no decisive role in his successful passage. Amundsen and Scott would surely have been amused by such ‚problems‘. The vastness of Antarctica may now seem to be too constricted for the new breed of record seekers. Instead of merely crossing the continent from one side to the other, current route records are already being targeted on immense circular trips. In 2019-20 Australian Geoff Wilson set the record for the longest solo polar trip with a 5179 kilometres23 snowkite circuit on the East Antarctica plateau. Pushing the limits, Wilson not only visited that same bust of Lenin but became the first person to reach the summit of the Antarctic plateau unmechanised. At 4093 meters elevation and recording winter temperatures of minus 90º, Dome Argus represents one of the most extreme and isolated points on our planet. Wilson had pulled off the world’s longest snowkite journey, alone.
The future has already begunLooking back, the developments in Antarctic expeditioning over the past 30 years are well documented. According to the motto ‚by fair means‘ – or actually ‚by purest means‘ – sled hauling under one’s own power without the use of a wind device, (Photo 15) emerged as a purist form of polar travel, disparagingly rendering the use of kites as ‚unfair means‘. A look through history explains this judgmental and nowadays antiquated way of thinking. During the ‚Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration‘, British expeditions had already displayed an aversion to the use of sled dogs as practiced by the Norwegians. ‚Manhauling‘ was considered the epitome of British sportsmanship. Even the 1863-1888 incumbent President of the Royal Geographical Society Sir Clements Markham was a fervent believer in the moral superiority of human muscle and willpower. For the great Norwegian explorers however, pulling a sled using manpower alone was nothing more than pointless work, a waste of energy that should be avoided at all costs. It was inevitable that alternative forms of travel such as kiting would evolve but not so predictable was the resultant rivalry. Just as users of the sea doesn’t drawn comparisons between sailboats and rowboats, skiers and kiters are likewise incomparable and reference to one or the other as being aided or assisted contributes nothing to the growth of unmotorised polar travel as a shared arena. Distilling the type of energy used by a practitioner is no longer necessary as each sport speaks for itself – skiing, kiting, dogsledding etc, though some, usually those who have no inclination to snowkite, still try to emphasize their denial of ‘wind assistance’. The rudimentary downwind kites of the early 1990s, at the time regarded as a clever innovation to self-sufficient polar travel, developed into powerful and steerable foils that could be sailed upwind. This modern, technically demanding and injury-prone activity is as strenuous as other modes of polar travel and is no longer seen simply as physical relief from manhauling. Rather, snowkiting, with its string of groundbreaking performances, has established itself as an independent discipline requiring completely new rules and guidelines. In June 2010, Eric McNair-Landry and Sebastian Copeland set a 24-hour distance record of 595 kilometres during their Greenland longitudinal crossing, and French Canadian Frédéric Dion in 2014-15 on his 4171 kilometre solo crossing of Antarctica set a record for the longest distance ever covered in a single travel stage, blitzing 603 kilometres in 24 hours and 53 minutes. Anyone simplifying this as a delightful glissade is sadly mistaken. Photo 15 Hauling a sled using only human power remains the classic form of polar travel, which, depending on terrain and snow quality, can be both arduous and meditative. The Tyrolean Paul Koller glides through the wonderful mountains of Queen Maud Land with ski and polar sled. Photo: Christoph Höbenreich 2009 But the Olympic motto of ‚faster, higher, further‘ is not always the goal. In addition to the rollicking speed and distance records, new routes and tasks are also being sought. For example, the first full ski crossing of the continent, without the use of kites, from outer coastline to outer coastline, with or without depots, as a team or solo, is still open. This extreme physical and psychological endeavours its at the edge of human capability and remains an authentic major challenge for future polar athletes. There are already ambitious plans a foot to achieve. The future will bring ever more subtle travel methods seen already in back-to-the-future Windcrafts, ski-mounted platforms with permanently installed tents on which seated crew operate giant kites to sail across the ice. Fashioned using the sled-building traditions of the Greenlandic Inuit, Ramón Larramendi, Ignacio Oficialdegui and Juan Manuel Viu 2005-06 sailed their unique craft on the white continent, completing a 4486 kilometre inland loop in 62 days with not a step of ski hauling (Photo 16 and 17). The Spaniards reached both interpretations of the Pole of Inaccessibility (USSR Poljus Nedostupnosti and the British Antarctic Survey25 calculation) and Russia’s Vostok station for the first time by wind. In 2018-19, Larramendi and Oficialdegui, together with countrymen Manuel Olivera and Hilo Moreno, sailed their newly-designed Windcraft on a 52-day, 2538 kilometre circumnavigation of the 3810 meter ice cupola of Dome Fuji, the second highest vertex of East Antarctica, and its Japanese research station. Photo 16 and 17 Using wind power alone, modern polar vagabonds travel thousands of kilometres in relative comfort as they sail tent-mounted wind-crafts across the ice. Photo: Ramón Larramendi 2018 Australian ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer (Photo 18) in 2011-12 ran 21000 kilometres around half the earth and through all climates on his Greatest Run on Earth. Guided on snowshoes and in expedition style from the North Pole over the Arctic Ocean to Canada’s Ellesmere Island he then flew to the nearest road where he began his run south through North America, across the harrowing Darien Gap on the Panama/Columbia border and through South America to the end of the Pan-American Highway in Tierra del Fuego. From Punta Arenas he flew to the commercial runway at Union Glacier and ran – guided and supported by vehicle – 1157 kilometres in just 18 days to the South Pole, all the while raising funds for International Red Cross. In Antarctica he averaged 64 kilometres daily running on snow and ice, the bulk of it in standard running shoes with light neoprene covers. Photo 18 On his ‚Greatest Run on Earth‘ in 2011-12, Australian ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer jogged 21000 kilometres from the North Pole through both Americas to the South Pole, raising funds for International Red Cross. Photo: Eric Philips 2011 For those with no interest in running or gliding, one can ride a bicycle (Photo 19) or tricycle. In December 2013, the British Maria Leijerstam (Photo 20) became the first person to pedal her trike from the inner coast of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole in 10 days 14 hours and 56 minutes, using the McMurdo-South Pole highway and vehicle support. Photo 19 On the first South Pole expedition over the untravelled Reedy Glacier in 2016, Australian Keith Tuffley covered 51% of the journey by fatbike while towing his own sled, covering the remaining distance on skis. Photo: Eric Philips 2016 Photo 20 In 2013 British Maria Leijerstam became the first person to pedal to the South Pole, covering the 638 km leg from the Ross Ice Shelf via the South Pole Overland Traverse road to the South Pole in just under eleven days. Photo: Archives Maria Leijerstam Exploration of the Antarctic has also changed for mountaineers and opened the door to a new era of alpine discovery, as demonstrated in impressive fashion in 2017-18 by world-class climbers Leo Houlding (UK), Mark Sedon (New Zealand) and Jean Burgun (France) (Photo 21). Flying to their starting point on the Antarctica plateau and using alpine touring ski equipment and snowkites, they descended the treacherous Scott Glacier to the 2020 meter rock spire, The Spectre, in the remote and difficult to access Transantarctic Mountains. After their successful climb they quickly returned to Union Glacier, briefly using the ice highway to avoid the incessant sastrugi. This style embodies 21st century expeditioning: self-sufficient with all that is required for life on the ice, teams can explore these cluded interior of Antarctica, climbing untouched and sometimes nameless mountains (Photo 15, Title-Photo in blog part 3). Photo 21 Jean Burgun from France snowkites at speed with a heavy sled towards the remote Transantarctic Mountains during the 2017-18 Spectreexpedition Photo: Mark Sedon 2017 Creativity and technological development continue to drive new variants in sport and equipment and new methods of travel to Antarctica. Often the disciplines are entirely different, their only commonality is the same surface on which they travel. Modern vehicles and flight logistics also increasingly enable tourism in Antarctica, all the way to the South Pole. This is how ‘Last Degree’ ski expeditions, ski journeys that cover the final degree of latitude (60 nautical miles, 111 kilometres), are conducted. Foot marathons and ski races are other forms of polar activity at the southern end of the world and, despite only one participant, 2020 saw the first Ironman in Antarctica. It remains intriguing to see what the next generation of polar travellers can conjure. Fortunately, permitting restrictions and dangerous crevassing prevent vehicles, now very common in Antarctica, from driving in many scenic mountain ranges. Modern polar tourism would otherwise run the risk of destroying precisely what adventurers are seeking: secluded icy wilderness. Antarctica offers boundless scope for those looking for adventure, exploration, tourism, wilderness, or just silent seclusion. It has captivated explorers such as Shackleton, Amundsen and Scott and attracted all manner of professional, amateur and novice adventurer. Fascination with the southern continent will never diminish, adventure types will continue to nurture new goals, motives and desires. But with that comes ever-changing goalposts and a recycled audience that has both little knowledge of where the playing field lies and no tools to filter or even decipher language used by amateurs and professional alike. Wold-class polar adventurers create innovative disciplines and journeys, all the while tipping their beanie to the spirit of discovery fostered by the true pioneers and its this blending of old and new that must set the blueprint for a modern lexicon of standardised terminology. CIRCUS ANTARCTICA – Part 1 CIRCUS ANTARCTICA – Part 3
Roger Mear, Robert Swan: A Walk to The Pole. To the Heart of Antarctica in the Footsteps of Scott. New York, 1987. With the Southern Quest, the rescued Austrians Bruno Klausbruckner, Wolfgang Axt, Kurt Czech, Eduard Frosch, Werner Hölzl and Leopold Krenn also lost their chance of climbing Mount Minto, 4163 meter, in the Admiralty Range, Victoria Land. Joseph Murphy: South to the Pole by Ski. Nine Men and Two Women pioneer a New Route to the South Pole. Saint Paul, 1990 The expedition members of the Transantarctica indicate different distances: Jean-Louis Etienne used ARGOS satellite data and mentions 6300 km, the expedition navigator Geoff Somers measured 6048 km with a sextant and odometer and Will Steger mentions 6020 km. In any case, it is the longest human crossing of the Antarctic continent. Of course Nansen used skis and not „snowshoes“ as the german translation of his book “På ski over Grønland”, 1890 (german edition: “Auf Schneeschuhen durch Grönland”, 1891; english edition: “The first crossing of Greenland”, 1890) suggests. In their publications, Messner and Fuchs indicate an exaggerated distance of 2800 kilometers, which would correspond almost to the total distance between the two outer edges of the ice shelf (Reinhold Messner: Antarktis Himmel und Hölle zugleich. 1990 p. 386; english edition: Antarctica. Both Heaven and Hell. 1992; Messner’s Philosophikum – So weit wie möglich. Bergwelten 4/2020, p. 146; Arved Fuchs: Von Pol zu Pol. 1990, p. 239). Interview Reinhold Messner South Pole Station Børge Ousland: Alone Across Antarctica. Oslo, 1997, S. 91 Alain Hubert, Dixie Dansercoer, Michel Brent: In the Teeth of the Wind. South through the Pole. Norwich, 2001 Liv Arnesen: Snille piker går ikke til Sydpolen (Nice girls don´t go to the South Pole). Oslo, 1995 Expeditionstagebuch 02/03/2006 Explorersweb 01/21/2010 The actual distance covered with deviations between the camps was as much as 5306 kilometers. The Sydney Morning Herald, 01/07/2020 In 2004 satellites measured the earth’s cold record of minus 98.6 ° C in its vicinity, forschung-und-wissen.de. Depending on the calculation method, with or without ice shelf surfaces, there are several poles of inaccessibility. According to the British Antarctic Survey, the pole of inaccessibility is 82°53′14″S, 55°04′30″E. The former Soviet station of the Pole of Inaccessibility (Polus Nedostupnosti) is at 82°06′S, 54°58′E. The Scott Research Institute calculated the pole of inaccessibility at 85°50′S, 65°47′E.