Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ 2022 – South Pole

Celebrating Amundsen’s 150th

credit: Antarctic Heritage Trust

The South Pole Expedition team announced

The three Inspiring Explorers™ selected for the traverse of the South Pole are Auckland firefighter and medical first-responder, Laura Andrews, Norwegian Marthe Brendefur, an Intelligence Analyst, and New Zealand Olympian and Trust Mentor, Mike Dawson.

Meet the South Pole Inspiring Explorers™

The expedition, in partnership with Ousland Explorers and with logistics and support from Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, will be guided by Norwegian polar guide Bengt Rotmo and led by Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive, Director Nigel Watson.

Read the team’s bios here or by clicking through the photos below.

Bengt Rotmo
Ousland Explorers polar guide
Nigel Watson
Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director

Inspiring Explorer Marthe Brendefur

Connecting young people with the spirit of exploration

To celebrate 150 years since the birth of legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen, Antarctic Heritage Trust is taking three Inspiring Explorers™ on the expedition of a lifetime. A Kiwi-Norwegian expedition team will undertake a guided traverse of close to 1000km from the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole, a route inspired by Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs’ Antarctic crossing.

The team will embrace the same spirit of exploration embodied by the legendary figures of heroic-era Antarctic exploration – Roald Amundsen, Robert Falcon Scott, Sir Ernest Shackleton, and Carsten Borchgrevink whose legacy the Trust cares for. The team will also embody an explorer mindset, demonstrating curiosity, resilience, leadership, innovation, and team work.

Left: Roald Amundsen, Nome, Alaska 1923. © Norsk Polarinstitutt. Right: Amundsen, Hanssen, Hassel, and Wisting at the South Pole in 1911 (image cropped). © Norsk Polarinstitutt.

What does the expedition involve?

Antarctic Heritage Trust is taking three inspiring young people from New Zealand and/or Norway on a guided expedition to ski to the Geographic South Pole in late 2022 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen’s birth, the first to reach the South Pole. Antarctic Heritage Trust is the agency that cares for the legacy of Antarctica’s first explorers.

Led by the vastly experienced Norwegian polar guide Bengt Rotmo (Ousland Explorers), and Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director Nigel Watson, the team will traverse close to 1000km from the Ronne Ice Shelf to the South Pole, a route inspired by Reinhold Messner and Arved Fuchs’ 1989 Antarctic crossing.

Organised by Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions (ALE) and Ousland Explorers (OE), the expedition will run from early November 2022 to early January 2023.

With temperatures ranging from -25°C to -40°C, the team will experience all types of weather and reach elevations of 2,800m skiing for up to 10 hours per day for over 40 days, each pulling a 60-80kg sled. In order to achieve this extremely strenuous trip, participants will need skiing, mountaineering or cold weather camping experience and the mental stamina to continue in extreme conditions when physically tried. Experience, a determined positive mindset, and adequate training will contribute to the overall enjoyment and wellbeing of the whole team. Technical skill, a high level of strength and aerobic fitness and a commitment to undertake rigorous daily training for several months leading up to the expedition will be required.

The team will fly to Punta Arenas, Chile and spend five days preparing food and equipment and preparing. An ALE flight will then take the team to Union Glacier in Antarctica where a further few days will be spent testing clothing and equipment.

Once the sleds are packed and the team is ready for departure, an ALE flight will drop them at the Messner Start. The team will commence the 40+ day journey skirting the western flank of the massive Fountain Ice Stream and the Transantarctic Mountains, before turning toward the final goal, the South Pole. Climbing gradually from sea level to 2,800m, the effects of altitude will be prominent. Wind, cold and white-out conditions will be constant, challenging the body, mind and spirit.

In the words of Amundsen:

“Shining white, glowing blue, black crevices lit up by the sun; this land looks like a fairy tale”.

On reaching the South Pole, the team will celebrate completing one of the most challenging expeditions imaginable, embracing the spirit of Amundsen and the early explorers whose inspiring legacy the Antarctic Heritage Trust cares for.

Unloading equipment from ALE Twin Otter at Messner Start © ALE/Carl Alvey
Skier hauls a sled on the Messner route to the South Pole © ALE/Carl Alvey
Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ - Greenland Ice Cap 2018

Why are we undertaking this expedition?

Antarctic Heritage Trust’s vision is Inspiring Explorers. We conserve, share and encourage the spirit of exploration. Caring for the Antarctic legacy of the first explorers, we also connect young people with the timeless spirit of exploration. We provide opportunities for young inspiring people to explore the world, and test their comfort zones.

The Trust’s Inspiring Explorers™ programme changes participants’ lives for the better. It creates a platform for participants to share inspiring stories and experiences with their communities and to a global audience through the Trust’s channels and their own community outreach. The ripple effect goes deep into Inspiring Explorers’ communities, encouraging others to explore.

This once in a lifetime trip will offer people a chance to challenge themselves in the world’s most extreme environment under the guidance of expert Norwegian guide Bengt Rotmo (Ousland Explorers), and New Zealand explorer and Antarctic Heritage Trust Executive Director, Nigel Watson.

Participants will embrace the same spirit of exploration as the early polar explorers on their own remarkable journey to celebrate 150 years since the birth of legendary polar explorer Roald Amundsen.

Inspiring Explorers Expedition™ - Greenland Ice Cap 2018

What are Inspiring Explorers’ Expeditions?

The Trust’s Inspiring Explorers’ Expeditions™ provide opportunities for young people to experience the world’s polar regions. These expeditions engage people with the legacy and spirit of exploration, inspiring a new generation of explorers. As part of this social contract, we expect Inspiring Explorers™ to connect with, engage and inspire their communities by sharing the incredible experiences they are privileged to have through their participation in the programme. They also become part of the Trust’s valued alumni.

Previous Inspiring Explorers Expeditions™

Follow a manual added linkFollow a manual added linkLink to: Antarctic Peninsula 2019
Link to: Greenland Ice CapLink to: Climbing Mount Scott, Antarctic PeninsulaLink to: Crossing South Georgia