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.