Sunday, January 16, 2011

South Pole Centennial

Next antarctic summer marks the 100th anniversary of the race to the pole betwen Scott and Amundsen.

An article in today's NY Times describes the expected tourist boom at the pole, people arriving by plane, maybe skiing the last few miles, or trekking from the coast:

One event is a reenactment of the race, with teams following both routes.

A snip from one contestant's profile:

"He has never tried cross-country skiing, and he is not a big fan of cold weather, but he has been practicing by dragging two car tires on a rope for several hours at a time."

Sounds well prepared... but try dragging those tires 12-14 hours a day, and did anyone tell you the pole's at 10,000 feet?  So maybe breath through a straw while you're at it.

I want to know how far, physically, I can go,” said Mr. Elliott, who is paying about $95,000 to enter the competition, sponsored by a London-based company calledExtreme World Races. “It would be great to get there first and run the Union Jack at the South Pole before the Norwegians get there” 
One aspect (not mentioned in the article) that can't be reenacted is that the Norwegian team's effort was dependent on sled dogs, which are now banned on the continent.

There is a year round research station at the pole.  They may have to invest in a few signs.

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