Visitors crowd South Pole for anniversary of conquest

Dec 12, 2011

Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg will join dozens of adventurers at the South Pole this week to mark the 100th anniversary of countryman Roald Amundsen's groundbreaking expedition to the frozen continent.

Often described as "no man's land", the pole will be a relative hive of activity for Wednesday's anniversary.

Stoltenberg will travel by plane to the region -- unlike Amundsen who made the trek on skis -- making him only the second head of government to visit the after New Zealand's Prime Minister Helen Clark made the trip in 2007.

Stoltenberg is scheduled to welcome Norwegian adventurers attempting to reach the pole on the anniversary, some of whom are retracing the route taken by the heroic explorer.

According to the Norwegian Polar Institute, a dozen Norwegian South Pole expeditions are expected in December.

To pay homage to the of English naval officer Robert Scott, whom Amundsen beat to the pole in a dramatic race and who tragically lost his life on his return, British visitors are also expected to visit Antarctica around the same time.

Just beaten to the finish line, Scott and his men, who had chosen to make the trip using ponies rather than dogs, died after being caught in a blizzard on their way back.

A treaty signed in 1959 bans all claims to territory on the inhospitable continent, and visits there by dignitaries are rare. The lack of jurisdiction also makes it difficult to have an overview of how many are there and where they are from.

The only certainty is that none of the current expeditions will reach the pole using sleddogs -- one of the key factors in Amundsen's triumph over Scott -- as canines have been banned in Antarctica since the 1990s to avoid introducing new illnesses.

Explore further: Aging Africa

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Relics from Scott's doomed Antarctic trip on sale

Aug 25, 2010

The skis and scientific instruments of a physicist who accompanied Captain Scott on his ill-fated trip to the Antarctic will be sold in London next month, Christie's auctioneers said Wednesday.

British soldiers reach South Pole

Dec 28, 2006

A team of British military personnel has become the first service members to visit the South Pole in nearly 100 years.

Survivors of Antarctic mission land in NZ

Feb 28, 2011

Two Norwegian adventurers Monday said they held slim hopes of finding the three other members of their party alive, after their yacht went missing in a fierce Antarctic storm.

Recommended for you

Aging Africa

Aug 29, 2014

In the September issue of GSA Today, Paul Bierman of the University of Vermont–Burlington and colleagues present a cosmogenic view of erosion, relief generation, and the age of faulting in southernmost Africa ...

NASA animation shows Hurricane Marie winding down

Aug 29, 2014

NOAA's GOES-West satellite keeps a continuous eye on the Eastern Pacific and has been covering Hurricane Marie since birth. NASA's GOES Project uses NOAA data and creates animations and did so to show the end of Hurricane ...

EU project sails off to study Arctic sea ice

Aug 29, 2014

A one-of-a-kind scientific expedition is currently heading to the Arctic, aboard the South Korean icebreaker Araon. This joint initiative of the US and Korea will measure atmospheric, sea ice and ocean properties with technology ...

User comments : 0