Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The South Pole Traverse

While I was Pole, just before Christmas, the South Pole Traverse came in from McMurdo. They had left 38 days earlier (though they had returned to MCM with some mechanical issues and been snowed in for a time too, so it didn't take quite that long to drive to Pole) and driven along a packed snow "highway" to the Pole. The idea is to reduce the number of airplane flights of cargo (especially fuel) down to the Pole with cheaper transport methods.

The Traverse consists of a bunch of Cat and Case tractors pulling sleds made just from sheets of plastic on which the fuel bladders and other cargo sit. Must be a slow way up to the plateau! The return trip to McMurdo is quicker.

There was a good article in the Guardian, a few years back now, with the warnings about the Pole getting to be easier, and with fears of mass tourism. More and more tourists each year, but none coming by the route of the Traverse.

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