Antarctic Update: 4×4 To The South Pole

There are multiple ways of reaching the South Pole of course. Some visitors fly directly to the place, and most observers would call them the smart ones. Others make the long, arduous trek by skiing, sled dogging, or even kiting from various starting points on the Antarctic continent. Others find alternative ways of reaching that goal.

The newest “first” at the South Pole was achieved by a group of four Toyota Hilux truck, who recently completed a 5000km (3107 mile) journey from the Russian Novo research station to the South Pole and back. This gave them the distinction of being the first 4×4 vehicles to make that journey. They also completed the 2500km return trip in just 8 days, 17 hours.

The Toyota Hilux, also known as the Arctic Truck, are specially modified vehicles designed to operate in harsh conditions that includes extreme temperatures, high altitudes, and wild weather. The trucks set out from Novo on December 21st, and in typical tourist fashion took their time to reach their goal, arriving on the 21st of January. But also like many tourists at the end of their journey, they were ready to get back home, thus the rather fast return trip. Departing the South Pole on the 30th of January, they arrived back where they started on February 7th.

The journey took them through vast crevasse fields and through massive amounts of snow. Novo Station actually received the same amount of snow in two months than they would typical get over five years. The temperatures typically hovered around the -40º C/F level, but wind chills often put it closer to -60º C (-76º F).

Now this is what I call a road trip. I could see calling up a couple of my boys, stopping by the 7-11 to grab some Doritos and Mountain Dew, and then hitting the road for the Pole. Seems like great fun to me!

Kraig Becker

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