The 2018-2019 Antarctic expedition season may be over, that that doesn’t mean we have to close the book on the frozen continent completely. In fact, if you’re planning on taking such an expedition in the future, then Explorers Web has an article that you may want to take a look at. The article lists the ten most popular skiing routes to the South Pole, with a bit of information on each one.
If you follow expeditions to the South Pole with any regularity, you can probably guess which route gets the most traffic. The trail from Hercules Inlet to the South Pole is by far the most popular, with the vast majority of skiers departing from the coast there. ExWeb says that the route was first opened back in 1988, and since then at least 187 people have traveled to 90ºS from there. The fastest, and current record holder, is Norwegian Christian Eide, who covered the 1130 km (702 mile) distance in 24 days. Meanwhile, it took American Aaron Linsdau 81 days to ski the same route, which is the record for the longest time spend on the Hercules route.
Next up is the Messner Start, which was pioneered by the famed mountaineer and explore Reinhold Messner back in 1989. Other options include launching an expedition from Ross Island, a Berkner Island start, and setting off from Patriot Hills. A few years back, Patriot Hills was a lot more popular, but now that ALE has moved its base of operations over to Union Glacier, fewer people embark from there.
For the rest of the list, you’ll just have to head over to ExWeb and check things out for yourself. Needless to say, its a pretty fascinating read, with some insights on seldom used routes that most people probably don’t even know exist. I won’t spoil everything, but for budding polar explorers, there are a lot of options here if you’re looking to get off the beaten path.
Check out the entire line up here.
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