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  • Breaking camp | South Pole 1911-2011
    here and there Excellent conditions for a skater but unfortunately unsuitable for our dogs and ourselves Amundsen on this day 100 years ago Read more Vegard turns weatherbound days into red letter days with his magic in the kitchen Photo Norwegian Polar Institute We looked enquiringly at each other when we woke up The wind was still tearing at our tents Thick swirling snow still blew along the ground And the visibility was nothing to write home about But we wanted to continue on our way Two days of lying still was enough Besides we were reading aloud from Amundsen s book last night This is the fifth day and the wind is worse than ever We were all in agreement There is nothing worse than lying weatherbound like this said another It saps the strength more than skiing from morning to night Personally I am of the same opinion One day is pleasant but two three four and what we now faced five days no that was too awful Shall we give it a try then No sooner had the suggestion been voiced than everything was agreed unanimously and with jubilation Amundsen left from the Butcher on a course due south and soon found himself in the midst of an area that has been called the Devil s Ballroom and the Devil s Glacier names so portentous that they have prompted us to choose a curving route and give Amundsen s problem areas a wide berth After a couple hours of skiing the weather eased off and it eventually became a beautiful day here on the Plateau but on one point we must agree with Amundsen The skiing conditions are horrific A sledding trip through the Sahara would not have offered a worse gliding surface Position S 85 52

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-12-01-breaking-camp.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Storm | South Pole 1911-2011
    during the night and in the morning more drift and almost no visibility Admittedly I had decided on a rest day for the doggies But in a little lull we all agreed nonetheless to set off and try Amundsen on this day 100 years ago Read more Weatherbound at the depot Photo Norwegian Polar Institute Despite the fact that we re taking it easy in our tents the slightest movement of a tentmate is accompanied by audible heavy breathing Amundsen also felt the elevation When I wanted to turn in my sleeping bag I had to do it in stages so as not to get out of breath To get all the way around I had to stop and take a few extra breaths That comrades had the same problem was clear without any need to ask them Hearing them was enough We recognise all this description Because of the earth s rotation the atmosphere is thinner at the poles than at the equator Thinner atmosphere means lower pressure and less oxygen in polar regions than at lower latitudes At any specific elevation above sea level the amount of oxygen is unevenly distributed and varies depending the location on the globe The consequences are clearly noticeable For example 3000 metres above sea level in Antarctica corresponds to 3550 metres in the Himalayas If you climb the highest mountain in Antarctica Mount Vinson 4892 that corresponds to just over 6000 metres elevation in the Himalayas In the past few days we have climbed from sea level to about 3000 metres above sea level The slopes have already taken a toll but from now on we will be breathing only 62 of the oxygen we would have had at sea level Position S 85 39 473 W 169 36 203 Temperature 27

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-30-storm.html (2014-09-28)
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  • A day of rest | South Pole 1911-2011
    a few descriptive details The four man tent also known as the mansion or the assembly room stands to the right The three man tent frequently called the slum is on the left The tents are at shouting distance at wind speeds up to Beaufort 6 or so At higher speeds all contact is lost Many undoubtedly wonder how we handle ourselves when we take a rest day under such extreme conditions The answer is the pee bottle In everyday parlance on the Plateau often called the piss bottle On a resting day with wind and drifting snow and and 30 C below that bottle is more important than ever The storm can rage on to its heart s content and one need never leave one s sleeping bag Provided one has mastered the technique that is But some people do crazy things The historian Jølle for example refuses to sink so low as to pee in a bottle Regardless of the wind speed outside The sock magnate Ulvang has to crawl out of his sleeping bag to get it all going And then much of the point is lost Seeing Vegard Ulvang hunched on his knees with a red energy drink bottle between his legs at the far end of the slum is with all due respect not a pretty sight Besides he s wasting all the advantages of being a man Winther and Aasheim are the only ones who have fully mastered this implementation of the recovery position So there you have it a few specifics on issues some of you have undoubtedly wondered about on how we handle a resting day on the Plateau PS1 Asle T Johansen s expedition also has a depot here It is untouched We must have passed them sometime yesterday the blowing

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-29-a-day-of-rest.html (2014-09-28)
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  • The Butcher | South Pole 1911-2011
    get the sledges forward today Amundsen on this day 100 years ago Read more It was chilly on the plateau today Photo Norwegian Polar Institute We are very near The Butcher the place where Amundsen did away with all the dogs he no longer had use for Or more accurately no longer had food for As Bjaaland wrote they slaughtered 23 doggies and took out the innards They would now continue with 18 dogs and three sleds The butchered dogs provided food for both man and beast Amundsen ate five dog cutlets and looked in vain for more in the pot It was not a warm welcome we received when we arrived on the plateau today Strong catabatic winds and 30 degrees below zero We also encountered the infamous sastrugi just as Amundsen noted the plateau was criss crossed by rock hard knife sharp snowdrifts But despite the wind chill factor we arrived at the second of our two depots flown out in connection with an expedition that starts from the Axel Heiberg Glacier Now we have all gathered in the big tent to enjoy some tasty desserts Position S 85 39 473 W 169 36 203 Temperature 30 C

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-28-the-butcher.html (2014-09-28)
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  • No Mount Johansen | South Pole 1911-2011
    campsite at about 2600 metres elevation and are extremely pleased to have most of the altitude under us We have also left behind the two mightiest mountains Fridtjof Nansen and Don Pedro Christophersen Polar naming is interesting Maps can reveal a lot about who explored a region and what signals the explorer wanted to send Polar place names reverberate with history cultural heritage and political interests There has often been a desire to put a national imprint on a region as a way of strengthening territorial claims We have studied our maps carefully and found that many of the names the expedition team used in their diaries were eventually superseded by other names Don Pedro is one example It is unlikely that any of the five skiers spared a thought for the Norwegian landowner in Argentina as they struggled up these slopes But when Fram came back to the Bay of Whales and Captain Thorvald Nilsen explained how Norwegian Argentinian Don Pedro had saved the expedition from financial catastrophe Amundsen felt obliged to rename the mountain he had originally given the patriotic name Håkonshallen We note that Prestrud and Stubberud have been given peaks in this area Two of the three who were not included in the team that made the final onslaught to the South Pole after the first abortive attempt But Hjalmar Johansen was not given a geographical monument His betrayal was too great according to Amundsen Johansen had criticised Amundsen for having started too early in the season Johansen who probably saved Prestrud s life and thus ensured the success of the entire expedition was not to be honoured We have set up camp on the slopes of Helland Hansen named after the great Norwegian oceanographer who was in charge of the scientific programme for Amundsen s

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-27-no-mount-johansen.html (2014-09-28)
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  • A world of ice | South Pole 1911-2011
    the mountains making their way to the Ross Sea There was a short clear interval in the small hours at 3 o clock and we went out to investigate the conditions We were on a slope with a fairly steep gradient along our course Amundsen on this day 100 years ago Read more Spellbound by magnificent scenery Photo Norwegian Polar Institute Many of the icefalls look like nature s own meringues At a distance we have seen gigantic blocks of ice come crashing down the slopes filling the air with huge clouds of powder snow dislodged by the shock waves We are constantly stunned by the beautiful untamed scenery that surrounds us in every direction We had intended to take a break today but the weather was simply too glorious for that And the temptation to scale the steepest segment of our route was too strong We apparently felt the same thing as Bjaaland during Amundsen s expedition Good weather Too good to lie still We will postpone our resting day until we reach the plateau That will also give us more time to adjust to the altitude Position S 85 27 884 W 166 10 960 Temperature 13 C

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-26-a-world-of-ice.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Finding the way | South Pole 1911-2011
    8 o clock Amundsen on this day 100 years ago Read more The main road to the South Pole in 1911 Photo Norwegian Polar Institute Were they just lucky Was it determination and fearlessness These are our thoughts as our skis carry us within sight of one sheer ice wall after the other and tall mountains are succeeded by even taller mountains Regardless of how the feat was accomplished we feel deep respect for the way they managed to move all those dogs and people and all that gear southward and upward with such impressive speed We thought we would start climbing up the icefall today but history repeats itself Let s listen to Amundsen again The task we had taken on was larger than we had expected For one thing it was three times as far as any of us had imagined In addition the snow was soft and deep and made moving a great effort We organised ourselves like a cycling team five minutes at the head of the line clearing the path then the next man takes the lead And when we reached the bottom of the icefall the two fittest of us continued tramping a path up 200 metres while our two more domestically oriented members pitched the tents and made dinner Tomorrow we will take a day s rest we re almost certain of that We have had 25 strenuous days without a break Several bodies would benefit from a bit of recuperation The observant reader will have noticed that we have narrowed the gap between us and Amundsen This is mainly because he was delayed by weather for several days just after he reached the plateau But now he is moving on again And one last thing for those who are wondering no one

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-25-finding-the-way.html (2014-09-28)
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  • Axel Heiberg | South Pole 1911-2011
    This steep segment got its name in the 1960s It was here Amundsen and his men believed it must be possible to find a path onward and upward The first glacier was steep but the second was a veritable road to heaven As usual it was the man from Telemark who was sent out on reconnaissance It was a delight to watch Bjaaland on his skis up there It was obvious that he had skied up a slope before Of all the place names in this area Axel Heiberg this mighty glacier is undoubtedly the most renowned It is an established concept among explorers and Antarctic aficionados Heiberg was a Norwegian magnate who along with the brothers Amund and Ellef Ringnes of brewery fame was a staunch supporter of Norwegian polar research Nansen Sverdrup and Amundsen were all deeply indebted to them We also see mountains Amundsen didn t name such as Mount Gjelsvik named in 1961 62 after one of Jan Gunnar s predecessors in the position of Director of the Norwegian Polar Institute Tomorrow Amundsen s Icefall awaits us We are happy to be here and look forward to testing whether our ability to conquer the slopes will

    Original URL path: http://sorpolen2011.npolar.no/en/diary/south-pole/2011-11-24-axel-heiberg.html (2014-09-28)
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