Tuesday, 29 December 2009 09:19

International Trans-Antarctic '89-90

Written by  Will Steger
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trans198990In March 1990, Will Steger completed what no man had ever before attempted: the crossing of Antarctica on foot. Lured by the challenge and beauty of Earth's last great wilderness, and determined to focus the world's attention on the frozen continent now that its ecological future hangs in the balance, Steger and his International Trans-Antartica Team had performed an extraordinary feat of endurance. The team of six men and thirty-six specially bred (some part wolf) and trained huskies took 220 days to cross the seventh continent. By sled and ski they covered more than thirty-seven hundred miles, surviving the most brutal weather (windchills of -150 degrees, winds raging beyond one hundred miles an hour), traversing the plains of ice riddled with deep and deadly crevasses, and mountain ranges as high as 11,400 feet.The members of the team were:

  • Will Steger, an American, an impassioned and seasoned explorer
  • Jean-Louis Etienne, a French doctor who had skied solo to the North Pole, where by incredible chance he had met Steger on the icepack
  • Victor Boyarsky, a scientist from the Soviet Union (Russia), who had previous experience collecting ozone and weather data at scientific bases in Antarctica
  • Qin Dahe, a glaciologist from china, whose daily measurements of the ice and snow were to shed light on the extent to which Antarctica had been polluted
  • Keizo Funatsu, a dog trainer from Osaka, assigned to keeping the sled dogs-considered to be the most crucial members of the team- healthy and inspired
  • Geoff Somers, also a dog trainer, veteran of the British Antarctic survey and the team's navigator

On their journey, the team traveled under extreme conditions ranging from twenty-four-hour daylight to blizzards that blotted out the sun, making progress nearly impossible. September brought dangerous storms;wind-whipped snow coated the inside of the men's mouths when they gulped for breath, almost suffocating them. In October, "the windchills were at the limit of what a warm-blooded creature could stand. Any exposed skin on our faces froze." In December the team reached the south Pole, in January and February they became the first to cross on foot the never-before-traversed area of inaccessibility, and in March they reached the opposite side of the continent. The struggle to keep men and dogs alive and moving forward was overwhelming, but bonds formed among them all were both powerful and permanent.

Last modified on Wednesday, 14 July 2010 14:20
Will Steger

Will Steger

Website: http:/www.willsteger.com E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
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