South Pole Traverse (SPoT) is a heavy equipment traverse that travels 1,035 miles from McMurdo Station to the geographic South Pole and back, across dynamic glacial ice. SPoT’s primary mission is to supply the National Science Foundation’s Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station with fuel and other supplies. Traversing fuel overland is about twice as efficient as flying it (as was previously done) and generates significantly fewer emissions.
photo courtesy of Scott Polar Research Institute
During the British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913, Robert Falcon Scott brought the first motorized sledges to Antarctica and Roald Amundsen considered the motorized transport a real challenge to his use of dogs. Unfortunately for Scott, on the southern journey the machines broke down and a lack of parts prevented their repair so the men were forced to continue on foot. Scott noted that the current engines were not suitable for polar climates, yet that this problem would be overcome in the future. Scott recorded in his diary that: “A small measure of success will be enough to show their possibilities, their ability to revolutionise Polar transport.”
photo courtesy of the Canterbury Museum
In 1958, as part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Sir Edmund Hillary proved Scott correct when he successfully led a convoy of Ferguson Tractors to the South Pole. Hillary and his team were the first to reach the Pole overland since Scott’s 1912 expedition.
"The explorers of the past were great men and we should honour them. But let us not forget that their spirit lives on. It is still not hard to find a man who will adventure for the sake of a dream or one who will search, for the pleasure of searching, not for what he may find." - Sir Edmund Hillary