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January 18, 2022

Norway marks Amundsen’s South Pole feat 100 years on

Coco Galescu and Romeo Dunca reach South Pole on skis.

Coco Galescu and Romeo Dunca (photo) reached the South Pole on skis yesterday night, realitatea.net informs. Through their ex­pedition, Galescu and Dunca wanted to pay homage to Amun­d­sen. The two had to ski 300 kilometres before reaching their destination. Temperatures plummeted to -45 degrees Celsius. The two had limited food supplies after some of their food was confiscated at the airport in Santiago, Chile. Moreover, the two had to carry an older team mate on a sleigh.

Dozens of scientists and explorers have joined the Norwegian prime minister to mark 100 years since Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to the South Pole. At the pole, PM Jens Stoltenberg paid tribute to “one of the most outstanding achievements of mankind”, the BBC said.

But bad weather has obstructed several explorers who had hoped to reach the pole in time for Wednesday’s events. Homage was also being paid to Robert Scott, the UK explorer who Amundsen beat to the pole. Scott and four companions died on the return expedition after being caught in a blizzard.

Stoltenberg unveiled an ice bust of Amundsen at the US scientific base station Amundsen Scott. He said the commemorations aimed “to highlight the importance of this cold continent in our efforts to understand the warming of the globe”, his office said in a statement. He said Amundsen’s polar expeditions “helped to form our new national identity”.

Amundsen’s arrival at the pole on 14 December 1911 came only six years after Norway had declared independence after a long union with Sweden. Amundsen and his men – Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel and Oscar Wisting – had the same qualities “that the young nation wanted to be recognised by: courage, determination and endurance”, the prime minister said.

“Scott and his team paid the ultimate price. But their names will forever be inscribed in polar history. They will always be remembered for their courage and determination in reaching one of the most inhospitable places on earth,” Stoltenberg added.

Icy winds and low visibility have hampered many explorers who had hoped to be welcomed by Stoltenberg in time for Wed­nesday’s centenary. Norwegian Polar Institute director Jan-Gunnar Winther, who had attempted to reach the pole on skis, and Norwegian adventurer Asle Johansen, who had hoped to use the same equipment as Amundsen, both had to make the last stretch of their journey by plane to arrive in time.

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