There's the South Pole, said Christopher Robin, and I expect there's an East Pole and a West Pole, though people don't like talking about them.


A. A. MILNE (1882-1956)

South Pole

Reaching the South Pole


Roald Amundsen was the first man to reach the Geographic South Pole in 1911. He travelled with huskies (which are now banned in Antarctica due to their effect on the natural fauna) and used them to supplement his rations. Scott, who arrived 35 days later, used ponies instead of dogs. His team also ate their animals.

The Southern Pole of Inaccessibility is far more remote and hard to reach than the Geographic South Pole. It is located at the furthest point from the Southern Ocean and has a year round average temperature of -58.2°C.

On the 4 December 2006, Team N2i (Rory Sweet, Rupert Longsdon, Henry Cookson and Paul Landry) began their expedition, hoping to be the first team to reach the Inaccessible Pole without direct mechanical assistance.

Using a combination of traditional man hauling and kite skiing, they travelled over 1700 kilometres in 49 days, making history when they reached their destination on 20th January 2007.

ROALD AMUNDSEN (1872-1928)

The numerous people who imagine that a long stay in the Polar regions makes a man less susceptible of cold than other mortals are completely mistaken.

Which Pole?


There are five different North Poles and six different South Poles. The two Geographic poles are where the Earth's axis of rotation meets the surface while the Geomagnetic poles are where the Earth's magnetic dipole meets the surface. To further confuse things, magnetically speaking, the South geomagnetic pole is actually the North pole of the Earth’s magnetic field.

 The two Magnetic poles are where geomagnetic field lines point vertically into the ground. The two Celestial poles are imaginary points in the sky, towards which the Earth’s axes of rotation (or geographic poles) point. The North Pole of Inaccessibility is the point in the Arctic Ocean furthest from land and the South Pole of Inaccessibility is the point on the Antarctic continent furthest from the ocean.
 
There is a bust of Lenin at the South Pole of Inaccessibility which was placed on the top of a Soviet hut by Russian explorers 48 years ago. It is larger than life and made of plastic. Two Russian teams were the only people to reach the spot, in 1958 and 1967, until a British-Canadian expedition dug up the bust in 2007.

Marking the Poles


There is no physical marker at the North Geographic Pole because the ice above it is continually moving. Neither is there one at the North or South Magnetic Poles, as the Earth’s magnetic field keeps moving.

At the South Geographic pole, pictures show two actual poles, a green wooden one and one with a US flag on, as well as a notice board (atop two more poles) explaining where you are.

The South Pole marker is moved on the 1st January every year to take shifts in the polar ice sheet into account.

The Ceremonial South Pole is marked by an actual stripey pole with a silver ball on top, surrounded by flags of different nations. This is a few feet from the Geographic South Pole and used for ceremonial purposes.

The 2004 tsunami shifted the location of the geographic South Pole by a few centimetres.

During the race to the South Pole, Amundsen ate his huskies: Scott ate his ponies.

The South Pole has one sunrise and one sunset each year.

VINCENT VAN GOGH (1853-90)

You can't be at the pole and the equator at the same time. You must choose your own line, as I hope to do, and it will probably be colour.

The warmest temperature ever recorded at the South Pole is -12.3 °C, the coldest is -82.8 °C.

At the South Pole itself there is no native plant or animal life at all.

Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station is able to adjust its elevation to prevent it from being buried in snow.