American Alpine Jounrna and Accidents in North American Climbing

Antarctica, Traverse by an International Group 1989-1990

  • Climbs And Expeditions
  • Climb Year:
  • Publication Year: 1991

Antarctic Traverse by an International Group 1989-1990. From Seal Nunatak, Graham Land on the Antarctic Peninsula which extends south towards the tip of South America to the Soviet Mirny Base on Davis Sea is some 6400 kilometers. From July 28, 1989 to March 3, 1990, an international expedition spent 219 days to cover this distance. The group was composed of American Will Steiger, Frenchman Dr. Jean-Louis Etienne, Soviet Viktor Boyarski, Briton Geoff Sommers, Japanese Keiko Funatsu and Chinese Qin Dake. They carried supplies on dog sleds and had a total of 42 dogs. A number of times they were stopped by severe storms with winds up to 120 kilometers per hour and frigid temperatures. Drifting snow or poor visibility kept them from finding two of their supply depots which had been previously set out. Nevertheless, they often averaged 40 kilometers per day. They reached the South Pole on December 15, 1989 and rested three days there. On January 20, they got to the Soviet Vostok Base. It is there that the world’s coldest temperature of -89.2 C was recorded on July 21, 1983. The traverse was completed on March 3. A very important goal of the expedition was to emphasize the fragility of the environment of Antartica, which can be protected only by international cooperation.

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