Thursday, December 15, 2011

Commemorating the Amundsen Expedition’s 100th Anniversary

If you were following our blog during the royal visit in October, you know that Sons of Norway recently partnered with the Honorary Royal Norwegian Consulate, Destination Bloomington and the Airport Foundation MSP to bring Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer—an exhibit detailing Roald Amundsen’s historic South Pole expedition—to over 6 million travelers during its stay.

What you may not know is that the festivities surrounding Amundsen’s historic expedition have been underway for weeks. That’s right, almost 20 expeditions from around the world have been vying for a commemorative 100th anniversary arrival at the South Pole on December 14th. In fact, it is believed that this historic gathering will cause the number of people to reach the South Pole to double.

While some expedition teams seek to successfully retrace Amundsen’s route, others sought to follow the path of another famed, albeit ill fated, polar explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Other teams in the hunt for polar success had different milestones in mind like becoming the youngest person to reach the South Pole.

Which teams succeeded in their polar aspirations? Let’s take a closer look at a few of them.

Norway - While Norway’s expedition team succeeded in reaching the pole in time to celebrate the anniversary with Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, two of the four skiers (Jan-Gunnar Winther and Stein P. Aasheim) had to be flown in. Olympian Vegard Ulvang and Harald Dag Jølle completed the trek on skis. To learn more and to read diary entries about the expedition, click here.

Australia – James Castrission (Cas) and Justin Jones (Jonesy) hope to set a new polar record by successfully walking from the edge of Antarctica and back unaided. Currently the two Australians are 408 kilometers from reaching their halfway mark, the South Pole. To track Cas and Jonesy’s daily progress and watch video of their expedition, click here.

Britain – A freelance travel writer, Felicity Aston was 100 miles from reaching the South Pole yesterday. Aston hopes to become the first woman to ski across Antarctica, a 1700-kilometer feat, alone. For more on Aston’s progress, click here.

Looking for a way to learn more about Amundsen’s historic polar expedition? Be sure to check out the latest stop of the Cold Recall: Reflections of a Polar Explorer exhibit at the Nordic Heritage Museum in Seattle. Not in the Seattle area? Be sure to check out the exhibit in February at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma or in April at the University of North Dakota.

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