We have quite a few readers in England, and I am intensely jealous of them, partly because of their access to ready-made scotch eggs and partly because they've had the chance over the last month to watch Blizzard: Race to the Pole, a documentary in which two small groups of
lunatics brave explorers recreated the famous British/Norwegian scramble for the South Pole in 1911-12. (U.S. readers not blessed with BBC2 can check out the accompanying book.) The teams traveled over 1,500 miles using only the cold-weather technology their predecessors had: fuzzy hats, wills of steel, and a sparse list of basics you'll find after the jump. Thankfully, there were three rather important differences in the modern day expedition:
1. The leader of the original Norwegian team, short on food, ended up killing and eating his sled dogs as he approached the Pole. The modern dogs suffered no such indignity; they were flown out by helicopter, and the teams chowed down on beef and seal meat instead.
2. Dogs aren't allowed on Antarctica anymore, so the race to the South Pole became a race across Greenland. Hey, cold is cold.
3. Unlike poor Robert Scott, the leader of the Brits' original team, everyone on the modern teams came back alive.
One of these nutcases the British team doctor is a dear friend.
Scott's team relied heavily on thick, woollen garments. This is just a sample of the clothing the British team had to protect them:
wolsey thermal shirts;
Amundsen on the other hand, relied on animal skins:
reindeer skin mittens;
reindeer skin Finneskoe boots;
weal skin anoraks with hood.
spices, eg ginger;
And lots of dog food"¦
stove plus spare;
big pot and lid;
one-litre nalgene bottle;
containers and lids, large and medium sized;
lighters and matches;
stainless steel Thermos flasks;
small plastic bottle for detergent;
industrial hand cleaner;
20-litre jerry cans;
MSR fuel bottles and MSR cookset;
large and small funnels;
And toilet roll"¦
sutures and needles;
pencil and paper;
hand and feet warmers.
waterproof map cases;
pens, pencils and paper;