To the South Pole! ... Er, make that Greenland.

Mary
filed under: , History, around-the-world, tv
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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.

Disclaimer: One of these nutcases the British team doctor is a dear friend.

Clothing

British Team
Scott's team relied heavily on thick, woollen garments. This is just a sample of the clothing the British team had to protect them:
woollen hats;
balaclava helmets;
wolsey thermal shirts;
woollen jerkins;
woollen scarves;
thick jumpers;
woollen/tweed trousers.

Norwegian Team
Amundsen on the other hand, relied on animal skins:
reindeer skin mittens;
reindeer skin Finneskoe boots;
weal skin anoraks with hood.

Food

British team:
pemmican;
biscuits;
cocoa;
tea;
butter;
sugar;
chocolate;
raisins;
curry powder;
spices, eg ginger;
fresh beef.

Norwegian team:
pemmican;
biscuits;
chocolate;
milk powder;
seal meat.
And lots of dog food"¦

Cooking equipment

stove plus spare;
big pot and lid;
wooden spoons;
tin openers;
one-litre nalgene bottle;
containers and lids, large and medium sized;
lighters and matches;
stainless steel Thermos flasks;
mugs;
plates;
bowls;
cutting knives;
tea spoons;
tea towels;
small plastic bottle for detergent;
pan scrubbers;
industrial hand cleaner;
travel wipes;
engine wipes;
kitchen roll;
bin liners;
poly bags;
fire extinguisher;
fire blanket;
meths can;
20-litre jerry cans;
MSR fuel bottles and MSR cookset;
large and small funnels;
drum spanner;
drum tap.

And toilet roll"¦

Medical kit

medical books;
burns kit;
neck brace;
head immobiliser;
sutures and needles;
triangular bandages;
disposable gloves;
cough sweets;
sunscreen;
lipsalve;
kurafid;
pencil and paper;
paracetamol;
hand and feet warmers.

Navigational equipment
compasses;
waterproof map cases;
maps;
pens, pencils and paper;
wind gauge;
thermometer.

Fuel
unleaded gasoline;
kerosene;
two-stroke oil;
heptane.

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August 31, 2006 - 1:00pm
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