Ultimate road trip ends on the ice

MICHAEL FIELD
Last updated 12:11 16/02/2013
South Pole.
Ryan Wallace, USAP

Three tractors on their way to the South Pole.

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One of the world's toughest road trips, a 14 weeks drive to the South Pole from McMurdo Sound, ended yesterday, the Antarctic Sun reports.

It says the South Pole Operations Traverse used tracked Caterpillar and Case tractors to haul bladders of fuel and sleds of cargo across the continent.

It travelled 5600 kilometres to deliver 530,000 litres of fuel carried in large bladders on sleds to the South Pole.

It went to an abandoned field camp to remove 36,000 kilos of cargo.

The Sun, produced by the US Antarctic Program says the driving saved them an estimated 65 C-130 Hercules flights.

The "road" the trip takes is through two shear zones, or heavily crevassed areas. They use ground-penetrating radar to avoid trouble. They move at around 6.5 kilometres per hour.

In 1957 New Zealand's Sir Edmund Hillary drove three farm tractors from Scott Base to the South Pole, taking three months to do it.

A hundred years ago it took Norwegian polar explorer Roald Amundsen and his team of men and sled dogs eight weeks from the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf to the South Pole.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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