Written By : Erik Boomer
This time last year, Sarah and I were guiding an 80-day ski hauling expedition in Antarctica, nearing our destination: the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility.
What is the Pole of Inaccessibility? Also known as the POI, it’s the furthest point in the Antarctic continent from any coastline. Basically, it’s the true center of the continent, the most remote point, or the middle of f**king nowhere.
The Soviet’s were the first to reach this pole in 1958, for the International Geophysical Year. Traveling by tractor convoy they left a temporary hut for research work, complete with a bust of Lenin that sits proudly on top of the hut. A second Russian team returned a decade or so later, but since the station was forgotten.
It wasn’t until 2006 that Paul Landry (Sarah’s father) guided the first non-motorized expedition to the POI, traveling by ski and kite ski. When he reached the pole, he found the Russian research hut was buried under snow. However Lenin’s bronze bust was still visible, staring towards Moscow. In 2011, Paul’s son, Eric McNair-Landry (and Sarah’s brother), guided a kite skiing traverse of the continent, stopping by the POI on their expedition. Since only a handful have teams have journeyed to the POI.
I spotted it about 2 km away, a blob on the horizon. Our team of three, Sarah, our client, and myself, had been skiing, pulling sleds with our camping gear and supplies for almost three months, climbing 12’000 feet. The sheer distance of the trip (just under 2000 km) combined with a steady uphill climb, cold temperature and living at elevation was tough on our bodies.
Our journey started at the coast of Antarctica, as we skiing through the stunning Queen Maud Mountain Range in the first weeks of the expedition. The last two months we have been on the polar plateau. Any direction I look is an endless blanket of white.
And now here I was, in the most inaccessible place in Antarctica. 62 years after the Russian’s first made the first journey to the POI, I stood face to face with bronze statue of Lenin.