NGAs at the Pole

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    I don’t usually reprint internal emails but this was kind of cool — and it’s public knowledge anyway. We’ve had some “Non-Governmental Activity” (NGAs) lately. Lots of tents from expeditions camped out by the pole…

    Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 9:21 AM
    To: POL-SouthPoleAll
    Subject: NGA Activity in the Upcoming Days –
    Hello South Pole –

    Here’s an update on some of the NGA visitors we will have in our neighborhood in the coming days…

    Arrived yesterday, 12/27:

    Polar Expedition from the Royal Navy / Royal Marines arrived after a 46 day trek from the Hercules Inlet near Patriot Hills. They are camping here for a few days before they begin their return ski.

    Arriving today 12/28:

    An eleven-person expedition of the Indian Navy and their guides, led by an ALE guide. This group is completing a ski of the Last 2 Degrees – approximately 120 miles.

    Expected to arrive tomorrow 12/29:

    Ms. Hannah McKeand, a solo Polar trip from the Hercules Inlet. She started skiing from Hercules inlet on November 19th. The current record from there to Pole, set by Fiona Thornewill in 2001, is 42 days.

    (These two expeditions will be picked up by Twin Otter.)

    And next week….

    Approx. January 4:

    Thermal Heart NZ Antarctic Expedition – two man 54-day expedition to the Pole.

    Approx. January 5:

    Last Two Degrees expedition “Shackleton’s Unfinished Journey” – five-person expedition led by Mike Thornewill.

    Approx. January 6:

    Polar flights aboard two Russian Mi-8 Helicopters. The number of visitors is still being determined.

    And some general reminders:

    NGA flights use the taxiway located near the ceremonial Pole. If you notice a tent pitched near the ceremonial Pole, it’s a sign of NGA activity – when expeditions camp here, they use the same area.

    Visitors are on a different time zone than ours. Feel free to visit with folks, but keep the time difference in mind. There are many hazards around the active South Pole Station – using the area near the NGA taxiway keeps visitors out of harms way.

    A good website to learn more about the expeditions is



    This is the India expedition…

    Here’s Hannah McKeand. An incredible person. She just set the record for skiing unsupported to the Pole (39.5 days). Pay no attention to that grinning guy beside her. :mrgreen:

    This is the British expedition’s camp. They’re going to use kites to ski back the other way…. but the winds have been wrong for quite a few days. Looking out the window, I think the flags are blowing in the right direction now so I expect they’ll be taking off soon. They’re an amazing bunch, I’ll be sad to see them go.

    This is one of the twin otter planes used by a company called ALE. Hannah and the India expedition used this plane to get home.

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