More Lunatics Headed to Antarctica

Robert F. Scott and his doomed 1912 crew.
What is so great about barren, uninhabitable Antarctica? First people are chomping at the bit to run marathons there, now they're racing to the South Pole to celebrate the 100th anniversaries next year of Roald Amundsen's and Robert Scott's expeditions. Never mind that Scott and his crew all died!

Quoth the Times:

Some people intend to ski the exact routes of Amundsen and Scott, reading the explorers' diaries daily and blogging about the experience. Others will drive to the pole by truck. For those seeking less exertion, there will be catered flights to the pole, including several that will let passengers off a few miles away so they can ski the remaining stretch and feel the thrill of victory.

You guys are keeping it so real. If you want to keep it even realer than a catered flight directly to the pole ($40,500), and take a catered flight one degree away from the pole, and then ski in, you'll pay $57,500. Really, really real.

In all seriousness, some of these people should definitely be stopped. Like this dude from England who's competing in a 440-mile ski race to the pole and who "has never tried cross-country skiing, and he is not a big fan of cold weather, but he has been practicing by dragging two car tires on a rope for several hours at a time."

Not to mention that the scientists at the research station at the South Pole -- in other words, the only people that have a legitimate reason to be there -- are apparently unenthused about the upcoming amateur hour. The gift shop (which apparently exists! Imagine.) complicates that message, though.

This must be the last frontier of vacationing, right? Besides space. I guess that's the last frontier. Space, and the center of the earth. That would be a great conversation starter at parties, not to mention a guaranteed one-upmanship machine. "Oh, you traveled through Kurdistan? I went to the Earth's core."

"Oh, you replicated Robert Scott's South Pole expedition and survived? We spent a few days in a submarine at the bottom of the Marianas Trench."

Nobody knows how to vacation anymore. Use the exorbitant amount of money you set aside for your polar expedition, go to a tropical island, and get drunk for a week, for God's sake.

[Rosie Gray] [@_rosiegray]

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Hang on.

The 'gift shop' is not for the tourists. It's a store for us -- the people who work there -- where we can buy a t-shirt or toothpaste for ourselves. The USAP allows tourists to visit the station and buy a souvenir or two as a courtesy. It's a nice PR gesture, even if the tourism is trite.


And which of these vacationers will replicate the behavior of Capt. Oates? He's the one who - incapable of going on due to frostbitten feet - told Scott" I am just going outside and may be some time" and walked out of the tent and into the blizzard to die "like an English gentleman" as Scott put it in his diary.

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