The 2011 Pole Marker

which way is north?

Above, the South Pole marker which was unveiled on 1 January 2011! This amazing creation takes the art of Pole marker design to a whole new level! Not a bad idea, since this year is the 100th anniversary of when Roald Amundsen's team first set foot on this bit of the world.

Some of the previous markers have incorporated more than one material, but this one is the first to use wood as well as brass, and it has moving parts! The design came from 2010 winterover David Holmes...his design was voted #1 by his fellow winterovers out of a record number of suggested designs. The primary feature of the marker is a sextant...an important navigational instrument during the Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration, as seen here.

The marker was created by Australian machinist/2010 winterover Derek Aboltins, who told me he really appreciated the opportunity to create this work, which, of course, will weather for 11 months in the Antarctic winter before the actual centennial season. And he noted that the motto "Fram" is translated as "Forward" [through] [adversity]...in one context representing the extreme difficulty of doing anything outside at Pole...much less the difficult struggle evident in the faces of Amundsen and Scott in their photographs (such as these) taken at the Pole.

Below, some photos of the marker:

Let's play spin the w.....
yeah, we're still looking for that tent

The center circle of the marker is free to rotate...one side depicts the current elevated station, and the other side depicts Amundsen's party at the original Polheim in 1911. The degree markers (on both sides) designate the 47 winterovers in 2010.

The wood base includes six copper plates, these designate the five members of the expedition and Fram:

Roald
Roald Amundsen...
Olav and Sverre
...Olav Bjaaland and Sverre Hassel...
Helmer Hanssen and Oscar Wisting
...Helmer Hanssen and Oscar Wisting...

Back to the 1 January 2011 ceremony:
ship and motto <i>Fram</i>
...Fram.
a small crowd
Here's the assembled crowd...
veiled expectation
anyone want this 1911 model GPS on a long pole?

Above, the official unveiling. In the center foreground is winter site manager Renée-Nicole Douceur; with her is NSF science representative Vladimir Papitashvili. Renée said in her remarks, "In remembrance of those who risked and gave their lives in discovery of this vast unknown continent — and to those who now, 100 years later, turn to the heavens and inner earth, to discover and explore the new frontiers of tomorrow — we unveil this most befitting marker that embodies the spirit of all explorers and adventurists who set foot at South Pole."

After the remarks, the marker was passed around the assembled Polies before it was installed at the geographic South Pole:

take one and pass it on
speak softly and carry a big stick
throw it down!
the hole thing


scope it out are we in Kansas


   Here are two more views of the 2011 Pole marker.
sign here please
And here is another view...showing the underside. Who knew that was where the winterovers signed the marker? (Rhiannon Henning)


this one is mine, get your own!
Okay, this is my photo of, well, MY 2011 Pole marker. No, it is a bit smaller
than the real one (I've included a penny so you can get an idea of the size),
it's pewter instead of brass, and it is not quite as detailed as the original,
but this copy is mine. I've been collecting these replicas for a number of
years now, and you can too! No, this is not any paid advertising...just a
suggestion that if you want one of these for your mantel or whatever, contact
the friendly folks at either the Antarctic Connection or Geographic Locations
International (mountainclimb.com) and you can have one too!

Credits and thanks...all of the photos were provided by Robert Schwarz unless indicated otherwise...some of the information came from this 3 February 2011 Antarctic Sun article by Peter Rejcek...and additional help was provided by Derek Aboltins.