Messner-Fuchs Antarctic Crossing

bottom of the trip

Reinhold Messner (left, above), already known for climbing all of the 8000 meter peaks without oxygen, organized the manhauling "Würth-Antarktis Transversale" to cross the Antarctic continent during 1989-90. The original plan was to cross from the Filchner ice shelf to McMurdo; later the planned start was changed to the German Filchner Station on the Ronne Ice Shelf...and after they arrived at Patriot Hillslet's go! (right), a shortage of fuel forced them to change their start to 82°S-72°W (they proceeded west to 75°W before heading south). His companion, Arved Fuchs, had completed a North Pole trek earlier in the year, so he (unlike Messner) was no stranger to long polar ventures. The trip was shortened at the start due to the problems with ANI fuel and flight arrangements, and it was painful in a number of ways--including Arved's incredibly sore feet, their chilling relationship, and the bittersweet official reception they were given at Pole...

They arrived on 31 December 1989...almost halfway through the 1750-mile trip. During the visit they took great pains to conceal their latent animosities (which ultimately came out in the media and in Messner's book)...the two of them stayed in summer camp, partied hardy, and were interesting folks to talk to. On New Years Day 1990 they spoke to the gathered station community in the gym...recorded live. Have a listen! (mp3 file, 25mb, 53:34):

Messner's book on this expedition, Antarctica, Both Heaven and Hell, is the source of these photos. I highly recommend it.

Below, their "ceremonial" departure from the skiway on 3 January 1990... (they left a bit later, without the chutes). sailing away