Catching a ride to Pole


Four non-USAP trips to Pole in 2010-11 planned to arrive in rubber-tired vehicles...the first of these was an Indian scientific expedition by what was then the Indian National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean Research (NCAOR) (the expedition web site frame is no longer online; the project is discussed briefly here) and the Arctic Trucks information page. This group got to the ice (Novo) on 8 November, and left for Pole in four Hilux vehicles on the 13th, with 12 people (6 scientists and 2 mechanics from Maitri, and 4 ALCI staff (2 drivers and 2 Icelanders). They took GPR, shallow ice core, magnetometer and weather data along the way. Eight expedition members reached Pole on the morning of the 22nd in three of the vehicles, after having to replace an axle and a radiator en route. (One of the vehicles and several support team members stopped and stayed at the new ALCI fuel depot fourteen miles north of Pole to reorganize the recently airdropped fuel; this aircraft fuel depot would be used for the other Arctic Trucks-supported expeditions.) The Pole team had a rest and did some maintenance work in the heavy shop; they headed north on the 24th, rejoining the folks at the fuel cache for the trip back to Novo.

Above is a photo from Marco Tortonese of one of the vehicles in front of DA just before they departed the station (Marco's blog entry).

Triptik for the 2010-11 summer
Here is a map of the traverse route from the expedition website (which is no longer available).
here they come
The three vehicles approach the station (Al Baker photo).
cool ride
Here's a closeup from Marco Tortonese of one of the vehicles, a Toyota Hilux 4x4 AT44 truck. These have a 3 liter 170 hp diesel engine, 5-speed automatic transmission, tire pressures as low as 2 PSI, a 75 gallon fuel tank, and mileage of about 4 miles per gallon (here are the full specs for various vehicles, as well as other details and records, from the Arctic Trucks website).

Here is a 22 November 2010 Press Information Bureau (India) press release about this expedition. And thanks to Marco Tortonese and Al Baker for the information and pictures!

Next...some world record speeds and a fancy ride...