Monica Kristensen Solås
|Monica Kristensen Solås|
30 June 1950 (age 68)|
|Education||University of Tromsø|
|Known for||Explorer and crime novelist|
Monica Kristensen Solås (born 30 June 1950), is a Norwegian glaciologist, meteorologist, polar explorer and crime novelist. She was awarded a Founders Gold Medal by the Royal Geographical Society in 1989.
She is a physics graduate of the University of Tromsø, and has taken part in many expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. In 1986–1987 she was leader of an expedition to follow Roald Amundsen’s route to the South Pole, but was forced to turn back at 86 degrees south. She was awarded a Founders Gold Medal by the Royal Geographical Society in 1989.
In 1991-92 she led a glaciology and climate change expedition titled the Aurora Program and based on the Filchner Ice Shelf. There was a side mission to locate and recover the tent erected by Roald Amundsen at the South Pole (Polheim) in February 1992. After sailing from Montevideo, Uruguay on 12 December 1991, they eventually were able to establish a five-hut base named Blaenga (Norwegian for "blue field) at 77.5°S-34.2°W beginning on 2 January 1992. Construction was completed by 18 January, and local glaciological studies were conducted. The venture had been delayed by poor weather, sea ice conditions, and damage to the expedition's Twin Otter aircraft--it had to be flown back to Canada for repairs. This caused the original plans for the South Pole tent project to be significantly altered. They had planned to put 4 people at the South Pole–the first two, Niels Jensen and Peter Hansen, were to arrive in early January to do a GPS survey of the tent search area, and the second two, Ulf Hedman and Monica Kristensen, were to arrive in early February to conduct an aerial variable radar survey for the tent using the expedition's Twin Otter aircraft. Ultimately, Monica Kristensen and fellow glaciologist Heinrich Eggenfellner traversed 560 km south to the first aircraft fuel depot on the Recovery Glacier. After conducting additional glaciological studies, they were flown to the South Pole by the expedition Twin Otter on 16 February. They were only at the Pole for four hours, and their aircraft had not been equipped with survey gear. They were provided the use of a Spryte tracked vehicle, and they conducted a GPS survey to locate their estimated position of the tent to within 50 meters. They also detected a cavity in the snow near the presumed location of the tent. They pitched a tent at the presumed tent site and erected several flags including the Norwegian flag which was left flying after their departure.
A further expedition in late December 1993 set out with, among other aims, the intention of finding Amundsen’s tent at the South Pole, and to retrieve it for display at the 1994 Winter Olympic Games in Norway. This attempt, a traverse using snowmobiles, was abandoned when expedition member Jostein Helgestad was killed in a fall into a crevasse, and the remaining members of the team were rescued by an American search-and-rescue team. Monica was not on that traverse--she may have been one of the two project members who had been flown into the South Pole from Punta Arenas via Patriot Hills Base Camp by Adventure Network International (ANI) (now Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions) while the rescued members from the traverse were flown out to McMurdo Station and Christchurch, NZ by the National Science Foundation. 
She later worked in northern Norway and on Svalbard, and in January 2004 she became general secretary of Redningsselskapet (Norsk Selskab til Skibbrudnes Redning – the Norwegian Society for Rescue at Sea), a post she held until November 2005.
Solås is the author of many books, including Mot 90 Grader Syd (Towards 90 Degrees South) (1987).
- Beau Riffenburgh (2007). Encyclopedia of the Antarctic. Taylor & Francis. pp. 1095–1096. ISBN 978-0-415-97024-2.
- "Monica Kristensen Solås". Norsk Polarhistorie. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- Mantripp, David. "The Aurora Programme Saga". Snowhenge.net. Retrieved 5 September 2018.
- "Climate change studies and the recovery of Amundsen's tent from the South Pole combined into one expedition". Antarctic. PO Box 404 Christchurch New Zealand: New Zealand Antarctic Society. 12 (8): 259–266. June 1992.
- "Private Norwegian expedition ends in tragedy". Antarctic Journal of the United States. US National Science Foundation. June 1994. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Quest for explorer's tent turned deadly". USA Today. April 2001. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
- "Pole death". The Independent. December 1993. Retrieved 2009-06-08.
- "Payment for rescue of Norwegians likely to be requested". Antarctic. PO Box 404 Christchurch New Zealand: New Zealand Antarctic Society. 13 (5): 205–206. March 1994.
- Kristensen, Monica (1987). Mot 90 Grader Syd. Grøndahl. ISBN 978-82-504-0891-3.