Pole of Inaccessibility (Antarctic research station)

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The Pole of Inaccessibility
Полюс недоступности
Former Antarctic base
The Pole of Inaccessibility station, showing the bust of Lenin, in January 2007
The Pole of Inaccessibility station, showing the bust of Lenin, in January 2007
Location of The Pole of Inaccessibility in Antarctica
Location of The Pole of Inaccessibility in Antarctica
The Pole of Inaccessibility
Location of The Pole of Inaccessibility in Antarctica
Coordinates: 82°06′S 54°58′E / 82.100°S 54.967°E / -82.100; 54.967Coordinates: 82°06′S 54°58′E / 82.100°S 54.967°E / -82.100; 54.967
Country  Soviet Union
Location in Antarctica Kemp Land
Established 14 December 1958 (1958-12-14)
Evacuated 26 December 1958 (1958-12-26)
Named for Southern Pole of inaccessibility
Elevation 3,800 m (12,500 ft)
Type Transitory
Status Abandoned

The Pole of Inaccessibility Research Station (Russian: Полюс недоступности) is a defunct Soviet research station in Kemp Land, Antarctica, at the southern pole of inaccessibility (the point in Antarctica furthest from any ocean) as it was defined in 1958 when the station was established. Later definitions give other locations, all relatively near this point. It performed meteorological observations from 14 December 1958 to 26 December 1958. The Pole of Inaccessibility has the world's coldest year-round average temperature of −58.2 °C (−72.8 °F).[1]

It is 878 km (546 mi) from the South Pole, and approximately 600 km (370 mi) from Sovetskaya. The surface elevation is 3,800 meters (12,500 feet). It was reached on 14 December 1958 by an 18-man traversing party of the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition.[2] Its WMO ID is 89550.[3]


Equipment and personnel were delivered by an Antarctic tractor convoy operated by the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition. The station had a hut for four people, a radio shack, and an electrical hut. These buildings had been constructed on the tractors used during the traverse, serving as accommodation. Next to the hut, an airstrip was cleared and a Li-2 aircraft landed there on 18 December 1958. The outpost was equipped with a diesel power generator and a transmitter. On 26 December the outpost was vacated indefinitely. Four researchers were airlifted out, and the remaining 14 members of the party returned with the tractors. The station was deemed to be too far from other research stations to allow safe permanent operation, so it was left to be used for future short-term visits only.[4]

The 8th Soviet Antarctic Expedition visited the site on 1 February 1964 and left five days later.[5]

The American Queen Maud Land Traverse reached the Pole of Inaccessibility from Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station on 27 January 1965. The crew were flown out of there by a C130 on 1 February. On 15 December 1965 a new American crew arrived by C130 to make observations, refurbish the snow cats, and continue the Queen Maud Land Traverse, zig-zagging to the newly installed Plateau Station, where they arrived on 29 January.[6]

The 12th Soviet Antarctic Expedition visited the site in 1967.[5]

On 19 January 2007, the British Team N2i became the first to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility without mechanical support, using specially-designed foil kites.[7]

On 27 December 2011, during the Antarctica Legacy Crossing, Sebastian Copeland, and partner Eric McNair-Landry, reached the Pole of Inaccessibility by foot and kite ski from the Novolazarevskaya station, on their way to completing the first partial east-west transcontinental crossing of Antarctica of over 4,100 km (2,500 mi).

Historic site[edit]

The station building is surmounted by a bust of Vladimir Lenin facing Moscow. However, as of 2007, it is almost entirely buried by snow, with little more than the bust visible.[7] Following a proposal by Russia to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting, the buried building and emergent bust, along with a plaque commemorating the conquest of the Pole of Inaccessibility by Soviet Antarctic explorers in 1958, has been designated a Historic Site or Monument (HSM 4).[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Crowder, Bob; Robertson, Ted; Vallier-Talbot, Eleanor; Whitaker, Richard. Weather (Revised and updated ed.). William J. Burroughs. p. 59.
  2. ^ Nudel'man, A. V. (1959). Soviet Antarctic Expeditions 1955-1959. Moscow: Izdatel'stvo Akademii Nauk SSSR.
  3. ^ "Catalogue of Russian Federation Antarctic Meteorology Data". Laboratory of Ocean and Climate Antarctic Studies, Arctic and Antarctic Research Institute. Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  4. ^ А.С. ЛАЗАРЕВ (2008-12-16). ДОСТИЖЕНИЕ ПОЛЮСА НЕДОСТУПНОСТИ (in Russian).
  5. ^ a b "Norwegian-U.S. Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica".
  6. ^ "Glaciology of the Queen Maud Land Traverse, 1964-65 South Pole - Pole of Relative Inaccessibility".
  7. ^ a b "Team N2i successfully conquer the Pole of Inaccessibility by foot and kite on 19th Jan '07". Retrieved January 29, 2013.
  8. ^ "List of Historic Sites and Monuments approved by the ATCM (2012)" (PDF). Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-24.

Further reading[edit]