The precarious journey to the South Pole took the valiant Norwegian 66 days in bleak icescapes, with temperatures reaching 50 degrees below zero.
By her own admission, 49-year-old Astrid Furholt, a native of Vegusdal in Birkenes, was motivated by a dying cancer patient who told her "Astrid, you must live while you are alive." This call gave Furholt the dream of achieving something that no woman has done before: reaching the South Pole using the same route Roald Amundsen took in 1911.
"We've done it! We are at the South Pole. I'm so grateful and so insanely wasted. I almost cannot stand on my legs. It feels completely empty right now," a touched Furholt said in a clip sent to national broadcaster NRK.
Polar researcher Lars Ebbesen, who coordinated the expedition, said that the crew's food only reached them yesterday, so they arrived at the camp famished.
Delays due to extreme weather caused Furholt and Sivertsen to lose many "waiting" days in a tent, which is also why they did not go all the way to the coast, like Amundsen did. Nevertheless, no other woman has ever reached the South Pole on skis before, following Amundsen's route to the same extent, Ebbesen pointed out.
An extra stimulus was the fact that missing the plane would have cost Furholt an extra NOK 1 million ($130,000). Over the past 12 days, Furholt covered 24 kilometers a day on average to reach the South Pole on time.
Roald Amundsen, a key figure of what's considered the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, became the first man to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911, using skis and sled dogs. During the course of the expedition, Furholt found a can of paraffin used by Amundsen's crew and placed inside a cairn on Mount Betty, built as a highlight for future explorers.
Since 1911, many painfully unsuccessful attempts to reach the South Pole have been ventured. Polar scientist and researcher Monica Kristensen Solas has tried three times without success. The first scientific expedition with sled dogs was made in 1986, yet had to return. The last one was marred by a tragic accident: a crew member fell into a breach and died in 1993.
On this day in 1911, explorer Roald Amundsen and his team became the first to reach the geographic South Pole, 34 days before Captain Scott. pic.twitter.com/2zbmomU2gu— Avaunt (@AvauntMagazine) December 14, 2016