It was 20 years ago last month March 1990 that Will Steger and five international polar explorers completed what will forever be the most audacious crossing of Antarctica. Their Trans-Antarctica Expedition will last in Antarctica history for a variety of reasons: Its length and duration (3,741 miles in 221 days, requiring that it start in winter and end in winter). Because it was the last expedition by dog (dogs were outlawed the following year by an amendment to the Antarctic Treaty). And its expense (upwards of $12 million). ??A lot has changed in the two decades since international politics and economies have shifted, new technologies invented and boomed, the human population added one billion, says writer and filmmaker Jon Bowermaster.
Bowermaster is co-author with Will Steger of the original book Crossing Antarctica, and now its 20th anniversary edition published by Menasha Ridge Press. He writes on his Web site, “
when I think of that grueling, seven-month-long expedition perhaps the biggest change has been to the continent itself. At the time, the impacts of global climate change were just beginning to be talked about and mostly in scientific circles. Today the ice shelf where Trans-Antarctica started, on a very cold July day in 1989, no longer exists.”
Bowermaster continues, “Part of the Larsen B Ice Shelf, it was sundered in 2002 by the massive breakup of Antarctica’s largest shelf due to warming sea and air temperatures.
Steger’s recent work has focused on educating students and policy leaders alike on the causes, effects and solutions to global climate change. His organization is planning the 5th annual Summer Institute for Climate Change Education, Aug. 12, at the University of Minnesota Continuing Education & Conference Center in St. Paul.
Bowermaster has been back to Antarctica two dozen times since that initial introduction 20 years ago. His recently completed high-def film, Terra Antarctica, documents a six-week long exploration of the Antarctic Peninsula by sea kayak.
Posted by Jeff Blumenfeld, ed., Expedition News
The story of the first transverse of Antarctica by dogsled and ski, a 4000-mile, seven-month (July 1989-March 1990) journey by an expedition of six men from six different countries, is told in expanded journal form by co-leader Steger. His team survived whiteouts, crevasses, 100F windchill, erratic supplies, a pregnant sled dog, a monotonous diet, a hostile National Science Foundation, frostbite and runny noses, and were rewarded by magnificent scenery and a sense of personal and scientific accomplishment. This above-average polar account keeps the reader moving along with the hardy six. Steger and Bowermaster also coauthored Saving the Earth ( LJ 4/15/90). For public libraries.-- J.F. Husband, Framingham State Coll., Mass.
YA-- Armchair adventure in the truest sense. In July of 1989, American explorer Will Steger and an international team of five others set out to cross Antarctica by skis and dogsled. It took 220 days to travel 3700 miles under the most adverse conditions imaginable. Crossing Antarctica is the story of that journey as told through Steger's diaries. His account is introspective, vividly descriptive, and punctuated with moments of pathos. He explains the logistics from the inception of the idea down to who sleeps in which tent and the details of daily life on the expedition. This book helps readers understand this vast continent and the necessity to preserve and protect its fragile environment.-- Susan B. McFaden, Fairfax County Public Library, VA