When Sir Edmund Hillary set off for the South Pole in 1958, it was very much a spur of the moment decision. As part of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, Hillary and four New Zealand companions only made – in Hillary’s words – “a hellbent dash to the Pole” when the main team, led by Sir Vivien Fuchs, was delayed. Driving 3 modified Ferguson farm tractors, they reached the Pole on 4th January 1958 - but they did so by the skin of their teeth. On the day they finally sighted the Polar base, Hillary’s team had just one drum of petrol left: enough for their “tractor train” to travel a mere 20 miles.
In contrast to Hillary’s last minute dash for glory, the Antarctica2 expedition has had the South Pole in its sights since day one. So the team have been able to put in months of careful preparation, leaving no stone unturned in their bid to reach their goal. They’ve even had a giant tent purpose built to offer the team’s mechanic protection from the elements in the event of a technical issue. Communication is another area where the two expeditions differ. For while Hillary and his team communicated with the outside world using radio alone, the Antarctica2 team will have an array of communication channels at their disposal – from live streaming to Twitter feeds.