then vs  now

same destination, different approach

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Then

SAME DESTINATION, DIFFERENT APPROACH

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.

Now

SAME DESTINATION, DIFFERENT APPROACH

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.

te20 vs  mf 5610

FROM CORN FIELDS TO ICE FIELDS

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te20

FROM CORN FIELDS TO ICE FIELDS

A fleet of seven modified TE20s was used on the 1955-58 Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, of which Hillary used three. The tractors featured special oils, lubricants, heavy duty batteries, and pure rubber tyres. Drivers steered them using the brakes, which had been fitted with special tracks around the wheels.

Hillary’s tractors were also fitted with a tall canvas windshield to help keep the elements at bay. But beyond that, they were standard TE20s, just like the ones working on farmland around the world at the time.

mf5610

FROM CORN FIELDS TO ICE FIELDS

The MF 5610 sets industry standards in engine power and torque, combining great performance with low fuel consumption. To cope with the rigours of the Antarctic – temperatures down to minus 40° centigrade, altitude of 3,400m and deep, soft snow – the expedition tractor has been modified by the engineering team at Massey Ferguson’s Beauvais tractor plant. But unlike Hillary’s tractors, there will be no tracks this time around. Instead, expedition specialists Arctic Trucks have worked closely with Trelleborg and Massey Ferguson to develop bespoke tyre technology. Why? Because tyres are actually more efficient for this type of expedition: they’re capable of higher speeds, use less fuel, and also provide suspension.

For peace of mind, up to 1000kg of parts will be taken on the mission and the tractor will undergo a twice daily maintenance regime. In addition, the Agcommand™ telematics system will relay performance information back to a 24 hour support team in Beauvais. Learn more about the ultimate MF 5610.

tracks vs  tyres

THE BEST WAY TO GET A GRIP

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tracks

THE BEST WAY TO GET A GRIP

While some of the TE20s used on the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition were supplied as half-tracks with steerable front skis, Hillary’s three TE20s featured an extra wheel on each side and full tracks. These tracks were easily removable so wheels could be used when conditions suited.

tyres

THE BEST WAY TO GET A GRIP

Unlike Hillary’s tractors, there will be no tracks this time around. Instead, expedition specialists Arctic Trucks have worked closely with Trelleborg and Massey Ferguson to develop bespoke tyre technology. Why? Because tyres are actually more efficient for this type of expedition: they’re capable of higher speeds, use less fuel, and provide suspension too. Learn more about the tyres.

compass vs  gps

THE CHANGING FACE OF NAVIGATION

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compass

THE CHANGING FACE OF NAVIGATION

In the days before GPS (Global Positioning Satellites), Antarctic navigation was a serious challenge. Polar adventurers like Hillary relied on a range of devices and methods including magnetic compasses, sun compasses, astro compasses, sextants, and dead reckoning. In the right hands, these could all prove effective but they posed problems too. For example, a magnetic compass has to be reweighted due to the fact that, as you get closer to the pole, the needle is pulled down. This can cause inaccurate readings, with potentially disastrous consequences.

gps

THE CHANGING FACE OF NAVIGATION

For the Antarctica2 team, navigation will be considerably easier than it was for Hillary and his colleagues, thanks to GPS (Global Positioning Satellites). The team will have handheld GPS devices that provide a position in latitude and longitude coordinates, and are accurate to between 10 metres and 100 metres. As back-up, they’ll also have the advanced Agcommand™ telematics system on their MF 5610 tractor.                                                       However, even GPS is not completely failsafe – extreme cold can impair battery performance and cause LCD screens to malfunction. So the team will also rely on traditional navigation techniques combined with their own knowledge and experience of the region.

pemmican vs  power food

the fuel for success

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pemmican

THE FUEL FOR SUCCESS

Travelling in Antarctica, the combination of extreme cold and relentless physical activity puts huge demands on the body. Hillary and his team would have burned between 4000 and 6000 Kcal daily, so they needed a highly calorific diet to replenish lost energy. Daily rations included 200 grams of Pemmican (a concentrated mixture of fat and meat), half a kilogram of porridge and plenty of sugar and butter. According to team glaciologist Hal Lister it was a ‘very old-fashioned sledging diet’. And with canned goods forming a key component, it was bulky and difficult to pack too.

power food

THE FUEL FOR SUCCESS

The Antarctica2 team will have much the same nutritional requirement as Hillary’s expedition: a diet that’s high in fat and carbohydrate for energy, and rich in protein to maintain muscle mass.       Nuts, dried fruit, flapjacks, Spam, cheese, pasta, rice and quinoa form cornerstones of their diet plan, but it’s freeze dried foods that gives them a key advantage over Hillary’s team. Freeze dried rations are lightweight, compact, quick to prepare (helping to conserve fuel), and offer huge variety – an essential element in keeping morale high.  The Antarctica2 team will also have modern nutritional supplements at their disposal, such as energy gels for a much-needed carb boost.

traditional vs  technical

PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS

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traditional

PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS

Hillary and his team wore garments made almost exclusively from natural fibres such as cotton and wool – and they made sure to wear plenty of them. Then as now, layering was all-important, allowing ventilation whilst also creating pockets of warm air to help maintain the body’s core temperature. Hillary himself wore a cotton singlet or vest with two long sleeve tops, a woollen jumper and a down-filled snow jacket with fur-lined hood. On his lower body, he wore long underwear with a tracksuit on top and a thick pair of trousers. He also wore highly-insulated boots, a woollen beanie hat, large gloves covered in animal skin, and tinted goggles to protect against glare.

technical

PROTECTION FROM THE ELEMENTS

Tractor Girl and the Antarctica2 team will wear a state-of-the-art clothing system provided by Helly Hansen that offers exceptional performance in polar conditions. It’s designed for maximum comfort, warmth and breathability, wicking sweat away from the body to prevent heat loss.  But while it’s significantly lighter and less bulky than the gear Hillary wore, the essential principle of layering remains the same. The team will wear wool/synthetic mix base layers, synthetic mid-layers, wool/synthetic mix fleeces, and goose down outer parkas. Because Antarctica is so dry, there’s little need for waterproofing. It also creates condensation within a clothing system, so it’s avoided for both comfort and safety.

ONE TEAM. ONE TRACTOR.
ONE GOAL.

LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN

In 1958, legendary explorer Sir Edmund Hillary teamed up with Massey Ferguson to embark on a daring mission to the South Pole. Half a century later, a lone girl in the Netherlands, Tractor Girl, began her own journey to the Pole. Her mission? To prove you can achieve anything if you just believe in it. Tractor Girl, had her dream, but needed the tools and the know-how to make it reality. Antarctica2 sees Ferguson team up with her to fulfil that dream and show the world that anything is possible. Supported by a group of seasoned polar explorers, Manon will attempt to drive a Massey Ferguson MF 5610 tractor all the way to the geographical South Pole. But to get there, she and her team will have to cross one of the most challenging environments on Earth.