Pole of Inaccessibility (Antarctic research station)

Pole of Inaccessibility (Antarctic research station)

Pole of Inaccessibility is located in Antarctica
Pole of Inaccessibility
Pole of Inaccessibility
Pole of Inaccessibility (Antarctica)

Pole of Inaccessibility (Russian: Полюс недоступности) is a now defunct Soviet research station in 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]


The station had a hut for four people, a radio shack, and an electrical hut. These buildings had been pre-constructed on the tractors and had served as accommodations during the traverse. Next to the hut, an airstrip for landing 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. Equipment and personnel were delivered by an Antarctic tractor convoy operated by the 3rd Soviet Antarctic Expedition. 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 American Queen Maud Land oversnow Traverse reached the Pole of Inaccessibility from Pole Station in the autumn of 1965 and the crew were flown out from there by C130. Later, in the spring of that year, a new American crew arrived by C130 to make observations, refurbish the snow cats, and continue the Queen Maud Land Traverse, zig-zagging to end the summer at the newly installed Plateau Station.[5]

Team N2i reached the Pole of Inaccessibility on 19 January 2007.[6]

On 27 December 2011, led by Sebastian Copeland, the Antarctica Legacy Crossing reached the Pole of Inaccessibility by foot and kite skiing from the Novolazarevskaya station on their way to complete the first East West transcontinental crossing of Antarctica over 4,100 kilometers.

Historic site

The Pole of Inaccessibility station, showing the bust of Lenin, in January 2007

The station building is surmounted by a bust of Vladimir Lenin. However, as of 2007, it is almost entirely buried by snow, with little more than the bust visible.[6] 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) following a proposal by Russia to the Antarctic Treaty Consultative Meeting.[7]

See also

Further reading

  • Antarctica 2011-2012 Legacy Transcontinental Crossing
  • Crossing the Antarctic: Sebastian Copeland and Rossignol Partner to fulfill a legacy


  1. ^ Weather - Revised and Updated; by William J. Burroughs, Bob Crowder, Ted Robertson, Eleanor Vallier-Talbot, Richard Whitaker; page 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,  
  4. ^ А.С. ЛАЗАРЕВ (2008-12-16). ДОСТИЖЕНИЕ ПОЛЮСА НЕДОСТУПНОСТИ (in Russian). 
  5. ^ "Glaciology of the Queen Maud Land Traverse, 1964-65 South Pole - Pole of Relative Inaccessibility". 
  6. ^ a b "Team N2i successfully conquer the Pole of Inaccessibility by foot and kite on 19th Jan '07". Retrieved January 29, 2013. 
  7. ^ "List of Historic Sites and Monuments approved by the ATCM (2012)". Antarctic Treaty Secretariat. 2012. Retrieved 2013-10-24.