Hungarian adventurers make history in Antarctica

21-01-2005

Hungarians have for the first time made it to the South Pole. Walking more than a hundred kilometres in strong winds Zoltan Acs and Krisztina Batori Kovalcsik - two experienced extreme athletes - were in a group of people to reach the southernmost point of the Globe. Now, telephone calls to the South Pole are a bit of a problem so Radio Budapest talked to the press coordinator of the mission, Edit Muranyi of Shannon Communications:

"They both have a passion for hiking and climbing and have travelled around the world separately. But because they've never been to this special place, they wanted to take up this big challenge and go to the South Pole, especially after they went to the North Pole together last year. It was during that trip that they decided they would like to see the other side of the world as soon as they could."

On January 16, about half an hour after midnight CET, they reached the South Pole. How much did they have to walk in the snow in Antarctica?

"Some 100-120 km. They had to walk with a very special sled, which weighs close to thirty kilograms, and wear a heavy outfit all day long. So, pulling the sled along was one of the biggest challenges. Each person had to have his own camp, food, and drinks."

How long did it take them to reach the South Pole?

"Close to seven days. The first and second days they walked less hours but by the last three days they walked for some ten hours a day."

What sort of conditions did they have to overcome?

"One of the biggest obstacles was the very strong wind. Its speed at times reached 20-25 knots. The temperature was also very cold at -20 and -30 [degrees Celsius]. And then there was the fog too. During the summer season in Antarctica, there are only two or three weeks when people can go there. That is why they went at the end of December and beginning of January."

Once there, what did they do?

"Unfortunately, they were a little bit late because there was an accident on the last day. The Canadian doctor in the group suffered a heart problem and they had to stop and wait for the emergency service car. So, they lost five or six hours and were very late when they reached the South Pole. They took photographs and went to the observatory. It's a very unique place and now you can see the Hungarian flag there, which is very special."

21-01-2005