- Older than you know! – Research shows that Antarctica has existed for over 200 million years! Back all those aeons ago, it was joined with Australia, Africa, South America, India and New Zealand, in the supercontinent Gondwana. Then around 40 million years ago, it made its final disengagement from the Australian continent, settled into its present polar position, and began to cool dramatically.
Watch this amazing video to know what life’s like on the coldest place on the planet!
- A bit of history – Antarctica was discovered in 1820 by a Russian team but it took almost 100 years before further serious expeditions were undertaken. In the 1890s, John George Bartholomew, a Scottish cartographer, became the first person to formally use “Antarctica” as a name for the continent. Translated literally, Antarctica means “opposite the bear” (from the Great Bear, or Ursa Major, above the North Pole) or “opposite to the Arctic”.
- Coldest place on the planet – Antarctica is the world’s highest, driest and coldest continent, with an annual mean temperature of -55°C. It was at Russia’s Vostok Station, in Antarctica, that earth’s lowest ever temperature ever, -89.2°C, was recorded, on 21st July, 1983.
- Ice Ice baby –
The ice sheet in Antarctica is 4,776 metres deep at its thickest point, with an average thickness of 2,160 metres. This is 90 percent of the world’s entire ice, and 70 percent of the world’s total freshwater. There is about eight times as much ice in Antarctica as there is in the Arctic. If all this ice were to melt (let’s hope for everyone’s sake that it doesn’t!), ocean levels across the world would rise by 200-210 feet.
A legendary polar explorer, and one of the chief figures of the time period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, Sir Ernest Shackleton led three British Expeditions to the Antarctic. So strong was his love for the region that after his death in 1920, his wife asked that he be buried in South Georgia, accompanied by the stormy seas.
Here is a look at this great man’s life:
1. Explorer Extraordinaire
Ernest Shackleton is the ultimate personification of a time at the beginning of the 20th century that is now regarded as the “Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration”. An Irishman by birth, Shackleton put behind him the disappointment of his first foray into the frozen wastes of Antarctica – poor health led him to return home from the 1901-04 Discovery Expedition (also known as the National Antarctic Expedition) – to become one of history’s most storied polar explorers. His epic, though ultimately futile, attempt at crossing the continent of Antarctica would become a feat of “Endurance” for the ages.
2. Pull of the Ocean
It was through books that Shackleton got his taste for adventure. But such was his restiveness as a teen that his school (Dulwich College London) let the boy leave to seek a life out at sea. With the (reluctant) encouragement of his doctor-father, Shackleton became an apprentice aboard the Hoghton Tower, a sailing boat, and spent the next four years living the life of a seaman, learning the tools of the seafaring trade. Shackleton travelled around the world, sailing with men from all walks of life. These experiences would prove invaluable as he turned his gaze towards Antarctica.
3. “The Great Southern Journey”
Shackleton’s second journey to the South Pole was as part of the four-member Nimrod Expedition, which he led. During this trip, Shackleton and his fellow explorers reached as far south as anyone had ever done at that point in time – a latitude of 88° 23’ S, the equivalent of 97 geographical miles (that’s 112 statute miles, or 180km) from the South Pole. The party also reached the summit of Mount Erebus (3794 m/12,448ft), the first men to do so. Shackleton proved to be a fine, as well as an empathetic, leader of men. For his Nimrod exploits, he was knighted by King Edward VII.
The teen adventurer set out on December 2, 2013 – only a couple of weeks after celebrating his 16th birthday – and reached the South Pole on January 18, 2014. Clarke took the Hercules Inlet route, a distance of some 1100 km (about 700 miles), skiing for eight hours and covering roughly 29km (18 miles) every day. Clarke, who had to tow a sled of supplies over the duration of the trek, was accompanied by polar explorer Carl Alvey.
There were challenges aplenty: Clarke had to combat temperatures as low as -50C and wind speeds of up to 120mph, as well as a broken ski and blisters – but if this hardy young man was flustered over the 48-day hike, he didn’t admit it. “I knew it would be hard, but it’s harder than I ever thought it would be.
“I think sometimes about how few people have done this. Only 300 in 100 years. And I’m doing it. That’s pretty cool.” Clarke reached the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station on the evening of January 18 (a Saturday), beating the mark of Canada’s Sarah Landry (who was 18), set a decade ago, in 2004.
Adventure Nation organized a rock climbing workshop on 18th January, 2014, at Camp Wild, Dhauj near Gurgaon. The initial promotion through social media channel itself got a great response and in no time it was houseful!
It was a day event starting at 8 AM and concluding at 3 PM.
The schedule included pick up from HUDA City Centre Metro station, Gurgaon, snacks after reaching the destination, introduction to Rock climbing by our Guru Wing Commander Amit Chowdhury, followed by a demonstration by the Guru and the instructors. Post that all the attendees attempted and successfully climbed the rocks, the workshop ended with a lunch and then a drop back to the Metro station in Gurgaon.
Here are some moments from the day. Even young children were seen enjoying the activity:
Although the youngest mountain range, Himalayas seem as old as the world itself! It is majestic, mystic and mesmerising and has been the subject of innumerable explorations and a part of popular culture for many years now.
Here are some interesting facts about the Himalayas:
- The Himalayan range, as believed by many, was formed some 70 million years ago after a massive collision between the Asian and Indian land masses (tectonic plates). To get an idea about the geology behind this read more here or take a look at this fascinating video!
- Mount Everest (the highest mountain peak in the world) stands at a dizzying 29,029 feet and is located in the Mahalangur section of the Himalayas. Locally called Sagarmatha (Nepal) and Chomolungma (Tibet/China), it came to be known as Mount Everest after Sir Andrew Waugh, the then Surveyor General of India, decided to name it in honour of his predecessor, Sir George Everest, in 1865.
- Would you believe it if someone told you that the Himalayas are geologically alive? Yes, they are! It has been proven by several tests performed by geologists over the years. This majestic and gigantic chain of mountains is said to be moving approximately 20mm every year!
- We all know that the Himalayas are the highest mountains in the world. But what’s fascinating is that there are 30 peaks towering over 24,000 feet, and of the 10 highest peaks in the world, nine are located in the Himalayas (Nepal Himalayas). Check out the Everest Base Camp trip!
The Dakar Rally, also known as The Dakar (and formerly known as the Paris-Dakar Rally), has achieved legendary status, not just in the world of motor sport but across sport as a whole. This embodiment of endurance is covered and broadcast extensively around the world (in 190 countries!), and followed enthusiastically by armies of motor-heads.
The rally was the brainchild of Thierry Sabine. The Frenchman, taking part on a motorbike in the 1977 Abidjan-Nice Rally, found himself hopelessly lost in the sands of the Libyan (Tenere) Desert. He just about managed to return but was left entranced by the beauty of the desert landscape. Sabine then dreamed of a race that would start in Europe and pass through Algiers (Algeria) and Agadez (Niger), before finishing up in Dakar, Senegal. The dream became reality in 1979, and over the years Monsieur Sabine’s vision of adventure has lived up to its promise, and remained true to its motto – “A challenge for those who go. A dream for those who stay behind.”
Born in 1919, Sir Edmund Hillary, along with Sherpa Tenzing Norgay became the first climber to conquer Everest in the year 1953. In addition to this, he also climbed many peaks in his home country New Zealand and till date is the only man to have reached both poles and climbed the tallest peak in the world!
Here are some of the landmark moments of his life:
“So far as I am able to judge, nothing has been left undone, either by man or nature, to make India the most extraordinary country that the sun visits on his rounds. Nothing seems to have been forgotten, nothing overlooked.” – Mark Twain
Often called the heart of India, Madhya Pradesh is the second largest state in the country. Rich in history and tradition, the origins of this state can be traced to as far back as the Middle Pleistocene era, around 500,000 years ago. In addition, it has been home to two of India’s greatest dynasties – the Maurya Empire and the Gupta Empire.
Madhya Pradesh has a lot to offer to every type of tourist. From art and history lovers to adventure seekers, it has something for everyone. MP has three destinations that have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO – the Khajuraho Group of Monuments, the Buddhist Monuments at Sanchi and the Rock Shelters of Bhimbetka.
An Italian Renaissance painter, architect, sculptor, mathematician, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, musician, botanist, writer, inventor and much more, Leonardo da Vinci was a true adventurer and a legend in every sense of the word! Read more about the Maestro here and his inventions on this link.
Here are some of his greatest inventions, his gifts to the mankind –
There are thousands of films released every year around the world. But very few of these are based on adventure or real-life adventure stories. And even out of those that are made, there are only a handful that actually do justice to the spirit of the theme!
This New Year, Adventure Nation recommends to you four of the finest films made on some of the most significant moments in mountaineering history.
- Touching the Void (2003):
This adventure-filled documentary is based on Joe Simpson’s book of the same name. It features Simpson’s and Simon Yates’ calamitous attempt to climb Siula Grande (6,344m, 20,814ft) in the Peruvian Andes in 1985.
This film is high on emotion and has been widely praised for its cinematography. It combines documentary footage of the interviews of the climbers along with a re-enactment of the attempt. It is highly rated on rotten tomatoes.
Read more about Joe Simpson here.
- Everest: Beyond the Limit (2006):
This reality television series by Discovery Channel is about the attempts made on the summit of Mount Everest every year. Russell Brice, a mountaineer from New Zealand, is the leader.
In this season, there are 11 climbers, three guides and a group of Sherpas followed by a production crew of 17 people, during their climb in the months of April and May of 2006. We highly recommend this film to all adventure lovers for the actual footage in extreme conditions.
If you’ve got itchy feet and are raring to go in the New Year, head to the picturesque hill city of Lavasa (near Pune, Maharashtra), set amid the verdant expanses of the Sahyadri range, and test yourself to the fullest in the Lavasa Hill Run. There will be no more invigorating way to get 2014 under way!