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  • Writer's pictureMichael Laxer

Lenin at the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility!

Feng Jing of China at the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility (POI) January 25, 2020 -- Image via Twitter

In an amazing story that got far less attention than it deserved -- likely due to the start of the pandemic -- a Chinese explorer and adventurer, Feng Jing, hiked to the Southern Pole of Inaccessibility (POI), which is the farthest point from all the coastlines of Antarctica. Very few people have ever visited this inhospitable spot. She had previously skied to the South Pole.

With two assistants she reached the POI after 80 days on January 25, 2020. It is a remarkable achievement traversing over 1,800 kilometers in extreme conditions. No one had ever reached the spot on foot before.

As Russia Beyond noted in an article about the POI, "the average year-round temperature is an astounding -58.2°C (-72.8°F)" at the site.

One fascinating aspect to the trip is that there is a Lenin statue at the POI!

In 1958 the Soviet Union sent an expedition of scientists there with the goal of establishing a base camp. On top of the camp structures they placed the Lenin bust.

The camp -- Image via Russia Beyond

The camp was essentially abandoned and only a handful of people have travelled there. The camp buildings were buried by snow over the last 60 years, but incredibly Lenin is still visible and there unharmed having survived despite it all.

The bust in 2007 -- photo via Russia Beyond and Creative Commons

Any number of metaphors could be drawn about this, but regardless it makes for a great story.

Feng Jing at the POI with the flag of the People's Republic of China and Olympic mascots "Bing Dwen Dwen" and "Shuey Rhon Rhon" -- Image via CGTN and Instagram

1 Comment

Feb 11

It’s a little disappointing that there is no mention of the names of Feng Jing’s two “foreign assistants”, who went with her every step of the way to the POI, but whose names are completely overlooked. Edmund Hillary make a great point about giving Sherpa Tenzing Norgay equal credit for their exploit in being the first to scale Mount Everest, and the others’ achievement in reaching the POI on foot deserves proper recognition.

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