Hillary’s Hut

Yesterday we got a tour around Hillary’s Hut. Due to asbestos it is closed for general use, but you can be guided through it.

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The hut is being preserved and restored by the NZ Antarctic Heritage Trust. They give the background:

In December 1956 HMNZS Endeavour left New Zealand for to support both the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE) 1955–1958 and the International Geophysical Year (IGY) 1957–1958 with a major programme of science.

Fresh from conquering Mount Everest in 1953, Edmund Hillary was enlisted to lead the New Zealand party that would lay supply depots from the Ross Sea towards the South Pole for the first trans-Antarctic crossing. Led by the then Dr Vivian Fuchs, the expedition planned to cross the continent from the Weddell Sea.

Pram Point, on the edge of the McMurdo ice shelf and four kilometres from the United States’ McMurdo Station, was chosen as the site for Scott Base. In January 1957 the team completed the buildings (six interconnecting units and three detached science buildings) that would form the antecedents of the modern-day Scott Base. A party of 23 men wintered over at the newly formed base.

This team basically founded Scott Base. Hillary of course also got fame for making it to the South Pole on a tractor. His job was to lay out depots for the British explorers. But after he had done that, and as he was only 80 miles from the South Pole, he decided to head on down there and beat them to it 🙂

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I love the address.

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The main room in the hut.

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A very old beater.

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And even older phone.

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I like how they say “Today’s Guess” instead of “Today’s Forecast”. The weather here can be quite variable.

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This is the emergency exit in case of fire.

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And with the exit open. Would not be great fun crawling out through that!

NZ History has more details of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition.

Hillary was the first person since 1912 to reach the South Pole overland.

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