– FIRST TO SKI CROSS CONTINENT –
“NOTHING, NOTHING, nothing giving you protection.”
These words belong to the adventurer Reinhold Messner of Antarctica, who crossed it without the help of dogs or machines, Messner was the first man who reached the top of Mount Everest alone without bottled oxygen.
His companion was Arved Fuchs of Germany, the first man to reach both Poles on foot in the same year. The Canadian company Adventure Network ensured that they would support them from air until their starting point. But after arriving at the Canadian camp at Patriot Hills, the two men learned that there was not enough fuel to transport them to the Filchner Ice Shelf, their planned starting point.
Instead, they had to set out from the inland edge of the Ronne Ice Shelf. On November 13, 1989, Messner and Fuchs set out on skis. A day later a stiff wind carried off Messner’s rubber sleeping pad, which was used as a barrier between him and the icy ground. Four days later they lost their mileage indicator, forcing them to depend on other means to guess the distance they travelled each day.
Bad weather, poor radio communication, and difficulty crossing giant fields of ice and snow slowed their arrival at their first supply place at the Thiel Mountains. By the time they arrived, on December 6, Fuchs’s feet were suffering from ill-fitting ski boots.
Messner complained to their Canadian suppliers: “If I were alone, I could go twice as fast.”
In his diary entry of November 24, he had spoken more sympathetically of Fuchs’s feet: “Sore and suffused with blood so badly that even his feet cannot be seen. Every step he takes hurts him .” Next stop : the South Pole, where they arrived early on New Year’s Eve.
They were near U.S. Amundsen-Scott Station. Five Americans from the station welcomed them. For Messner it was a moment of mixed emotions: “You ski a thousand kilometers through complete stillness and vastness, and suddenly you see domes, containers, and masts.”
As for Fuchs, he was “happy just to be there .” They left three days later, following the general route across the Polar Plateau, through the Transantarctic Mountains, then onto the Ross Ice Shelf. Because of his sore feet, Fuchs often arrived more than an hour late to camp. Messner didn’t want to wait so he preferred to put up the tent by himself. It was a difficult procedure in the high winds. Their occasional use of parachute sails increased their daily mileage. Once, before the Pole, Messner lost control of his sail, fell, and cut open his right elbow. “How easily you can break a leg or an arm,” Fuchs commented later. Finally, on February 12, after a journey of 92 days covering 1,550 miles, Messner and Fuchs reached New Zealand’s Scott Base, on McMurdo Sound.
That same day a team of explorers led by Will Steger and Jean-Louis Etienne was 3,300 miles into its own seven-month crossing of Antarctica, using dogsleds. Both achievements , though different in scale and concept, add to the heroic legacy of adventure and exploration left by such men as Amundsen, Shackleton, and Scott.
A. What do the following refer to?
1. ‘if (line 3):
2. ‘them’ (line 8):
3. ‘he’ (line 23):
4. ‘him’ (line 25):
5. ‘there’ (line 31):
B. Write the meaning of each word.
1. ‘set out’ (line 11):
2. ‘mileage indicator’ (line 16):
3. ‘suffused’ (line 24):
C. 1. Why couldn’t Messner and Fuchs start from the Filchner Ice Shelf?
2. Why did they arrive at their first supply place late?
3. Where did they travel before reaching the Ross Ice Shelf?
4. What was a difficult procedure for Messner in the high winds?
5. Lirvis Both achievements’ refers back to the following: