CROSSING ANTARCTICA by Will & Jon Bowermaster Steger


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Routine account of a groundbreaking expedition in the Great White Waste. Steger, who conquered the North Pole by dog sled a few years ago (North to the Pole, 1989), and Bowermaster (coauthor with Steger of Saving the Earth, 1990) try hard to make their tale of the 1989 Trans-Antarctica Expedition a gripper. The superlatives roll out: the first crossing of Antarctica by dog sled and ski, battling windchilis of minus-65 degrees and 100-mile-per-hour winds, crossing the terrifying ""Zone of Inaccessibility,"" and so on. But despite these thrills, the story slogs along. The problem may lie in the expedition itself, which was masterfully organized and proceeded without major mishaps. A safe expedition makes a slow read. The six-man international crew (French, American, British, Russian, Chinese, Japanese) did its job with just the usual bickering frostbite. A man missing overnight, a dog stuck in a crevasse--such is the adventure for the armchair explorer, who winds up mulling over the explorers' menu (lots of Land O' Lakes cheese) and methods of garbage disposal (bag it up, fly it out). The US, which routinely cold-shoulders flee-lance explorers arriving at its South Pole base, comes off as the heavy. It snows a lot. Everyone gets home safely. Indispensable for Antarctica buffs, but for real chilly thrills, try Shackleton or Scott.

Pub Date: Jan. 9th, 1992
ISBN: 0897328965
Page count: 320pp
Publisher: Knopf