• Germany's news in English
 
app_header_v3

First German to trek to South Pole returns

The Local · 23 Jan 2013, 15:58

Published: 23 Jan 2013 15:58 GMT+01:00

Other BMW executives go on skiing holidays in the Alps around this time of year. Roland Krüger, who is about to take over as German regional director of Bavarian auto-giant, went on a 890-kilometre, 49-day skiing trip through temperatures of -25C to become one of the few people who have trekked to the South Pole unsupported and unassisted.

"The ground conditions were particularly difficult this year," said the 47-year-old, who had been to the South Pole as part of a team in 2005. He had to contend with uneven ice, strong winds, and constant "whiteouts" - when snow reduces visibility to such an extent that the horizon disappears altogether, leaving the individual completely disorientated. "That was extremely difficult," he said. "I lost a lot of time."

There were other troubles on the way: at one point the uneven ground broke the sled he used to drag his 130 kilos of supplies with him. He managed to repair it once the weather had cleared up. "If you're well-prepared, you can deal with anything," he said. To keep his morale up, he listened to music on an iPod on the way.

But the adverse conditions meant he had to give up his original plan of crossing the entire continent of Antarctica, and had himself flown out once he'd reached the pole.

Krüger spent four years planning the trip and training for its physical exertions. "I trained my stamina and endurance a lot, and my leg muscles - and, this might sound weird, I put on a lot of weight," he said. This turned out to be a good idea, because his trek left him 15 kilos lighter. "That's completely normal in the cold and under the physical strain."

Krüger stayed in touch with a specially-hired company every day to check his position via GPS, and spoke to a friend in Norway who would record his progress in a blog.

Story continues below…

By the end, Krüger found the psychological difficulties as tough as anything. "Suddenly I just started missing my family," the father of two said. "At that point making phone calls isn't enough anymore."

The Local/DPA/bk

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

18:05 January 23, 2013 by ChrisRea
Chapeau! People like Mr. Krüger give me hope that the human race has a future. They also help me putting my own problems into perspective. Once again, hat off!
11:26 January 24, 2013 by raandy
ChrisRea are you considering a trek to the "North Pole" ?
01:49 January 25, 2013 by ChrisRea
No. But I would like to finish a mountain ultra-marathon, for example "Marathon 7500", even within the Hobby category (45 km, 3200 m positive elevation difference). Last year I was disqualified after 25.5 km and 2,700 m positive elevation difference because I arrived at the control point 51 minutes too late (11 hours 51 minutes instead of 11 hours). So I could not dare to dream about a trek to the North Pole, I am not even in the semi-professional category.
15:47 January 26, 2013 by raandy
Sounds like you are an energetic sports enthusiast. Krüger was not a pro either but determined and had financial support as well.

Good luck on the ult-marathon !
Today's headlines
Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
File photo: DPA

When a man swimming naked in a Bavarian lake felt a strange pain in his nether regions, he looked up to see a fisherman on the shore. "Don’t pull!" he shouted.

Study finds rival Rhineland beers 'actually taste the same'
Left: Altbier. Right: Kölsch. Or can you even tell? Photos: DPA.

Cologne and Düsseldorf have a long established rivalry, not least over who has the better home brew. So the results of a new study might be more than they can swallow.

Eastern Europe pushes Germany for joint EU army
Angela Merkel (l), Beata Szydlo and Victor Orban. Photo: DPA

Eastern EU countries on Friday pushed for the bloc to create a joint army as they met with Germany for talks on sketching Europe's post-Brexit future.

Merkel’s party mate wants to get rid of all Karl Marx streets
Karl Marx and one of the roadways in Berlin named for him. Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Nicor

Hundreds of streets are named after the founder of communism, but this conservative politician wants to give Marx the boot.

State elections
6 reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
Photo: DPA

With state elections around the corner, The Local looks at the poor side of Germany's "poor but sexy" capital city.

Upstarts RB Leipzig plan to go right to top of Bundesliga
RB Leipzig players celebrate scoring against Dynamo Dresden. Photo: DPA

RB Leipzig make their Bundesliga debut on Sunday, but the East German outfit, sponsored by energy drinks manufacturer Red Bull, are already far from popular in Germany's top-flight.

Poland criticizes Germany’s 'self-serving' foreign policy
Witold Waszczykowski. Photo: DPA

The Polish foreign minister has said that Germany all too often follows its own interests at the expense of its partners, as Chancellor Angela Merkel prepares to visit Warsaw.

Vast majority of Germans in favour of burqa ban: poll
Women wearing niqab veils in Saudi Arabia. Photo: DPA.

A survey found that the vast majority of respondents were in favour of Germany passing a ban on the full-body veil sometimes worn by Muslim women.

Czech police detain driver for harassing Merkel's motorcade
Angela Merkel. File photo: DPA

Czech police arrested a man on Thursday for attempting to drive into the motorcade of visiting German Chancellor Angela Merkel in Prague, they said.

Teacher convicted for holding kids back after class
Photo: DPA

A music teacher from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) has been found guilty of "holding people against their will" after he made some naughty stay kids back after class.

Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Gallery
Germany's 17 Olympic gold medals in pictures
Sponsored Article
Why expats choose international health insurance
Culture
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Rhineland
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Culture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
Sponsored Article
Life in Jordan: 'Undiscovered treasure'
Lifestyle
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
14 facts you never knew about the Brandenburg Gate
Society
Ten times Germans proved they really, really love beer
Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
Lifestyle
What's on in Germany: events for August 2016
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
Six things you need to know when moving to Germany
Travel
These 10 little-known German towns are a must see
Sponsored Article
Jordan Pass: your ticket to the experience of a lifetime
International
German scientists prove birds can sleep while flying
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
London v. Berlin: Which is better for startups?
Lifestyle
13 mortifying mistakes German learners always make
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Enter if you dare: Berlin's best abandoned haunts
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Lifestyle
10 rookie errors all Brits make when they arrive in Germany
Sponsored Article
Five things Americans should know about voting abroad
National
How to get German citizenship (or just stay forever)
Sponsored Article
Jordan: where history meets adventure
Technology
Brexit will turn Berlin into 'Europe’s startup capital'
Sponsored Article
6 reasons expats use TransferWise to send money
Travel
Six soothing day trips to escape the bustle of Berlin
International
'Germany needs to make UK come to its senses'
Features
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Features
How two gay dads cut through German red tape to start a family
8,653
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd