• Germany edition
 
First German to trek to South Pole returns
Photo: DPA

First German to trek to South Pole returns

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

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)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

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
Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'
State minister for culture and media Monika Grütters. Photo: DPA

Amazon 'should not endanger diversity'

A German minister on Wednesday threw her weight behind the authors battling US online retail giant Amazon over its alleged strong-arm negotiating tactics with publishers. READ  

Opposition calls for arms export debate
Photo: DPA

Opposition calls for arms export debate

Green Party leader Katrin Göring-Eckhardt is calling for a special session of parliament following Wednesday's announcement that Germany will break its rules and deliver weapons to an active conflict zone. READ  

Families find solace and help with seniors
Photo: DPA

Families find solace and help with seniors

When Verena Herz found out she was pregnant with twins, she had no idea what she was in for. Luckily, she was able to borrow a grandmother. The Local learns the advantages of welcoming a new grandparent into the family and why Omas and Opas say: "I tell everybody about it!" READ  

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech
Chancellor Angela Merkel opens the 2014 Lindau meetings. Photo: DPA

Merkel targets 'shadow banks' in Lindau speech

Chancellor Angela Merkel has opened an economics conference in Lindau, Bavaria, with a call for more regulation of so-called shadow banks. READ  

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure
A senior couple walk down Delmenhorst's main pedestrian promenade, amid a string of empty shops. Photo: Tomas Urbina

Dying town centres seek the miracle cure

Home to two-thirds of Germany's population, many of its small cities and towns are struggling to revive their declining centres. The Local's Tomas Urbina reports from Delmenhorst in Lower Saxony, as it tries to dig its way out of the economic doldrums. READ  

Quick-thinking trucker stops wrong-way driver
Signs warning drivers against entering a motorway off-road. Photo: DPA

Quick-thinking trucker stops wrong-way driver

Erich Mairleitner thought Tuesday would be another ordinary day hauling a load along the A3 motorway, but found himself the hero of the hour after stepping in to stop an accident. READ  

Germany ready to send arms to Iraqi Kurds
Usula van der Leyen and Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Photo: DPA

Germany ready to send arms to Iraqi Kurds

Germany is ready to send weapons to support Iraqi Kurds in their battle against the "barbaric" jihadist militants of the Islamic State, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Wednesday. READ  

The Local List
10 things to do before summer is really over
Photo: DPA

10 things to do before summer is really over

The German weather service (DWD) is blaming "Wild Wilma" for blanketing the country in cooler temperatures, but we know it's going to get a lot colder before the end of summer. This week's Local List challenges you to take advantage before autumn really sets in. READ  

Energy policy falls foul of federal auditors
Lightning illuminates the sky above a wind turbine. Photo: DPA

Energy policy falls foul of federal auditors

The Federal Court of Auditors (BRH) has sharply criticized Chancellor Angela Merkel's energy policy, saying that the previous coalition government failed to produce adequate financial plans. READ  

China orders German's execution for murders
A paramilitary guard stands inside Beijing's No.1 Detention Centre. Photo: DPA

China orders German's execution for murders

Update: A German man has been condemned to death in China for murdering his ex-girlfriend and her partner in a frenzied attack, it was reported on Wednesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Culture
Sprechen Sie Deutsch? 10 reasons why you should.
Photo: DPA
National
Berlin's senate puts the brakes on Über
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The mysteries of Berlin's abandoned theme park
Photo: DPA
Culture
How I deal with my German Hausmeister
Photo: Ingrid Eulenfan/flickr
Gallery
Nine German treats you'll want to eat right now (and one you won't)
Photo: DPA
Society
Who's getting German citizenship?
Photo: DPA
Culture
How World War I changed Germany forever
Photo: APA/DPA
Gallery
The 12 best words in Austrian German
Photo: DPA
Society
'Look at those German shanty towns!'
Photo: Europeana.de 1914 - 1918
Gallery
A German soldier's life behind WWI lines
Education
Raising the bar for law & business in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
Photo: DPA
Features
The Local List Archive - Your guide to all things German
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual school turning education on its head
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,347
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd