• Germany's news in English

First German to trek to South Pole returns

The Local · 23 Jan 2013, 15:58

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

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

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
Creepy clown scare spreads to Germany
Two of the clowns were apparently equipped with chainsaws. Photo: Pedro Pardo / AFP file picture

Police said Friday five incidents involving so-called scary clowns had occurred in two north German town, including one assailant who hit a man with a baseball bat, amid fears that Halloween could spark a rash of similar attacks.

Student fined for spying on women via their webcams
Photo: DPA

Student from Munich fined €1,000 for spying on 32 different computers, using their webcams to take photographs, or record their keyboard history.

This is how much startup geeks earn in Germany
Photo: DPA

A comprehensive new survey of 143 startup founders shows how much you are likely to be earning at a German startup, from entry level all the way up to sitting on the board.

Man dies after beating for peeing near Freiburg church
The Johannes Church in Freiburg. Photo Jörgens Mi/Wikipedia

A middle-aged man from southern Germany has died after being attacked by a group of men who took umbrage with the fact he was urinating in the vicinity of a church.

The Local List
Seven German celebrities with uncanny doppelgängers
Former Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit and actor Alec Baldwin. Photo: DPA; Gage Skidmore, Wikimedia Commons

Check out these seven look-a-likes of well known German figures - we admit that some are more tenuous than others...

Israel seeks to buy three new German submarines: report
A Dolphin class submarine. Photo: DPA

Israel is seeking to buy three more advanced submarines from Germany at a combined price of €1.2 billion, an Israeli newspaper reported Friday.

Here’s where people live the longest in Germany
Photo: DPA

Germans down south seem to know the secret to a long life.

More Germans identify as LGBT than in rest of Europe
Photo: DPA

The percentage of the German population which identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender is higher than anywhere else in Europe, according to a new study.

'Reichsbürger' pair attack police in Saxony-Anhalt
File photo: DPA.

A "Reichsbürger" and his wife attacked police officers on Thursday, just a day after another Reichsbürger fatally shot an officer in Bavaria.

Five things not to miss at the Frankfurt Book Fair
Photo: DPA

From consulting a book doctor to immersing yourself in an author's world with the help of virtual reality, here are five things not to miss at this week's Frankfurt Book Fair, the world's largest publishing event.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
10 things you never knew about socialist East Germany
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
How Germans fell in love with America's favourite squash
How I ditched London for Berlin and became a published author
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
12 clever German idioms that'll make you sound like a pro
23 fascinating facts you never knew about Berlin
9 unmissable events to check out in Germany this October
10 things you never knew about German reunification
10 things you're sure to notice after an Oktoberfest visit
Germany's 10 most Instagram-able places
15 pics that prove Germany is absolutely enchanting in autumn
10 German films you have to watch before you die
6 things about Munich that’ll stay with you forever
10 pieces of German slang you'll never learn in class
Ouch! Naked swimmer hospitalized after angler hooks his penis
Six reasons why Berlin is now known as 'the failed city'
15 tell-tale signs you’ll never quite master German
7 American habits that make Germans very, very uncomfortable
Story of a fugitive cow who outwitted police for weeks before capture
Eleven famous Germans with surnames that'll make your sides split
The best ways to get a visa as an American in Germany
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd