International Trans-Antarctica Expedition

On March 3, 1990, a team of six men from six different countries and their 42 sled dogs completed the first-ever dogsled crossing of the Antarctic continent. The 1990 International Trans-Antarctica Expedition, led by Minnesotan Will Steger, travelled 3,741 miles in seven months, enduring temperatures as low as -54F and winds as high as 100 mph.

This was an expedition with a purpose – to save Antarctica. The impacts the team has made on a global scale are monumental. Following the expedition, the team members met with the heads of state in France, China, Russia, Japan and the US, calling for the ratification of the 1961 Antarctic Treaty; the Treaty involves 39 countries that cooperatively manage Antarctica for scientific purposes only. In 1991, the Treaty was ratified, protecting Antarctica from oil and mineral exploration and preserving it for science.

The landmark expedition could not be replicated today: not only have dogs been banned from Antarctica, but the Larsen A and B Ice Shelves, on which the team travelled for a month, no longer exist, its demise a major indication of the impacts of climate change.