Army ski expedition hoists Indian flag at South Pole

"The expedition team led by Colonel Anand Swaroop and seven other soldiers after successfully traversing the long distance of the Antarctic region finally reached its destination of the geographic South Pole and observed the Army Day there," an army spokesperson said here.

This was the first ever coast to pole skiing expedition to the South Pole, covering a distance of 1,170 km. This journey also marked 100 years of the first expedition taken out by Roald Amundsen.

The team for the 50-day expedition had been selected after trials at the High Altitude Warfare School of the army at Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir.

"To realistically prepare the team for polar conditions, a rigorous one-month pre-expedition training camp was conducted in Greenland from August 29 to September 28 last year, so as to familiarise them with the sub-zero temperatures of Antarctica," the spokesperson said.

The team, along with their equipment, flew to Antarctica by a mix of commercial and chartered flights. The expedition took the 'Hercules Inlet route' which involved skiing from the coast of Antarctica to South Pole at 90 degree latitude.

The team pulled sledges with supplies for nearly two months and were self-contained till they reached the South Pole. In the process, the team faced extreme cold temperatures in the range of minus 15 to minus 40 degrees Celsius.

The army has encouraged adventure activities among its personnel and in the last decade, its mountaineering teams have scaled seven highest peaks over the Himalayas.

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