Video – The Great Achievement: In 1958 Sir Edmund Hillary Drove To The South Pole On A Tractor

Video – The Great Achievement: In 1958 Sir Edmund Hillary Drove To The South Pole On A Tractor

In 1958 Sir Edmund Hillary lead the first motorized expedition to the South Pole. His choice of vehicle? Massey Ferguson tractors and these were not huge Massey Ferguson tractors but pretty humble little farm tractors that were altered with small, roofless cabs and tracks to traverse the snow. Remember that Hillary was the guy who conquered Mt. Everest famously and he had to have been at least slightly unnerved when any vestiges of human life disappeared behind his expedition of little tractors as they plugged off into the white hell.

It was a 16 day trip through the brutally cold, unpredictable conditions. As you will see in this video, the tractors broke though often and had to be rescued from falling completely down some hellaciously deep crevices in the ice. They basically drove hundreds of miles in Antarctica in convertibles. Talk about hell!

Here’s a quote from Hillary that dates to 2003 regarding the expedition:

Oh, no [it wasn’t harder than Everest]. It was different in many different ways. The problems of snow and ice were similar, but on a big mountain like Everest, there were more immediate dangers – the possibility of avalanche or falling off the mountain or going down a crevasse. In the Antarctic, the temperatures on the whole were colder, the distances were vast and it was a much longer sort of business, really. So in our trip to the South Pole, we were under constant tension, for long, long periods. For hours we’d be under great tension. Whereas on a big mountain it would be for short periods.

That’s one of the gutsiest humans who has ever lived, tractors or no tractors. This video shows the hard road that these guys took to the South Pole and it makes for a fun watch!

Watch a video following the Sir Edmund Hillary tractor expedition!

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