Author(s): Geoffrey Lee Martin
Late in 1957 two field parties set off from different sides of the Antarctic continent, both headed towards the South Pole. The intention was for one of those parties to successfully complete a trans-Antarctic crossing. This party was led by Britain's Dr Vivian Fuchs. The second party, led by Edmund Hillary, was to lay fuel and supply depots along the route, to resupply the Fuchs party on the second part of their expedition. The New Zealanders were to wait 500 miles short of the South Pole until they were joined by Fuchs and his men, and the two parties would then travel back to where Hillary had started. However, Hillary and his men reached the end of their planned journey several weeks before Fuchs could possibly meet up with them. So rather than wait in temperatures often below -30 degrees, consuming the supplies they had painstakingly carried with them, they decided to forge on to the South Pole - and a controversy was born.
Geoffrey Lee Martin is a journalist who first joined the New Zealand Herald in 1945, later becoming chief of staff and then a feature writer. He also worked for the Daily Telegraph in London and has travelled widely. He now lives in Sydney.