South Pole Traverse

Satellite photo of the McMurdo Station with the South Pole Traverse (central road)
Cargo caravan on the ice highway in early 2006
Topographic Map Sheet Leverett Glacier 1:250,000

Approximately 995 mi flagged route over compacted snow and ice in Antarctica that links McMurdo Station on the coast to the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station, both operated by the National Science Foundation of the United States.

- South Pole Traverse

11 related topics


McMurdo Station

United States Antarctic research station on the south tip of Ross Island, which is in the New Zealand–claimed Ross Dependency on the shore of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica.

Nuclear reactor commemorative plaque
The supply ship MV American Tern during cargo operations at McMurdo Station during Operation Deep Freeze 2007. The square building in the foreground is Discovery Hut.
McMurdo Station from above.
McMurdo Station in November 2003.
A 10K-AT "All Terrain" forklift moves a loaded cargo-sled as part of an Operation Deep Freeze resupply mission
Ivan the Terra Bus.
This 1983 image of USNS Southern Cross at McMurdo Station shows cargo operations on a floating ice pier. Such piers have been in use since 1973.
being led by the Russian icebreaker to McMurdo Station during Operation Deep Freeze 2006. Mount Erebus is visible in the background.
Byrd Historic Monument
Annotated view over the Station, also showing Scott Base and the McMurdo Ice Shelf

Criticism has been leveled at the base regarding its construction projects, particularly the McMurdo-(Amundsen-Scott) South Pole highway.

Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station

United States scientific research station at the South Pole of the Earth.

Geographic South Pole
The communication office at the South Pole
The main entrance to the former geodesic dome ramped down from the surface level. The base of the dome was originally at the surface level of the ice cap, but the base had been slowly buried by snow and ice.
An aerial view of the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station taken in about 1983. The central dome is shown along with the arches, with various storage buildings, and other auxiliary buildings such as garages and hangars.
The dome in January 2009, as seen from the new elevated station.
Ceremonial South Pole (the dome in the background was dismantled in 2009–2010).
January 2010: The last section of the old dome, before it was removed the next day.
An aerial view of the Amundsen–Scott Station in January 2005. The older domed station is visible on the right-hand side of this photo.
The Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station during the 2007–2008 summer season.
A photo of the station at night. The new station can be seen in the far left, the electric power plant is in the center, and the old vehicle mechanic's garage in the lower right. The green light in the sky is part of the aurora australis.

There is a snow road over the ice sheet from McMurdo, the McMurdo-South Pole highway, which is 995 miles (1601 km) long.

Leverett Glacier

About 50 nmi long and 3 to 4 nmi wide, draining northward from the Watson Escarpment, between California Plateau and Stanford Plateau, and then trending west-northwest between the Tapley Mountains and Harold Byrd Mountains to terminate at the head of the Ross Ice Shelf close east of Scott Glacier.

Leverett Glacier is on the route through the Transantarctic Mountains for the McMurdo – South Pole Highway, an overland supply route between McMurdo Station and Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station.


Off-road bicycle with oversized tires, typically 3.8 in or larger and rims 2.16 in or wider, designed for low ground pressure to allow riding on soft, unstable terrain, such as snow, sand, bogs and mud.

Fatbike being ridden over the snow
Picture from series "Strange but True!", placed by Currys Ltd in the cycling press, before 1932
Sun Spider AT fat tire bicycle on display at the Carnegie Science Center in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States
Fatbike in Mexico
Full Suspension fat-tire bike
Bikepacking in the U.S. state of Oregon

Maria Leijerstam became the first to cycle to the South Pole, across the South Pole Traverse road on a tricycle with fatbike tires.

Maria Leijerstam

British polar adventurer.

Leijerstam's route (blue) over the South Pole Traverse (red)
Maria Leijerstam at the geographical South Pole

During the trip, she followed the South Pole Traverse, which led her on a steep climb through the Transantarctic Mountains, over the 2941 m high Leverett Glacier and 500 km above the Antarctic plateau.

Transport in Antarctica

Transport in Antarctica has transformed from explorers crossing the isolated remote area of Antarctica by foot to a more open era due to human technologies enabling more convenient and faster transport, predominantly by air and water, but also by land as well.

A tour boat in fast ice near the coast

The South Pole Traverse (McMurdo–South Pole highway) is approximately 1450 km long and links the United States McMurdo Station on the coast to the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station.

Ice Maiden Expedition

British Army expedition in which six women from the United Kingdom became the first female team to ski across the Antarctic continent using muscle power alone.

Starting at the edge of the Ross Ice Shelf, they skied up the Leverett Glacier following the South Pole Traverse route to the Scott-Amundsen South Pole Station, arriving on 17 December 2017.


Linear way for the conveyance of traffic that mostly has an improved surface for use by vehicles and pedestrians.

A bricked road in Bangladesh
A gravel road in Namibia
Transfăgărășan called "the best road in the world" by Top Gear
The Porta Rosa, a Greek street dating from the 3rd to 4th century BC in Velia, with a paved surface and gutters
A paved Roman road in Pompeii
Old tractor road over farmland, Ystad, Sweden
Ancient Sassanid Era Pathway in Behbahan, Persia
Ancient Cobblestoned Road in Behbahan
A highway in Tampere (Finland)
Layers in the construction of a mortarless pavement: A.) Subgrade B.) Subbase C.) Base course D.) Paver base E.) Pavers F.) Fine-grained sand
Overpass under construction over Interstate 5 in Burbank, California
Surveyor at work with a leveling instrument
Asphalt layer and Hamm road roller
Sub-base layer composed of cement-based material being applied during construction of the M8 motorway in Ireland
Road construction in Myanmar
Clearing rocks from mountain road in Spiti
Typical pavement strata for a heavily traveled road
"Road works ahead" sign, typically used in Europe
Line marking in rural India
A white line used to designate a parking bay in Scotland. The line has deteriorated to the point that both an older yellow line and the underlying surface are visible beneath.
Pedestrian crossing, line markings and street furniture.
Snow causing bad road conditions
Air pollution along Pasadena Highway in Los Angeles
A dual carriageway section of National Highway 8 connecting Delhi to Gurgaon
The A22(T) with line markings near Summer Hill, East Sussex, England
Road with guard rails in Kaluga Oblast, Russia
Road with traffic signs in the outskirts of Bern, Switzerland
NH 73 going to Bangalore
Ontario Highway 401, a route with a collector / express setup
The wide Coastal Road in the Philippines now called the Manila-Cavite Expressway
Australian drive on left sign
A city street in Mumbai, India with left-hand traffic
An ice road between the Hailuoto Island and the Mainland Finland at winter

Antarctica has very few roads and no continent-bridging network, though there are a few ice roads between bases, such as the South Pole Traverse.

Transantarctic Mountains

The Transantarctic Mountains (abbreviated TAM) comprise a mountain range of uplifted (primarily sedimentary) rock in Antarctica which extend, with some interruptions, across the continent from Cape Adare in northern Victoria Land to Coats Land.

Map of the Transantarctic Mountains
Aerial view of the Dugdale Glacier in 1957
Mount Herschel (3,335 m) in the Admiralty Mountains subrange, as seen from Cape Hallett
David Glacier with the Drygalski Ice Tongue in the far distance
Byrd Glacier from Landsat
The Thiel Mountains

The Leverett Glacier in the Queen Maud Mountains is the planned route through the TAM for the overland supply road between McMurdo Station and Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station.

Archibald McMurdo

Flag of a vice-admiral, Royal Navy

Vice-Admiral Archibald McMurdo (24 September 1812 – 11 December 1875) was a British naval officer born in Scotland, after whom Antarctica's McMurdo Sound, McMurdo Station, McMurdo Ice Shelf, McMurdo Dry Valleys and McMurdo–South Pole Highway are named.