Canadian, British explorers reach Antarctica's Pole of Inaccessibility

A team of British and Canadian explorers have endured seven weeks of howling winds and subzero temperatures to reach the geographic center of Antarctica, the first expedition to reach the isolated outpost on foot.

Dragging 120-kilogram (264-pound) sleds, the team traveled 1,700 kilometers (1,056 miles) on foot or by kite ski to reach Antarctica's Point of Inaccessibility the furthest point from any ocean on Jan. 19, according to a statement posted on the expedition's Web site.

Located more than 3,725 meters (12,221 feet) above sea level, the Pole of Inaccessibility was first visited in 1958 by Soviet explorers who reached the remote outpost in convoy of snow vehicles.

The team, led by Canadian Paul Landry, said it was surprised to find a bust of Vladimir Lenin erected by the Soviets nearly half a century ago still standing amid the ice, reports AP.

"We noticed a black dot on the horizon as we got closer an outline of (the) bust started to appear we could not believe it," the team said in a brief statement posted on Jan. 19. "We are all so exhausted that we have only just put up the tent with Lenin's stern gaze over us!"

The team, called N2i, also includes Britons Rupert Longsdon, Rory Sweet and Henry Cookson.

It took the group 49 days to complete the 249-kilometer (155-mile) journey from the Russian scientific base, Novolazarevskaya, to the Pole of Inaccessibility, which lies some 870 kilometers (540 miles) northeast of the geographic South Pole.

They will now return by plane to the Russian base, Vostok, before traveling on to Cape Town, South Africa.