Antarctic explorers surprised to find Lenin's bust at remote outpost

At the geographic center of Antarctica one of the world's most inhospitable spots Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin stares out over a frozen wasteland.

A British and Canadian team that last month became the first to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility on foot were surprised to find a bust of Lenin still visible at a Soviet base that was abandoned almost 50 years ago.

"It was slightly yellow, but not a bit of snow on him," Henry Cookson, a British member of the team, told Associated Press radio. "It looked like it had been cleaned yesterday."

The British and Canadian explorers endured seven weeks of howling winds and subzero temperatures, dragging 120-kilogram (264-pound) sleds more than 1,700 kilometers (1,000 miles) to reach the Pole of Inaccessibility on Jan 19.

The pole is the geographic center of the frozen continent the furthest point from any ocean and is more than 3,725 meters (12,221 feet) above sea level, where harsh winds cut through the atmosphere, reports AP.

The Pole of Inaccessibility was first visited in 1958 by Soviet explorers who reached it in a convoy of snow vehicles and built a meteorological base there.

Cookson said the statue of Lenin was installed on top of a chimney at the base, leaving it visible despite snow building up on top of the base over the decades.

The area was last visited by a six-man French team during a trans-Antarctic expedition in 1989-90, according to the Australian Antarctic Division.

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