10 October, 2015


Roald came first, but Johanna can be first anyway

The famous polar explorers, Roald Amundsen and Fritjof Nansen, usually had the northern city of Tromsø as a base for adventures. It was one of their ports from where the ships sailed to discover the poles and cross the ice. Hundred years later Johanna Davidsson was preparing for her adventures at Tromsø as well. Nansen did Greenland on skis in 1888 and Davidssons became the first Swedes that kited across the same island from south to north in 2014. Amundsen on the other hand, was the first person to reach the South Pole in 1911 and Davidsson was the first Swedish woman to reach it on her own in 2016.

Other Scandinavians have been first, in different kind of ways

  • The Norwegian Liv Arnesen is the first woman in the world who skied solo to the South Pole 1994. Liv Arnesen and her friend Ann Bancroft are also the first women to cross Antarctica with skis and sail 2001.
  • 1998 the 26 year old Ola Skinnarmo became the first Swede, and youngest ever, to reach the pole on his own. He could not really stay away from the second pole and became the first Swede to the North Pole as well, in 2000.
  • Norwegian Børge Ousland has reached both poles and has crossed the Arctic and Antarctica. He has gone through and across most things that are snowy and icy on the surface of the earth.
  • The Swedes Tina and Thomas Sjögren are the first couple ever to go to the South Pole, reaching it in 2002. Tina Sjögren is therefor also the first Swedish woman to the pole. She is also the first woman in the world to tick the boxes of the so called three poles, that is the South Pole, the North Pole and the highest pole Mount Everest.
  • Norwegian Cecilie Skog has crossed most of the major ice shelves. She is the only woman who has done the top-ten-package of world class adventure, that is reaching the three poles and climbing the Seven Summits of each continent.
  • Alexander Gamme is the Norwegian adventurer who made the longest solo expedition to the South Pole and back in 2011.  Alexander Gammes expedition was considered a solo tour, even if he brought his imaginary friend.
  • Swedish-Welsh Maria Leijerstam was the first one to bicycle to the South Pole in 2013.
  • Johanna Davidsson was the first Swedish woman to reach the South Pole on a solo expedition. She also broke a world speed redord for women, after skiing for 38 days, 23 hours och 5 minutes.

It is kind of tricky to define who is first with what. Johanna, for instance is not the first Swede nor the first Swedish woman, but she is the first Swedish woman who skied solo to the pole and the fastest woman to do so in the world. But she also became the first Swede to go to the South Pole and back. Her 56 day expedition is also the fastest return journey, ever.

Here is some historical South Pole statistics excel-style.