Who are we? Meet the persons travelling from Troll Station to the South Pole, and back again.
Participating both seasons
Tom earned a B.A. in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago in 1996, and a Ph.D. in Geophysics from the University of Washington in 2003. This will be his fourth traverse, having participated in the 2001-2002 U.S. ITASE traverse in West Antarctica, the 2003-2004 Light Ground Traverse in East Antarctica, and the first part of the 2007-08 traverse last season. During the first season, Tom was a part-time member playing several roles, including assisting with ice core collection and processing, surface snow sample collection, and the deep radar system. This year, Tom will serve as the traverse team leader. He will be involved in the radar data collection, snow pit sampling, and will keep an eye on the overall traverse progress.
Tom has recently begun a new career at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, and spent exactly one day at the office before leaving for the traverse. He plans to continue this proportion (1 day in the office, 150 days in the field) as long as possible. When not traversing, Tom enjoys playing with his children Leo (4) and Stella (1), bicycle racing, and planning traverses.
John Guldahl is the Operations Manager for Antarctic programs for the Norwegian Polar Institute. John has led the logistics planning and organisation of numerous expeditions both in the Arctic and the Antarctic, and he has spent several seasons in the polar regions as an expedition leader. He was the project manager for the conversion of Troll Station to a full year station, as well as the establishment of the blue ice airfield at Troll. John has been in charge of the logistics planning for this traverse. En route he is keeping a watchful eye over the operation, maintaining liaisons with external operators, coordinating air operations and generally making sure that everything goes according to plans. John is fully enjoying the sublime challenge of planning and conducting one of the longest scientific traverses of the Antarctic continent.
Lou Albershardt has
spent a numerous seasons in the Arctic and
the Antarctic as part of logistical and science support efforts. She worked as
a lead driller on GISP-II, Taylor Dome, and Siple Dome research projects. Currently she is working for the Ice Coring and Drilling Services (ICDS) at the University of Wisconsin in Madison. For
Lou, this expedition represents a dream-come-true to be involved with an
internationally-recognized group of researchers dedicated to such a
high-quality and comprehensive climate-reconstruction effort.
Einar is our camp manager, and will be in charge of provisions and supplies. Everybody else takes a keen interest in Einar's work, because he is the one who decides the weekly menus!
Einar is a trained mechanic and cook. He joined the Norwegian Polar Institute in 1998 and currently works as an engineer at the Operations and Logistics Department. Having spent a total of 17 years in Svalbard in Arctic Norway and 8 summer seasons in Antarctica, he has extensive experience in fieldwork under frigid and harsh circumstances. He has mainly been working with field logistics, and as a field assistant to glaciology, polar bear, walrus and reindeer scientists. Although he has travelled far and wide in Antarctica, he regards the traverse from Troll Station to the South Pole as a unique challenge.
Stein Tronstad earned his M.Sc. from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1984, and has the somewhat unlikely background of a city planner. After having grappled with the urban expansion of the City of Tromsø for 14 years, he came to the Norwegian Polar Institute in 1998. Currently he is heading the Institute's Environmental Data Section. On his spare time he has been working with climbing and mountaineering safety for the Norwegian Climbing Federation over the last 12 years. His main responsibility during the traverse is travel safety and navigation. He will drive the crevasse detecting radar which doubles as a 400 MHz snow radar. En route he will also indulge in other hobbies of his, such as collecting GPS data, processing ice cores, and digging snow pits. This will be his fifth Antarctic season.
Kjetil Bakkland is the mechanic and first aid responder on the traverse
to the South Pole. During the second season, he will be taking part in the vehicle upgrade work at Camp Winter, before the traverse leaves the South Pole. Kjetil's normal work is with the Fire and Rescue Services
of the City of Sandefjord in Southern Norway. He is a trained
mechanic and paramedic, and he has several years of experience as an
ambulance driver. This is Kjetil’s third and fourth summer season in Antarctica,
and he is hoping for the traverse to be a safe journey for all
has a keen interest in Antarctic research and exploring, and he is
looking forward to visit the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. When
getting there he will, however, be looking even more forward to getting
back to Norway, to his wife Lise and his four children, Sigurd (1), Hanna (7),
Steffen (17) and Marius (19).
E. Liston is a Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for
Research in the Atmosphere, Colorado State
University. He received his B.S. in
Atmospheric Sciences, University of Washington,
in 1982; his M.S. in Snow, Ice, and Permafrost Geophysics, University
of Alaska, in 1986; and his Ph.D.
in Mathematics-Engineering, Montana
State University, in 1991. He has led and participated in over 25 Arctic
and Antarctic field expeditions. On this project he is responsible for
measuring surface roughness features, assisting with the ice-core drilling and
ice-temperature profiling, and modeling surface-atmosphere interactions. He
spent a year at the South Pole 25 years ago, and is looking forward to
returning there and seeing the new station.
Second season participants
Ted Scambos is Lead Scientist at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, a part of CIRES at the University of Colorado. He recieved a degree in Geology from Stony Brook University (B.S.), and from Virginia Tech (M.S.), before completing a Ph.D. in geochemistry and remote sensing from the University of Colorado. After spending 3 years at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center, he returned to University of Colorado as research scientist specializing in remote sensing applications to snow and ice study. He has been on 9 previous expeditions to the Antarctic, and pioneered several new ways to use visible-band images in the analysis of ice sheets. Ted will be conducting gravity surveys of sub-glacial lakes during the traverse, as well as installing two Global Positioning System stations for ice motion.
Ole Tveiten is a physician specialising in primary care. When not travelling in the Polar Regions he is working at the Fagernes Medical Centre in the south-central mountain region of Norway, and heading the local casualty department. Ole takes a keen interest in emergency medicine and mountain medicine, and is a volunteer for the mountain rescue service. He is accredited in air medicine and diving medicine. His polar experience includes one season as a field physician at Troll Station during the austral summer of 2005-2006, and 1,5 years at Longyearbyen Hospital in Svalbard. Since then, the Norwegian Polar Institute has valued Ole's expertise and contributions to the institute's planning and crew training ahead of the field seasons.
Ole has always been fascinated by snow and ice, and has spent a lot of his spare time in the mountains and in glaciated areas. As our physician on the return journey from the South Pole to Troll Station he hopes to be in scant demand, and to be able to spend his time assisting the science and logistics crews.
Zoe Courville earned her BS in mechanical engineering at the University of Denver and her Ph.D. at the Thayer School of Engineering at Dartmouth in 2007. She is currently a post-doctoral scholar at Dartmouth as well as at the Cold Regions Research & Engineering Lab with Dr. Mary Albert. Zoe has been on five research expeditions on the Greenland ice sheet and one in East Antarctica previously. On this traverse Zoe will be making the physical measurements of snow properties for assessing accumulation rate impact on snow and firn properites. Through a collaboration with the Exploratorium Museum in San Fransisco, CA, Zoe will also be conducting outreach for the traverse this season.
Andreas got his Bachelors degree in Engineering from Tromsø University College in 2006 and started working at the Northern Research Institute Tromsø shortly after. He is working mainly with their Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) programme and is responsible for getting the veicles airworthy and airborne. He will join the traverse during the second season to work on his planes and their payload. He is looking forward to the experience and hoping not to freeze his fingers off while flying the UAV in Antarctica.
Anna is currently working as a Post Doc at the Department of Geosciences of the University of Oslo. Previously she has been working with the Ice and Climate Group at the Arctic Centre in Rovaniemi, Finland, where she studied Antarctic blue ice areas for paleoclimate applications.
During our traverse she will be operating the high frequency radars to study the internal structure of the top 100 meters of the ice sheet. She has participated in three expeditions to Antarcica before this one.
Kirsty Langley is a Post Doc at the Norwegian Polar Institute, Tromsø, Norway. She earned an MSc from the University of Rekjavik, Iceland, and a PhD from the University of Oslo, Norway, both in radioglaciology. A love for the unknown, the outdoors, fun and friends have led her to where she is today. She will be responsible for operating the deep radar as we drive. This will map out the bedrock topography under the ice sheet, where we expect to see a whole new world of mountains, valleys and lakes. She has only worked in the Arctic so far and so is really excited about the trip ahead and is looking forward to the sled ride of her life.
Svein Henriksen will be our mechanic on the northbound traverse from the South Pole to Troll Station. Before the actual traverse begins he will join the advance party to Camp Winter to assist in the vehicle repairs and upgrades. Svein lives in Tromsø, and has been working at the Norwegian Polar Institute for the last two years. He became a certified mechanic in 1993, and for the next thirteen years he spent his working hours inside and underneath heavy Volvo and MAN trucks. In 2006 he joined the Operations and Logistics Department at the NPI, and went straight down to Troll Station for his first summer season in Antarctica.
Svein has always been fascinated by the Antarctic and Arctic regions. He has been above 80 degrees north and now hopes to get below 80 south. Given that we start season two at the South Pole, chances are fair that he will succeed. Although he thoroughly enjoys field trips, chances are also fair that he will soon enough be missing his wife Siri and kids Sigurd (13), Nora (11), Jakob (8) and Lars(3).
Rune Svendsen is 34 years old, and a certified mechanic. He has been working with the Norwegian Polar Institute for four years, and going on his fourth season on the Ice as well. Being a mechanic with an interest in tracked vehicles and snow had him working with tanks in the Norwegian army for 4 years, as well as 18 months as an officer for field maintenance crews.
Rune has been taking care of the TL6 tracked vehicles used on the traverse for the last three years, and he will come along to Camp Winter to see them upgraded and ready for season two.
His interests besides tracked vehicles and machinery in general includes enjoying the great outdoors and training his giant Schnauser, which is waiting paitiently for him back home in Norway. Also waiting is his beloved Linn, although maybe not quite as patiently, since she is expecting their firstborn in the early days of February. So when the vehicle upgrades are done at Camp Winter and the traverse is good to go from the Suth Pole, Rune will be heading home in a hurry.
Jan-Gunnar Winther holds a Ph.D. from 1993 in polar hydrology from the
Norwegian Institute of Technology. Today, he is the director of
the Norwegian Polar Institute. He specializes in using optical satellite
imagery to study surface characteristics of snow and glaciers, and has
considerable experience in cold-regions field research through a number of
expeditions to Antarctica and Svalbard.
On the traverse, he will especially be involved in ice coring and outreach
activities. “My vision is that we will improve the scientific understanding of Antarctica
in a global climate context. And by sharing our knowledge to stakeholders and
the general public, make a difference when it comes to how mankind is tackling
the climate change challenge.”
Mary Albert is the U.S. Lead Principal Investigator for the
Traverse Program. She received a BS
degree in mathematics from Penn State, MS degree in engineering sciences from
Dartmouth, and a PhD in applied mechanics (computational fluid dynamics) from
University of California San Diego. Mary is an Adjunct Professor at the Thayer
School of Engineering at Dartmouth, and also is a senior research engineer at
the Cold Regions Research and Engineering Lab (CRREL). She has spent many field
seasons doing research both in Greenland and Antarctica, and Mary served as
Chair of the U.S. National Committee for the International Polar Year from
2003-2006 for the NRC Polar Research Board. Mary's traverse research focuses on
the physical properties of the firn, impacts of accumulation rate on firn
properties, and air-snow exchange modeling. With the synergy of the scientific
expertise on this project and the adventure of the Antarctic experience, Mary
is very excited about this important endeavor.
(Atsu) Muto is a Ph.D. student in the Geography department at the University
of Colorado at Boulder,
under the guidance of Dr. Ted Scambos and Dr. Konrad Steffen. He received his
Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Earth Sciences from Chiba
University in Japan.
He has participated in the deep ice core drilling at Dome Fuji, East
Antarctica, as a member of the 46th Japanese Antarctic
Research Expedition in 2004-05. He also spent one month at McMurdo Station in
2006. He is responsible for firn temperature profile measurements and aims to write
his Ph.D. thesis on surface temperature reconstruction using data obtained
Stian Solbø received his degrees of Sivilingeniør (M. Sc.)
and Dr. Scient (Ph.D.) from the department of physics and technology, University
of Tromsø, in 2001 and 2007,
respectively. He is affiliated to the Northern Research Institute (Norut) in Tromsø,
Norway, where he works on
extracting useful information for climate and environmental studies from
remotely sensed data. His main tasks on the traverse will be to operate the unmanned
aerial vehicle (UAV) system and to set up automatic weather stations. Stian has
never been to Antarctica before, but he hopes to be the
first person from Senja driving a tracked vehicle to South Pole.
Karsten received his Master in Geosciences from the University
of Oslo in 2005. Currently he is
pursuing his Ph.D. on high-frequency radar interacting with snow and ice in the
Polar Regions. He has conducted field work in the Arctic
and is now looking forward to elucidate some of the secrets the ice on the other side of the
planet may hold.
Helgard studied geophysics at the University of Karlsruhe,
Germany. She did her Ph.D. at the glaciology department of the Alfred Wegener
Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) Bremerhaven,
and received her doctor’s degree in March 2007 from the University
During her Ph.D. thesis work she participated in two expeditions
to the coastal parts of Dronning Maud Land. Prior to that she overwintered at
the German Antarctic station “Neumayer.”
Her research interests comprise the combination of GPR and ice core
studies and during the traverse she will obtain low-frequency radar data and
assist with ice core drilling. She looks forward to doing exciting research in
an international group and especially to finally make it up onto the polar
Art Howard has held a camera in his hands since the 7th grade. That camera has been a ticket to explore and capture both the beauty and hardships of the planet..shooting a George Lucas documentary for Japanese television, capturing the action in the trenches of Saudi Arabia and Iraq, and traveling to 49 states and 25 countries for broadcast clients, and Museums. Art represents Polar-Palooza, an award winning outreach program dedicated to science education during International Polar Year. After 4 trips to the Arctic, this will be Art’s first South.
Unni Ødegård is a journalist working for NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. She is focusing on climate change in her work, and has been busy lately making a documentary on the melting sea ice in the Arctic
Her goal is to make the traverse a happening to the Norwegian public. Every day she and cameraman Torbjørn Krane will post stories, videos and pictures to a website: http://www.nrk.no/sydpolen
. They will also make a tv-series for Schrödingers Katt, a weekly science show on NRK. Unni has never been to the Antarctic before and is VERY excited.
Torbjørn Krane is an experienced cameraman and editor from NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation. He works as an allround photographer, covering a variety of fields like winter sports, documentaries and nature. Torbjørn visited Troll Station and Svarthammeren in Dronning Maud Land during the 2000-2001 summer season, and knows the area well. The Antarctic Plateau will however be a new experience for him, and he is looking forward to it.