Think South: How We Got Six Men and Forty Dogs Across Antarctica
An intimate portrait of the remarkable characters and events behind the first non-mechanical crossing of Antarctica
What does it take to move forty dogs, three sleds, twenty tons of food and gear, and six men from all over the world across nearly four thousand of the coldest miles on earth? Cathy de Moll, the executive director of the 1990 International Trans-Antarctica Expedition, introduces the wild cast of characters who made it happen, on the ice and off: leaders Will Steger and Jean-Louis Etienne, who first met accidentally, on the way to the North Pole; Valery Skatchkov, the Soviet bureaucrat who supplied a “hot” Russian airplane; Yasue Okimoto, who couldn’t bear to leave headquarters in Minnesota while her boyfriend was on the ice; Qin Dahe, the Chinese member of the team, who didn’t know how to ski; the millions of children who followed the expedition in schools around the world, learning about the fragility and ferocity of the seventh continent; and many others.
These stories of near misses and magical coincidences are as suspenseful and compelling as the expedition’s headlines—and they have never been told. But they also reflect the greatest lesson of the project: the international cooperation that was needed for the expedition’s success is every bit as essential for the preservation of Antarctica today.
- By: Cathy de Moll, foreword by Will Steger
- Format: Cloth, 304 pp., 6x9, 30 B&W illustrations, index, appendixes
- Publisher: MNHS Press (October 2015)
- Product ##: 9780873519885
Cathy de Moll, who has been a teacher, communications executive, writer, and entrepreneur, was the executive director of the International Trans-Antarctica Expedition. Will Steger led the first confirmed dogsled expedition to the North Pole, the first and only traverse of Antarctica by dogsled, and other remarkable expeditions.
“This is not just your ordinary adventurer’s account of physical exploits and hardship. It is the story of the personalities and work behind the scenes that make great adventures happen. It’s a page-turner with great insight and warmth. Bravo!”
Dan Buettner, New York Times bestselling author of Blue Zones and Thrive
“I have been waiting all these years for Cathy to write her story, and she has really delivered. This book is both history and a meditation on the nature of culture and the individual … not to mention a wonderful recounting of all it took to get our expedition across Antarctica. I enjoyed every minute.”
“Launching a polar expedition means more than navigating the harsh environment of Antarctica—it means dealing with challenging and ever-changing conditions of politics, economics, cultures, and egos. I spend so much time on the organizing of expeditions, but when I return, I’m asked to recount only stories from the journey. Cathy’s beautifully written book is a rare complement to the accounts written from the ice and a vivid insider's account of the complexities of launching an epic, history-making expedition.”
Ann Bancroft, polar explorer, educator, and founder of the Ann Bancroft Foundation
“Cathy de Moll shows how a smart, capable woman can finesse the challenges of the hypermasculine world of extreme adventure. Her sketches bring a truly astonishing collection of personalities to life, and they show how she provided the vital connections to make it work—by asking questions, making friends, listening, standing her ground, and seeing the humor in the chaos around her. I am an outdoor adventure enthusiast and I couldn't put the book down.”
Miriam Nelson, founder and director, StrongWomen Initiative, and author of Strong Women Stay Young and three other New York Times bestselling books
In the Media:
"This book is about the International Trans-Antarctica Expedition. But it's not about the frostbite. Not about the 75-knot winds that whipped tents relentlessly. Not about endless crevasse crossings. Not about keeping dozens of exhausted sled dogs alive while battling Mother Nature's worst wiles. It's about all the invisible stuff a team of people need to do behind the scenes to ensure the success of an incredibly complicated venture."
National Geographic Adventure Blog Interview with Will Steger