We reckoned now that we were at the Pole. Of course, every one of us knew that we were not standing on the absolute spot; it would be an impossibility with the time and the instruments at our disposal to ascertain that exact spot. But we were so near it that the few miles which possibly separated us from it could not be of the slightest importance.
Roald Amundsen – December 14, 1911
The South Pole is a harsh and isolated environment. It’s bit more plush now that when man first stepped on the location 100 year ago. Amundsen slept in a small tent. Today visitors can take it a bit easier in the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. You can even see a picture of the day from the South Pole.
At least during the Antarctic summer when the average high is a balmy -15°F with near endless daytime. From mid-April to mid-August, the only natural light comes from the moon and the aurora australis. Those settled in for the Antarctic winter don’t see the sun for months and the average high drops to a bone-chiling -68°F
The current station is on jacks so it can battle the 8 inches of snow that accumulates each year by raising its elevation. Since it’s sitting on a moving glacier it moves about 10 meters each year. It’s in constant movement, battling the forces of nature that kept in uninhabited until modern technology was able to fight back against the elements.
There are many comparisons you can draw between the South Pole and a compliance program. I’ll let you draw your own.