The 300 club is a South Pole tradition where when the temperature outside drops below -100F we crank the sauna up to +200F and run naked from there to the geographic pole. I’d done it two years ago during my last trip down here, and today was my opportunity to do it again.

The temperature has dropped below -100 several times this year, but today is the first time that it has stayed there for more than just a few minutes. Its also the first time that it dipped below the magic number at a decent time of the afternoon. I’d been trying to decide if I wanted to do it again this year, but there was a feeling of excitement in the science building about this that was impossible to resist.

12 of us gathered together in the old sauna, but with that many bodies it took forever to get up to 200 degrees. After an hour the heat was finally sufficient, and we crammed in and sweated in there for as long as we could stand it. Finally we were ready, and all headed out. Now, I knew the trick to this is to not run because the -100 air will just damage your lungs, but unfortunately the excitement of the moment caught up with me, and I headed out at full throttle. About halfway to the pole, I realized I was pointing the wrong direction, and finally spotted the guy who was out there marking the spot with a flashlight. I decided to slow down, and did a fast walk the rest of the way, but the damage was done. By the time I got back, I was already coughing and hacking…enough people had done the same thing that the sauna sounded like a TB ward while we all tried to warm up. After about 90 minutes I started breathing normally again, but it’ll take a couple of days to be back to 100%.

By the way, several people have asked this….that’s frost, not grey hair! 🙂

14 Responses

  1. dtc

    You are insane. I know there must be some thrill but personally, I’d avoid -100 degree weather. 🙂 Be careful Henry!

  2. dtc

    Hey, I just noticed your days til you hit the road just hit below 100! Woot! Won’t be long now.

  3. Henry Malmgren

    Well, I thought it had, but it’s actually gone up by four days. My replacement is going to be a little late getting down here, but really after this long, a few more days won’t matter much.

  4. Wood

    Dude, at least make the smiley face a little bigger. Have some frickin’ dignity!

  5. Robert

    Good to see some things haven’t changed… you’re still a moron… and we love your for it.


  6. Bruce


    Would love to become a member of the 300 Club! Is there any way that civilians can take part in this event? Would love to visit the Amundsen-Scott station at least ONCE in my life, 300 Club not withstanding.


  7. Roger AC Williams

    I’ve been reading “penguincentral” about the Pole (a series of links from “Antarctic Sun”)–not sure if you’re the same guy. Enjoyed reading about the “300 Club” as he did that too. We used to do it in Barrow, AK but it was only ~30 below 0 not -100. You’d warm up in a sauna in the NARL power plant then go out & roll in the snow then go back in. I worked at the NOAA GMCC clean air station up there (now CMDL), then the one in Samoa (what a change). Worked with winterovers (ARO at the Pole) but haven’t been to the ice myself. Fun reading about it.

    Roger Williams, Boulder, Colorado USA.

  8. Mike

    Just read the article in InformationWeek – you rock! I live in the Denver area, not too far from your support office – if you ever get up this way, I’d love to hear some war stories.

    Take care,


  9. Craig


    I’m an avid traveler. My next big trip will be Antarctica. I would LOVE to join the 300 club. Is there anyway you can give me more information on how to join or become apart of this club? I can’t find any information off the internet!


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