The recent evacuation of ailing astronaut Buzz Aldrin from the Antarctic was a reminder of just how treacherous that southernmost part of the world is.
However, when Roald Amundsen went to the South Pole he had none of the latest technology to rely on. His historic expedition, which took place 105 years ago on Wednesday (14 December), has been commemorated by Google with its latest Doodle.
The Norwegian explorer was accompanied by a party of 19 people and 11 Greenland sled dogs, who are depicted in the Doodle at the finish line next to their tent.
Google's blog says that Amundsen's party managed to cope with the conditions and pass the time on the journey by telling stories, holding guess-the-temperature contests and celebrating birthdays.
Amundsen was dubbed "the last of the Vikings" and at first did not even plan to go to the South Pole, focusing instead on the Arctic and the North Pole. He changed his plans when he heard two US explorers had already got to that destination.
Amundsen and a subset of the crew made the final trek to the South Pole in December 1911, beating the British party led by Captain Robert Falcon Scott by five weeks. The permanent scientific base at the pole bears the names of the two rival explorers.
Amundsen was the first person to reach both poles and was on the first expedition to traverse the Northwest Passage.
He died in June 1928, aged 55, when an airship he was in, the Italia, disappeared while taking part in a rescue mission in the Arctic.