New self-imposed challenge- 'Race to The Pole'

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I would love if one of HL's new projects was some sort of golden age of polar exploration/Franklin type scenario (so the sight of a 19thC style ship in the latest teaser art was very welcome!).  Using the Travois for the first time made me think that, with a little imagination, this might be close to possible now.  But, would I actually enjoy 'Scott Versus Amundsen' or 'Shackleton: Pemmican of Destiny', or will it turn into The Worst Journey in The World? Only one way to find out:


The scenario:  You are a late 19th/early 20th C polar explorer, setting up base camp on Antarctica.  You get a limited time to gather and depot your supplies, then it is off to the pole, and hopefully back!  I've tried to only allow items that would fit that period.

You start in Coastal Highway.  Custom with harsh weather, passive wildlife, high loot.  Quonset garage is your hut, and you have an initial 20 days 'preface' to gather the allowed supplies and items below (you can do whatever you want during this period, so looting Thomson's Crossing, for example, of allowed items is fine).  This is the only period you can shoot deer (which you will need for the trail journey as a pemmican substitute, allowed as likely not enough jerky).  You'll def want to be working towards a travois.

At day 20, the challenge begins with the camp phase, which lasts 30 days.  You can travel around the coast as far as Hibernia if you want to gather more supplies, or as far along the linear trail route as you see fit to lay depots (which must be stone cairns).  Only the stated items can be used, and apart from Hibernia, Riken & Quonset no other beds or interiors can be used.  You can use your bedroll (ptarmigan upgrade allowed), or construct a snow shelter to mimic a tent.  You can't leave a snow shelter standing.  The only fuel is sticks (for firestarting) and coal (which I've chosen as a paraffin substitute).   Apart from stones for depots, you cannot gather anything when on the trail.  You can fish, but no using huts.

At day 50, you must be back at your hut (Quonset), and ready or not you set out.  Apart from stones, no other items, animals or structures exist, this is empty land. What you can carry, drag, or pick up at depots is all you have.  The route is Quonset to ML via trestle etc. ML to MT (transition cave allowed but no stopping or sleeping, or gathering extra coal).  Rope climb into MT allowed (to simulate polar mountains/ ice barrier).  MT to HRV (cave allowed, as before).  Right descent into HRW, then around to Valley View Point.  Back up via Stairsteps etc.  Back through cave to MT, then down to lower basin (rope climb allowed).  MT to FM, cross FM to BI (cave allowed), before reaching the 'pole' at the top of the unnamed island with a cave in the middle, south west of the cannery.  Mark with a cairn, then race back along the same route before your supplies run out!



Allowed at Camp:

Beans, peaches (& peach pie),  condensed milk, soup, sardines, bannocks, porridge, stews, potatoes, carrots, sardines, fish, ptarmigan, tea, coffee, water, salt, oil, flour, oats

Allowed on Trail:

Biscuits, deer meat, jerky, granola & chocolate bars, peanut butter (to replace actual butter), condensed milk, tea, coffee, water


Balaclava, fleece cowl, long scarf, cotton toque, rabbitskin hat, improvised wraps,

Rabbitskin mitts, improvised wraps

Fisherman’s sweater, wool shirt, plaid shirt

Mac Jacket, old fashioned parka, pea coat

wool longjohns

work pants, cargo pants, deerskin pants

wool socks

deerskin boots, mutluks, crampons




pot, skillet, can opener, lantern & fuel, accelerant, matches, sewing kit, fishing line & tackle, knife, hatchet, saw, rifle, bandage, antiseptic, mushroom/burdock tea, bedroll (inc. down), cloth & leather, sticks and coal, flask, travois, whetstone, simple tools, scrap metal, skill books, stones


pot, can opener, lantern, accelerant, matches, sewing kit, knife, flask, travois, bandage, antiseptic, mushroom/burdock tea, bedroll (inc. down), cloth & leather, sticks and coal, stones (depot only)


This has been a paper exercise so far, so a few things may need tweaking, but let's see how it goes! any suggestions or input welcome.  I'm gutted I couldn't include FA, as some of the bleak dunes there are the most 'polar' landscape in the game, but the trek along the railway from FM to TP didn't feel right.  Hopefully with some of the more remote areas like the delta or FM, I'll get the vibe I'm after...



Edited by Valuable Hunting Knife
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I'm toying with the idea of going for jerky only, rather than deer meat, given how much I've found on the high loot setting.  I've found 3 maples and a deer carcass, so on track for the travois.  A cave run should see me ok for coal too.  Could do with some boots,  gloves and a better hat though, and I'm desperate to find the old parka and fisherman's sweater, they will look great.  I'm not minding this bit too much, but it would be great to fully customise your starting clothes/gear.



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Getting there- gonna craft some deerskin boots.  Finding wool longjohns via beach combing was a massive win.  I seem to have messed up custom settings, no bunnies or pigeons, so I'm going to allow myself wool mittens.  10 days of 'prep' left, I may try a final run to ML to look for the elusive old fashioned parka.  I've been reading up on Amundsen and apparently wolfskin clothing was a thing, so may allow that in future.  Hopefully i have enough food and coal looted know, still mulling over whether to use deer meat or not, would be a good substitute for the seal meat that was depot'd at the time.



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Thanks for the comments and the great link :) I found my duffle coat, and after 17 days I felt as ready as I ever would be, so I said farewell to the supply ship, and began the depot-ing.  From this point on, apart from stones the only items I can interact with are what is at base camp, or that I am carrying or have depot'd.

I think I have also inadvertently put the calorie setting a bit easier than I usually play, so I'm definitely going no deer meat, only jerky, but will tweak this if I try again.

First depot run was to just inside ML.  Only real hiccup was an invisible barrier for the travois in the central ravine rail tunnel.  

As an aside, I'm all the more convinced from what I've done so far that it would be possible with a few mods such as reskinning existing items in the game, and removing trees and buildings from the maps, to make this really close to being a 'realistic' experience.




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