111's That Crossed Antarctica, How Cool is That!?

Discussion in 'Stove Forum' started by Doug's Kid, Aug 17, 2020.

  1. Doug's Kid

    Doug's Kid United States Subscriber

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    Ann Bancroft is a former polar explorer who happens to live in my area (and no, the actress in the Graduate was Anne Bancroft). She has traveled across the Greenland icecap, and to both poles, on foot/ski/dogsled. She actually skied all the way across Antarctica, passing through the South Pole on the way. She is in the process of reducing her belongings prior to a move. Which has led to my latest acquisition… the two Optimus 111’s that she took to Greenland, and used to cross the Antarctic.:content:

    They were bought new in 1991/2. They have homemade insulated bases fastened to them, a cut up sleeping pad fastened to a board wrapped in duct tape. She did this to prevent them from sinking into the snowcap when they were used. She couldn’t remember how she fastened them to the stove bases, but they feel really solid, so I’m guessing epoxy? At any rate, they are part of the unique history of these stoves so at present I have no plans to try to remove them. Though I suppose this might make the stoves more prone to overheating when run in warm weather, what do you guys think?

    She spoke highly of the 111. Had no problems using them in the brutal cold of Antarctica. Makes me wonder if perhaps these two 111’s hold the record for being run at a lower ambient temp than any others of their kind? If not they have to at least be in the running.

    Given the soot on them I asked if she always primed them with white gas, or if she ever used alcohol. She said they didn’t carry alcohol, so it was always white gas.

    Before her Greenland trip she was told there would be white gas available at the start of the journey. But the otherwise reliable 111’s started clogging soon after she started using them. Turns out it wasn’t white gas, but was something else (her recollection was that it was some kind of kerosene).

    With no proper fuel for the 111’s she was supplied with a classic old Primus which got her the rest of the way across Greenland. She was very fond of the Primus, still has it in her living room, and will not be selling it. We agreed that a primus is as sculptural as any “real” art, and belongs where you can see it.

    They were properly supplied with white gas for her Antarctic crossing, so the 111’s worked fine and were used for the entire crossing.

    They happen to have re-run the TV documentary “Chasing Shackleton” on TV just a few days before I bought these. It covered the recreated journey that six men took in sailing a replica of the James Caird from Elephant Island to South Georgia. They used a Primus stove on-board the boat just like Shackleton did, you see it a couple of times in the film. Being able to own and use a piece of history like that is one thing that got me into collecting stoves. When I was recounting this film to Ann I used the expression “they were following in Shackleton’s footsteps”, and she agreed. Then I realized I was talking to one of the very few people in history who actually has followed in Shackleton’s footsteps.8]

    The only damage I’ve noticed on either stove is a broken hinge on one of them. Both pump leathers are also broken, and stuck in the bottom of the pump tubes. I’m soaking them in penetrating oil, but no luck so far in getting them out of the tubes. At present I’m thinking perhaps I will clean up one of them as best I can, and leave the other one as found. Kind of a ‘before and after the expedition’ display.

    I don’t know much about 111’s yet. Prior to this I’ve had just one 111b, with the roarer burner. These two both have a silent burner. Am I right in thinking that when sold these were convertible to fuels other than white gas? What would it take to run other fuels in these stoves? I didn’t get any restrictors or different sized jets with the stoves. Are parts available, or at least fabricable?

    She is also selling the unused backup 111 that was purchased for her trips. I posted that in the Auctions forum. Or you can look it up in the St. Paul Facebook Marketplace. DSCF4903.JPG DSCF4904.JPG DSCF4905.JPG DSCF4915.JPG
     
  2. ArchMc

    ArchMc SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Congratulations! Those are a great acquisition. These two are historic stoves, and I would say definitely do NOT remove the insulated bases, as they are part of the history. I seriously doubt they will contribute to overheating, as most of the heat loss in temperate conditions is to the air. Just be sure not to use really large pans with them, as they will reflect the heat down on the stove.

    Personally, I would replace the leather cups on both stoves and bring them to working condition. I'm sure others will have different opinions.

    Thanks for sharing this story.

    ....Arch
     
  3. Lennart F Sweden

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    Another contributor of the Greenland crossing, Liv Arnesen(using MSR XGK) wrote that they were supplied with leaded automotive fuel(probably american) that started to clog the burners in a few days and finally forcing them to abandon the 1991 crossing attempt - she suspected that it was a sabotage by some locals because they refused to have a male expedition leader.
    They successfully made the crossing in 1992, in the opposite direction. From then on Liv Arnesen practised a rigorous fuel and stove excercise with 2 XGK stoves, 4 fuel bottles with pumps, extra service kits and always supplied her own factory sealed Coleman 1 gallon cans. You just need a working stove when it's really cold.
     
  4. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    Gee whiz,,, to suddenly become caretaker of such a wonderful bit of stove history... I freakin I’d have them both going if I could, even if I didn’t actually use them... Just have them ready for their next adventure.
     
  5. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    I think I’ve purchased the 3rd 111,,, She is going to mail it to me, though I did offer to drive down to The Cities to pick it up.
     
  6. Doug's Kid

    Doug's Kid United States Subscriber

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    Very cool! Congratulations! I guess the early bird gets the worm, you sure wake up early.

    So all her stoves will stay in Minnesota. :content:

    Please tell her that you learned of it on this site, and that "Brian" sent you. I told her I'd try and generate some interested parties for her stove by posting it here.

    Also, did you ask her about a kit to convert to another fuel? I didn't think of it when I was speaking to her. She said she might have a "spares kit" somewhere, and that she'd try and contact me if she ran across it. I've been hoping that is what it is.

    I'll be driving to the Gunflint trail two weeks from tomorrow. With all the worries about the mail these days... if you want we could arrange to have me drive it up and drop it off with you.
     
  7. Doug's Kid

    Doug's Kid United States Subscriber

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    Ahhh... very interesting about the unleaded fuel. That was my initial thought, but I had not extrapolated further to wonder if it was intentional sabotage, rather than just a misunderstanding. Yes Liv was with her in Greenland and the two of them did the Antarctic crossing alone together (if that is grammatically correct).
     
  8. Haggis

    Haggis Subscriber

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    She already has it boxed for shipping, but thank you for the generous offer.

    I’ll mention the conversion kit to her, perhaps we can do a deal on it as well?

    Daughter #4 has met Ann Bancroft, and absolutely adores her. Needless to say, No small part on my inspiration to purchase this stove was to pass it on to Daughter,,, after I can no longer use it...
     
  9. Lennart F Sweden

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    Awesome that three of the most special 111's will be cared about in this community.

    I have a few examples of Liv's book about her famous solo trip to South pole - in norwegian - found them at Salvation Army in Oslo to a nice price.
     
  10. JP2

    JP2 Subscriber

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    COOL,. Very cool
    I am also happy to have them secure between us here at CCS.
    They will survive.
     
  11. DAVE GIBSON

    DAVE GIBSON Subscriber

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    great they stay in Minnesota!
     
  12. Doc Mark

    Doc Mark SotM Winner Subscriber

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    Hi, Guys,

    Finds like this are too cool for words!! Fantastic scores!! Very cool, indeed, and HUZZAH to all concerned!! :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:

    Doc
     
  13. WingedWheel United Kingdom

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    thats an awesome set of stoves! Personally I would keep both in working order but I wouldn't go over the top with it, keep the patina they've earnt from their travels.
    All the best,
    Lloyd
     
  14. alanwenker

    alanwenker Subscriber

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    Congrats on the stoves, an amazing find. How did you hear of the sale? What's the Facebook group? I can't seem to find the group.
     
  15. Cookie

    Cookie United States Subscriber

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    The unused 111 was purchased I believe. Great looking stoves. They are a real score as many have said.
     
  16. Phantom

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    Thanks for the story, and congratulations on your two 'new-to-you' stoves. That's cool indeed!

    ^^^ Says it all. ^^^

    May be of interest: About Ann :: Ann Bancroft Foundation
     
  17. Toad of the Cape

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    Hello folks,great story,do we know which Primus stove they used for the rest of expedition,
    warm regards Alex
     
  18. Doug's Kid

    Doug's Kid United States Subscriber

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    No, I'm afraid she didn't mention the model of the stove, and I didn't see it.