Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Race to antarctica

There were no banner headlines in the next morning's newspapers announcing the feat, but at 3 PM GMT one hundred years ago today, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundson and 4 expedition members were the first humans to arrive at the South Pole.

The Norwegian team was competing for the honor of being first to the pole with the English explorer Robert Falcon Scott. Scott had set off for Antarctica first, while Amundson had planned to explore the North Pole. His plan, pre-Panama canal, was to sail around the Horn and up the US west coast to the Artic. Upon reaching Madeira, Amundson wired Scott that he had changed his mind and was heading to Antarctica. Scott was on a scientific expedition with a goal of reaching the pole, Amundson was going simply to be the first to reach the Pole.

Amundson did reached the pole first, Scott and his team arriving by a different route 34 days later only to find a note left for him by the Norwegian team. Amundson was troubled in later years by accusations of ungentlemanly conduct and being unsporting in his arrival without giving prior notice of his intention, the hurt was more painful because he and his team survived while Scott and his party perished on their return from the pole. Roald died in the Arctic in 1928.



James said...

I have always been fascinated by both Arctic and Antarctic exploration. Scott's saga is a tragic story indeed.

Anonymous said...

How are you decorating the dogs this Christmas?

Shelley said...

I just read last night in Love from Nancy, that Nancy Mitford was a big fan of Scott and she wrote about her excitement at having met and talked with his widow. I've always found the whole story about Scott's expedition extremely depressing.

Toad said...

shelley, I think Cherry Garrard's book, "the worst journey in the world" is one of the most depressing reads ever.

Jennings and Gates said...

Great post!