Following Shackleton’s Footsteps

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Ernest Shackleton is a legendary name amongst Antarctic explorers. He was an Irish born gentleman who commanded several early expeditions to the frozen continent, most notably a 1907-1909 expedition that explored much of the area, and came within 100 miles of reaching the South Pole, and a 1914-1916 expedition that saw his ship, the Endurance crushed by ice, forcing his crew to abandon the vessel, but through a daring rescue that Shackleton himself lead, there were no causalities.

Despite his daring heroics and famous explorations, Shackleton never made it to the South Pole. Now, nearly 100 years after his historic “Nimrod Expedition”, named after his ship on the journey, a new expedition to the South Pole will begin, this time with several explorers with dies to the Nimrod. Joining the team will be Patrick Bergel, great grandson to Shackleton, and Tim Fright, whose great great uncle was Frank Wild, a friend of Shackleton who joined him on all of his Antarctic adventures. They’ll also be joined by Henry Adams, great grandson of Jameson Boyd Adams, Shackleton’s second in command.

This article from The Guardian website has the details of the new expedition, which will begin a year from now in October, 2008. The team will first summit Mt. Erebus, which Shackleton’s team was the first to summit a century earlier, and then on the 29th of October, 2008, the team will set off from the Shackleton Hut, a 10 AM in the morning, exactly 100 years after their famous ancestors.

The expedition will raise funds for charity, and they hope to reach the spot where Shackleton and his men turned back precisely 100 years after the earlier team. From there, they’ll continue on, using skis, and pulling their sledges until they complete the “unfinished business” of their family members. Namely, reach the South Pole.

While the expedition is still a year away, it should be a fun one to follow. I have no doubt that the event will be celebrated in the U.K., as Shackelton was knighted for his efforts, and considered quite the hero in his day. He was a contemporary, and sometime rival of Robert Falcon Scott and Roald Amundsen. It was Amundsen himself who was first to reach the South Pole, in December of 1911, besting Scott by one month. Scott and the rest of his team would later perish on the return trip to their waiting ship.

Kraig Becker

3 thoughts on “Following Shackleton’s Footsteps”

  1. This will be an amazing adventure!
    “Endurance” was one of the very first adventure books I read years ago…
    I just was amazed at how they went through one trial after another, and yet kept going…

  2. Hi DSD!

    Yep, Endurance was one of my early books as well, and at the time I thought that Shackleton and his men must have been crazy! They certainly were a study in determination.

    It’ll be fun to follow their grand kids as they make this expedition.

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