“Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.”

“Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.”* The leaders of the most successful Antarctic expeditions knew this well. So do the most successful of entrepreneurs in any field. The most compelling parts of any expedition story always seem to begin when the unpredictable forces of nature seem ready to overwhelm, or when the glimmering hope of … More “Spectacular achievements come from unspectacular preparation.”

Shackleton’s ‘Aurora’ Ross Sea Party, January 24, 1915: Landing at Hut Point

Shacketon’s planned Antarctic crossing from the Weddell Sea depended on the Ross Sea Section of the expedition landing at Scott’s old bases on Ross Island, and laying a string of depots across the Barrier and up into the Beardmore Glacier, for the Antarctic crossing party to pick up on their way north again. The whaler … More Shackleton’s ‘Aurora’ Ross Sea Party, January 24, 1915: Landing at Hut Point

February 1-7, 1913: The Terra Nova homeward bound

–from Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s account “The Worst Journey in the World”– “The Terra Nova is a wood barque, built 1884 by A. Stephen and Sons, Dundee; tonnage 764 gross and 400 net; measuring 187′ x 31′ x 19” compound engines with two cylinders of 140 nominal horse-power; registered at St. Johns Newfoundland. She is therefore not … More February 1-7, 1913: The Terra Nova homeward bound

Amundsen near the Plateau: November 28, 1911

From “To the south Pole”: “I see that my diary for November 28 does not begin very promisingly:  ‘Fog, fog–and again fog.  Also fine faling snow, which makes the going impossible.  Poor beasts, they have toiled hard to get the sledges forward today.’  But the day did not turn out so badly after all, as … More Amundsen near the Plateau: November 28, 1911

Amundsen on the South Polar Plateau: November 25, 1911

“We all had taken a turn outside to look at the weather, and were sitting on our sleeping-bags discussing the poor prospect. . .’Shall we try it?’. . . .No sooner was the proposal submitted than it was accepted unanimously and with acclimation. . . .All the qualities that I most admire in a man … More Amundsen on the South Polar Plateau: November 25, 1911

Amundsen Makes the Plateau: November 22, 1911

“The holiday humour that ought to have prevailed in the tent that evening–our first on the plateau–did not make its appearance; there was depression and sadness in the air–we had grown so fond of our dogs.  The place was named the “Butcher’s Shop.”  It had been arranged that we should stop here two days to … More Amundsen Makes the Plateau: November 22, 1911