Photo by NOAA / Unsplash

1911 - End of the heartbreaking race to the South Pole

History Sep 25, 2021

England captain Robert Scott and four of his teammates have been tired of digging for the last few months and facing terrible and hostile weather. Yet from the calculations, it seemed that his goal was that the South Pole was no more than fifteen miles away.

Enthusiasm was running high in everyone's mind, as their adventure was now very close to its final culmination. They were going to conquer an area of the earth where people did not know whether there was a land made of rocks and sand available or not. No one set foot on the region known as the 'seventh continent', surrounded by the roaring ocean.

Amundsen's face in a black and white photo
Amundsen's face in a black and white photo By no credit, Public Domain, Link

James Ross, a British naval officer, made the long voyage to the South Pole in 1839 but had to return halfway from Antarctica. Many other adventurers risked their lives to reach the land of Antarctica, but they were all return without success. After the American adventurer Robert Pierre reached the North Pole in 1909, the uninhabited region on Earth was the South Pole.

Scott of the Antarctic (bw)
Scott of the Antarctic, By Henry Maull (1829–1914) and John Fox (1832–1907) - File:Scott of the Antarctic.jpg, Public Domain, Link

--And that's why Captain Scott's enthusiasm for the South Pole did not last long. He was actually making another attempt to reach the South Pole. It had reached very close to the South Pole in 1904, and since then a thrilling, heartbreaking race to be the first to reach that uneven region of the Earth had begun. Captain Scott's rival was Norwegian adventurer Roald Amundsen, who wanted to win the race at any cost. He was a little late in playing his name at the North Pole, as Commander Pierre had hoisted the American flag on the land of the North Pole just before his arrival. Strong-willed Amunds decided to embark on a new venture southward, and in August 1910 set out on a voyage to the South Pole with 19 companions, 97 sturdy dogs, four foxes, and six pigeons.

Scott's party at the South Pole.jpg
Scott's party at the South Pole: Oates, Bowers, Scott, Wilson, and Evans, [By Henry Bowers (1883–1912) - Huxley, Leonard (ed) (1913) "The Return from the Pole" in Scott's Last Expedition, Volume 1, New York, United States: Dodd, Mead, and Company, pp. Opposite p. 374 Retrieved on 3 November 2011., Public Domain, Link]

The rivalry and race between Amundsen and Scott were so fierce that when Scott and his companions arrived at the Australian port of Melbourne on October 12, 1910, they received a surprise-like telegram, which read, "I'm going to the south, Amundsen! '

Robert Scott's fleet passed through New Zealand and advanced to the South Pole. He had to cover a distance of 1400 km. On the other hand, Amundsen and his comrades camped in the Gulf of Whales also started marching towards the target. Amunds had a very meticulous plan for his trip, which he follow very tightly.

Unfortunately, Captain Scott was having trouble at every turn, the team had to deal with the terrible storms of ice. Their journey was much slower than planned and as a result, each member of the team had to run with insufficient supplies. Scott made a serious mistake when the whole cavalry got too close to the South Pole. Only four people were scheduled to accompany Scott on the final leg of the tour, but Scott also included a fifth teammate at the last minute. As a result, food supplies began to run out faster than expected. However, Scott's fleet forward with full vigor when the target was 24 kilometers away. Of course, vigor was about to leave shortly. As Captain Scott and his companions reached the South Pole, they saw a flag fluttering in the gusts of wind. The flag was Norwegian. Disappointed, Scott realized that he was too late to reach the uncultivated territory.

Norwegian flag at the South Pole
Norwegian flag at the South Pole, By Olav Bjaaland (1873–1961) - Project Gutenberg Literary Archive, Public Domain, Link

After Waving the Norwegian flag at the South Pole, Amunds already began its return journey. The unfortunate British also began their return journey. Of course, his legs were no longer vigor alive. The return trip proved fatal for all five adventurers, including Scott. Everyone's body was to be found by another adventure team after eight months, along with some geological specimens.


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