Lupoid, one of Shackleton's sledge dogs, named for his resemblance to a wolf. His story is one of the human spirit in all its wonder and all its frailty. Once the other three members of the James Caird had been retrieved, attention turned to rescuing the 22 men remaining on Elephant Island. “Eagerly on the lookout for the relief ship,” recorded Macklin on August 16, 1916. Sounds simple. WATCH: Full episodes of History's Greatest Mysteries online now and tune in for all-new episodes Saturdays at 9/8c. However, when Amundsen reached the Farthest South latitude (90°S) on December 15, 1911, Shackleton was a bit shackled. We had reached the naked soul of man. “In all the world there is no desolation more complete than the polar night,” writes Lansing. His jaw was like iron. The men on the island were settling down to a lunch of boiled seal’s backbone when they spied the Yelcho just off the coast. In 1914 Ernest Shackleton launched an expedition to Antarctica aboard a ship called the “Endurance”. Since the floe to which Shackleton’s crew had initially set a camp had also crumbled under pressure in the meantime, the crew had to relocate. From there a small party, including himself, would set out on the first crossing of the continent, ultimately arriving at the Ross Sea, south of New Zealand, where another group would be waiting for them, having laid depots of food and fuel along the way. “There was no alternative,” wrote Shackleton, “but to camp once more on the floe and to possess our souls with what patience we could till conditions should appear more favourable for a renewal of the attempt to escape.” Slowly and steadily, the ice drifted farther to the north; and, on April 7, 1916, the snow-capped peaks of Clarence and Elephant Islands came into view, flooding them with hope. And by “beautifully written,” we mean “written in a way they don’t write books anymore”: Lansing’s prose belongs more to the 19th century than to the modern age, but that should be off-putting only to those who, unlike the protagonist of the book, are not persistent and tenacious enough to swim through the breathtaking layers of meaning and reach the surface both richer and more perceptive.A classic of exploration literature, Endurance is a story of heroic failure, and since heroic failure touches people even more than heroic success, it’s bound to remain engraved in your memory for quite some time. In March 1916, the ice floe where the Patience Camp is located successfully makes its way to about 60 miles from Paulet Island, but impassable conditions make floating to the island all but an impossible goal. The first ship on which Shackleton set out ran dangerously low on fuel while trying to navigate the pack ice, and was forced to turn back to the Falkland Islands. There was nothing else to do but to establish a routine and wait out the winter. Shackleton was bold and daring when approaching lords, kings, business men and physicians for sponsoring his voyage He was confident of his abilities as a leader Pictured to the right: Frank Worsley, Ernest Shackleton, and Tom Crean After the Voyage of the Endurance (1917) The mission is not complete, though: there are 22 men still on Elephant Island and they are all waiting to be saved. Somehow, they managed to sail through it after about two weeks. Kieran Mulvaney is the author of At the Ends of the Earth: A History of the Polar Regions, and, most recently, The Great White Bear: A Natural & Unnatural History of the Polar Bear. How Shackleton and his men then made their escape on foot and in lifeboats is the stuff of legend. Then look no further: Alfred Lansing’s classic Endurance is its best and most spellbinding account. On November 21, 1915, Endurance entirely sank beneath the sea. And so Shackleton, Worsley and Tom Crean set off to reach it by foot—climbing over mountains and sliding down glaciers, forging a path that no human being had ever forged before, until, after 36 hours of desperate hiking, they staggered into the station at Stromness. Eventually, they lost sight of land completely: in fact, due to the Weddell Sea current, they started circling back to South Georgia and they were further and further away not only from their target but also from any land whatsoever. Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton CVO OBE FRGS FRSGS (/ ˈ ʃ æ k ə l t ə n /; 15 February 1874 – 5 January 1922) was an Anglo-Irish Antarctic explorer who led three British expeditions to the Antarctic. Why would someone set before himself such a goal? A month later, on December 5, 1914, Endurance left South Georgia. See why. Shackleton, wrote Alexander Macklin, one of the ship’s surgeons, “did not rage at all, or show outwardly the slightest sign of disappointment; he told us simply and calmly that we must winter in the Pack; explained its dangers and possibilities; never lost his optimism and prepared for winter.”, In private, however, he revealed greater foreboding, quietly expressing to the ship’s captain, Frank Worsley, one winter’s night that, “The ship can’t live in this, Skipper … It may be a few months, and it may be only a question of weeks, or even days … but what the ice gets, the ice keeps.”. Of all their enemies—the cold, the ice, the sea—he feared none more than demoralization. On April 9, 1916, the ice pack breaks in two, and The James Caird, Stancomb Wills and Dudley Docker are launched for a voyage to Elephant Island, a remote and uninhabited island far from all shipping lanes. In December 1914, the ship Endurance set sail from a remote whaling station on an island off the southern tip of Argentina. The rapidity with which one can completely change one’s ideas . “There is no good in deceiving ourselves any longer,” he wrote. It headed south toward Antarctica, where famed British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton hoped to lead the first crossing of the Antarctic continent on foot. Immediately understanding the extent of this new misfortune, Shackleton had no choice but to order his crew to leave Endurance and start building a camp on a nearby floe of ice, while salvaging as much material and food as possible. The Endurance steamed through loose open ice till 8 a.m. on the 11th, when we entered the pack in lat. During the next month or so, everything was stockpiled on the floe. Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) was a British explorer most famous for his Endurance expedition to Antarctica (Larson, 2011). From the moment Ernest Shackleton and his crew aboard the British expedition ship, HMS Endurance had become immobilized 10 months earlier, they had been preparing for this moment. Do you want to hear all about the last major expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration? He worked as a journalist for some time in Britain and was elected secretary of the Scottish Royal … He spoke softly and somewhat slowly in an indefinite baritone, with just the recollection of a brogue from his County Kildare birth. Ernest Shackleton died on this day, January 5, 1922, aged just 47. Shackleton gave the order to break camp and launch the boats, and all at once, they were finally free of the ice that had alternately bedeviled and supported them. Hundred years after the original expedition, Shackleton’s endeavor is even more interesting to people who investigate the traits and essence of great leadership. Well, maybe it’s best if we dedicate the first two sections of our summary to answering this question. To make matters even worse, the ice had thickened in the meantime and Endurance had to endure much more pressure from the surrounding pack. All year, the ship had been trapped, the ice pushing and pinching the hull, the wood howling in protest. (By the way, if you have problems following Shackleton’s plan—and the rest of his journey—we sincerely advise you to click here: once again, Wikipedia’s contributors have provided the most intelligible map on the Internet). HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. “Every surge of the sea was an enemy to be watched and circumvented.” Even as they were within touching distance of their goal, the elements hurled their worst at them: “The wind simply shrieked as it tore the tops off the waves,” Shackleton wrote. It will be a greater journey than the journey to the Pole and back, and I feel it is up to the British nation to accomplish this, for we have been beaten at the conquest of the North Pole and beaten at the first conquest of the South Pole. He was one of the principal figures of the period known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. However, he achieved one of the greatest feats of the turn of the century polar exploration; Through it all, Captain Worsley navigated through the spray and the squalls, until after six days at sea, Clarence and Elephant Islands appeared just 30 miles ahead. But Shackleton procured a third ship, the Yelcho, from Chile; and finally, on August 30, 1916, the saga of the Endurance and its crew came to an end. Just eight years later, he died, aged 54. December 5, 1914, would be the last time Shackleton and his crew would touch land for the next 497 days. But, very soon—in the middle of January 1915, to be exact—they happened upon another ice pack, some 200 miles from Vahsel Bay. Afterward, he enrolled at North Park College and later at Northwestern University, where he majored in journalism. But their ordeal was far from over. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Welcome back to our series on the libraries of famous men.. Part of explorer Ernest Shackleton’s genius for leadership, was how keenly he understood the way in which idleness can destroy men’s morale.Thus when his ship, the Endurance, became stuck in pack ice en route to a planned Antarctic expedition, he didn’t let his men simply sit on their hands. After Roald Admunsen had reached the Pole, Ernest Shackleton was still craving an Antarctic quest, and set himself the challenge of being the first man to cross Antarctica, by land, through the South Pole, from the Weddell Sea to … The storms had pushed the James Caird off course, and they had landed on the other side of the island from the whaling station. Alexander, Caroline, The Endurance: Shackleton’s Legendary Antarctic Expedition (Alfred A. Knopf, 1998), Heacox, Kim, Shackleton: The Antarctic Challenge (National Geographic Society, 1999), Huntford,Roland, Shackleton (Hodder & Stoughton, 1985), Lansing, Alfred, Endurance: Shackleton’s Incredible Voyage (Perseus Books, 1986), Shackleton, Ernest, South (Macmillan, 1920), Worsley, F.A., Shackleton’s Boat Journey (Hodder & Stoughton, 1940). After six miserable days, the three lifeboats land on Elephant Island on April 15, the first time that the 28 men touch solid ground after precisely 497 days! “The floe has been a good friend to us,” wrote Shackleton in his diary, “but it is reaching the end of its journey, and is liable at any time now to break up.”. “Once more I see the old faces & hear the old voices—old friends scattered everywhere,” wrote Macklin. . Help was almost at hand; but this, too, was not the end. For several weeks, the ship poked and prodded its way through leads in the ice, gingerly making its way south; but on January 18, a northerly gale pressed the pack hard against the land and pushed the floes tight against each other. The men on the British expedition to Antarctica endured entrapment, hunger, … Some of the younger dogs, too small to pull their weight, were shot, as was, to the chagrin of many, the unfortunate Mrs. Chippy. 1, and Emma), Shackleton embarks on a series of unsuccessful rescue attempts to reach Elephant Island, where the other men of his crew have, in the meantime, all but given up on hope. The plan was to sail his ship, the Endurance, to Argentina, then on to Antarctica, then walk across the continent where another crew would pick them up. It had been 128 days since the James Caird had left; within an hour of the Yelcho appearing, all ashore had broken camp and left Elephant Island behind. Now they had a new foe to contend with: the open ocean. Endurance was beset—in the words of one of the crew, Thomas Orde-Lees, “frozen like an almond in the middle of a chocolate bar.”. Barely nine days after setting up a camp at Elephant Island, Shackleton chooses the five strongest men in his crew— Captain Frank Worsley, second officer Tom Crean, carpenter Chippy McNeish, and seamen Tim McCarthy and John Vincent—and the best boat—the James Caird—and sets off for South Georgia, where a whaling station is located and where he hopes to get some help. Learn more … Each morning on Elephant Island, Frank Wild, whom Shackleton had left in charge, issued the call for everyone to “Lash up and stow” their belongings. It was headed toward Antarctica to cross the continent on foot. Ernest Henry Shackleton was born on 15 February 1874 in County Kildare, Ireland. Frank Wild, Shackleton’s second-in-command, wrote that “at least half the party were insane.” Yet they rowed resolutely toward their goal, and on April 15, they clambered ashore on Elephant Island. In the time that passed between abandoning Endurance and watching the ice swallow it up completely, the crew salvaged as many provisions as they could, while sacrificing anything and everything that added weight or would consume valuable resources— including bibles, books, clothing, tools and keepsakes. He launched one more expedition to the Antarctic, but the Endurance veterans who rejoined him noticed he appeared weaker, more diffident, drained of the spirit that had kept them alive. The ship was made specifically for the purpose of travelling through Arctic conditions and waters, with a thick rounded hull for smashing through ice. Endurance had left South Georgia for Antarctica on December 5, 1914, carrying 27 men (plus one stowaway, who became ship’s steward), 69 dogs, and a tomcat erroneously dubbed Mrs. Chippy. Grab a book and BOOST your learning routine. And it’s not about merely reaching the South Pole, but about something even more daunting and unimaginable: crossing the entire continent from sea to sea, via the pole. In January 1915, the Endurance would find itself trapped in ice, forcing Shackleton and his crew off the ship. Though they had failed dismally even to come close to the expedition’s original objective, they knew now that somehow they had done much, much more than ever they set out to do. The men on the British expedition to Antarctica endured entrapment, hunger, frigid weather, angry seas—and near madness. Shackleton joined the merchant navy at an early age and become obsessed with reaching Antarc-tica after he was forced to return home due to an illness on his way to Antarctica. The initial plan was to march across the ice toward land, but that was abandoned after the men managed just seven and a half miles in seven days. After his death, the name of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton—who died in debts due to many failed business endeavors—was largely forgotten by both his compatriots and the world, contrary to that of his one-time captain and longtime rival afterward, Robert Falcon Scott. Endurance was the three-masted barquentine in which Sir Ernest Shackleton and a crew of 27 men and one cat sailed for the Antarctic on the 1914–1917 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images. And while some were crippled by seasickness, others were wracked with dysentery. That happened in December 1911, when a highly prepared Norwegian expedition led by Roald Amundsen decisively beat the (ironically) better-remembered one led by a British Royal Navy Officer named Robert Falcon Scott. Few men unaccustomed to it can fight off its effects all together, and it has driven some men mad.”. Though remote and uninhabited, Elephant Island is much more reliable than a lifeboat or an ice floe, so the crew is happy and relieved. There was no conceivable circumstance under which three strangers could possibly appear from nowhere at the whaling station, and certainly not from the direction of the mountains. “The boat tossed interminably on the big waves under grey, threatening skies,” recorded Shackleton. and accommodate ourselves to a state of barbarism is wonderful. The Ross Sea party was to set down a series of food caches from their base almost to the Pole. Nine days later, the ship (both prophetically and ironically—for reasons you’ll discover soon—named Endurance) reached the first stop of the journey: the Grytviken whaling station on South Georgia. Twenty-five days later, what remained of the wreck convulsed once more, and the Endurance disappeared beneath the ice forever. Born on February 15, 1874, in Ireland, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton is now widely considered one of the principal figures of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. With Walter Modell, Lansing co-authored one of the last books from the Life Science Library, Drugs (1967). In 1914, Ernest Shackleton led an expedition in an attempt to become the first to cross Antarctica on foot. On September 3, 1916, the Yelcho reaches Punta Arenas, with all 28 members of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard. For 16 days, they battled monstrous swells and angry winds, baling water out of the boat and beating ice off the sails. In 1914, his ship, , Endurance With Laurence Fishburne. To make matters worse, soon the Antarctic summer (which coincides with our winter) ended and the endless polar nights began. No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail. Ernest Shackleton, like all of us, is as flawed as he is brilliant, or as flawed as he is effective. But finally, on May 10, the James Caird reaches the south coast of South Georgia! Worsley had by that stage not slept for 80 hours. For a reason: during the Heroic Age, no less than 17 major Antarctic expeditions were launched from 10 different countries of the world. It threw freezing spray in their faces and tossed frigid water over them, and it batted the boats from side to side and brought brave men to the fetal position as they battled the elements and seasickness. South With Endurance The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914 – 1917. But, restless and resolute as he was, just a few years later, he turned to the “one great object of Antarctic journeyings” remaining: transatlantic journey, i.e., crossing Antarctica from the Wendell Sea via the South Pole to McMurdo Sound. But also, at this point, Shackleton’s crew’s only hope. And old Norwegian whaler recoded the scene when the three men stood before the station manager Thoralf Sørlle: “Manager say: ‘Who the hell are you?’ And the terrible bearded man in the center of the three say very quietly: ‘My name is Shackleton.’ Me – I turn away and weep.”. Unfortunately, just two days later it encountered the first ice pack on their journey. Like this summary? Twice a week we compile our most fascinating features and deliver them straight to you. Two days after leaving South Georgia, Endurance entered the pack ice—the barrier of thick sea ice that stands guard around the Antarctic continent. It was almost as if he had nothing to accomplish anymore. Yet, after all that had gone before, this final task in many ways proved to be the most trying and time-consuming of all. He edited a weekly newspaper between 1946 and 1949, before joining the United Press and becoming a freelance writer in 1952. Suddenly, there was no way forward, nor any way back. With his death, Wild took the ship to Antarctica; but it proved unequal to the task, and after a month spent futilely attempting to penetrate the pack, he set a course for Elephant Island. The government of Uruguay proffered a vessel that came within 100 miles of Elephant Island before being beaten back by the ice. Ernest Shackleton and the crew of the "Endurance" set sail for Antarctica in 1914. His face was handsome, though it often wore a brooding expression—as if his thoughts were somewhere else—which gave him at times a kind of darkling look. His companions grew increasingly dispirited and doubtful. “The Boss may come today!” he declared daily. “It’s time to get off.”. Ernest Shackleton's failed quest to reach the South Pole is still a management tutorial in how to face repeated crises. Tom Crean, with a litter of sledge dog puppies on the Endurance. While this was being done, the Weddell Sea group would be sledding toward the Pole, living on their own rations. But after Shackleton’s ship, HMS Endurance, was trapped by pack ice—and slowly succumbed to its crushing pressure—the expedition's fate, and that of its crew, looked bleak. Shackleton’s plan—which owed a lot to an abandoned one penned by Scottish explorer, William Speirs Bruce—looked something like this: Shackleton’s plan was to take a ship [named Endurance] into the Weddell Sea and land a sledding party of six men and seventy dogs near Vahsel Bay, approximately 78° South, 36° West. After his death, the name of Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton—who died in debts due to many failed business endeavors—was largely forgotten by both his compatriots and the world, contrary to that of his one-time captain and longtime rival afterward, Robert Falcon Scott. And yet here they were: their hair and beards stringy and matted, their faces blackened with soot from blubber stoves and creased from nearly two years of stress and privation. He was just 47. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. In a way, Shackleton used this to his benefit while soliciting funds for his Trans-Antarctic expedition, playing “heavily on this matter of prestige, making it his primary argument for such an expedition. When British explorer Ernest Shackleton and the crew of HMS Endurance lost their ship to crushing pack ice in the Weddell Sea in 1915, their chances of survival seemed dim. While there, they would make a few attempts to sled over the ice, but all of them would prove to be unsuccessful. Shackleton Endurance Expedition - Timeline In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton, an established Polar explorer of the heroic age, set out on another Antarctic expedition - this time to cross the Antarctic continent. On October 27, 1915, it finally succumbed: the ice started crushing the boat. We’… After lengthy preparation, everyone is excited for the adventure. The Stunning Survival Story of Ernest Shackleton and His Endurance Crew. Sir Ernest Shackleton was an explorer who in 1901 joined an expedition to the Antarctic. “From the sentimental point of view,” he wrote once, “it is the last great Polar journey that can be made. The next day, the wind eased off and they made it ashore. So, merely a few days after reaching South Georgia, the exhausted Shackleton, Crean and Worsley—facing the fact that the James Caird is now too unseaworthy to use it to go round the island—set out on yet another dangerous and never-before-done journey to reach the Stromness whaling station by crossing South Georgia on foot! He failed. It was the first time they had been on dry land since leaving South Georgia 497 days previously. Shackleton's battle against the odds and his unfailing commitment to bring all his men out alive turned him into a legend. About a day later, the three men are stirred to hear the sound of a factory whistle: A peculiar thing to stir a man—the sound of a factory whistle heard on a mountainside. Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance . However, Alfred Lansing’s Heroic Age classic, Endurance, is not about Robert Falcon Scott—a celebrated hero of his day and age, but also someone whose leadership qualities and competence of character have been questioned in recent times—but about one of his officers during previous journeys, Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton. “Down into valleys, up to tossing heights, straining until her seams opened, swung our little boat.”. The 28 men spent months drifting on ice floes and traversing the Southern Ocean in … 1-Page Summary of Endurance In 1914, Ernest Shackleton led an expedition in an attempt to become the first to cross Antarctica on foot. Expedition set sail for Antarctica in 1914 Ernest Shackleton was a British explorer most famous for resemblance! On this day, January 5, 1914, a ship called Endurance set sail Antarctica. Falcon Scott ’ s classic Endurance is its best and most spellbinding.. 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