From Pole to Pole: Exploring the Untamed Beauty of the Arctic - 02

by Laine Ye on Jun 14, 2024

From Pole to Pole: Exploring the Untamed Beauty of the Arctic - 02

The polar expedition journey is full of challenges. Extreme weather conditions, difficult terrain, and the obstacles of floating ice make it incredibly tough. At the same time, adventurers have to face dangers such as severe cold, storms, ice avalanches, and crevasses.

Peary's first expedition to the Arctic took place in 1896. The expedition team departed from Vancouver Island, Canada, and sailed across the Atlantic Ocean to reach Greenland. Greenland served as their starting point for the overland journey. From Greenland, Peary's team traveled northward along the ice floes of the Arctic Ocean. They used sleds and dog sleds to traverse the snow-covered terrain. In the Arctic region, landmarks and geographic reference points are scarce amidst the ice and snow. Peary relied on astronomical observations, rangefinders, and compasses to determine their direction and calculate their position as accurately as possible.

Starting in 1898, Peary made multiple attempts to reach the North Pole. In one expedition, when his assistant removed ice chips from his rabbit fur socks and attempted to massage his frostbitten toes, they fell off one by one—Peary lost seven toes. However, he wasn't discouraged; instead, it strengthened his initial determination.

During the Arctic expeditions, Peary and his team encountered a series of health issues. These included snow blindness, a condition caused by intense sunlight reflecting off the snow, damaging the eyes. The team members also suffered from severe frostbite, colds, and other illnesses, leading to a deterioration in their physical condition.

In 1906, prior to the official expedition to the North Pole, Peary conducted a preliminary expedition to test equipment and strategies. However, this expedition encountered severe difficulties, with team members enduring extreme cold, storms, and hunger. One team member died during the expedition due to cold and weakness, which dealt a significant blow to Peary and his team.

In late February 1909, Peary embarked on his fourth attempt to reach the North Pole. He sent out advance teams to pave the way, establishing intermediate supply depots at regular intervals, stocking them with ample food before retreating and gradually pushing northward. Peary and his companions overcame difficulties such as severe cold, fierce winds, and crevasses. On April 4th, after walking for 35 days in temperatures of -39°C, they crossed the 89th parallel. They were just a final push away from reaching the North Pole, but a shortage of food left them unable to continue.

Drawing from experiences of previous journeys, Peary strategically set up a supply line through the snow-covered region, storing food at suitable intervals.

Finally, on April 6th, 1909, at 10 a.m., they reached their ultimate goal—the North Pole lay beneath their feet. Peary had finally achieved his childhood dream, spending ten years preparing for it and realizing a goal that had eluded people's pursuit for the past 300 years. From that moment, humanity gradually embarked on the exploration of the Arctic.

Please note that while I have endeavored to provide an accurate translation, some nuances and expressions may be adapted to convey the meaning effectively in English.