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. While there, they would make a few attempts to sled over the ice, but all of them would prove to be unsuccessful. On October 27, 1915, it finally succumbed: the ice started crushing the boat. And while some were crippled by seasickness, others were wracked with dysentery. 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. This one they couldn’t get through: they got stuck immobile inside and had no choice but to leave Endurance drift away with the pack ice for the next several months. To make matters even worse, the ice had thickened in the meantime and Endurance had to endure much more pressure from the surrounding pack. 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). Of all their enemies—the cold, the ice, the sea—he feared none more than demoralization. Grab a book and BOOST your learning routine. On his third Antarctic expedition, Sir Ernest Shackleton led the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition for Britain, which departed England in 1914. The likelihood of anybody coming across them was vanishingly small, and so after nine days of recuperation and preparation, Shackleton, Worsley and four others set out in one of the lifeboats, the James Caird, to seek help from a whaling station on South Georgia, more than 800 miles away. No matter what the odds, a man does not pin his last hope for survival on something and then expect that it will fail. 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) Soon after, to the dismay of the crew, the ice floe begins to break, and Shackleton has to plan a trip to some kind of a nearby land—using nothing more than three lifeboats. Somehow, they managed to sail through it after about two weeks. First discovered by a Russian expedition in 1820, the continent of Antarctica became an object of fascination for numerous explorers around the world during the last years of the 19th century and the first two decades of the 20th century. However, in the decades that followed, things changed, and nowadays it is Scott whose heroism and leadership qualities are often questioned, while Shackleton’s name has become almost synonymous with the word “leadership.”. Afterward, he enrolled at North Park College and later at Northwestern University, where he majored in journalism. On August 1, 1914, aboard the Endurance, Shackleton would set sail for Antarctica for the third time. 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. Well, maybe it’s best if we dedicate the first two sections of our summary to answering this question. 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. By late October 1915, still frozen immobile in the enormous ice pack, Endurance drifted over 500 nautical miles to the north-east. The Patience Camp would be the crew’s home for the first third of 1916. The ship was made specifically for the purpose of travelling through Arctic conditions and waters, with a thick rounded hull for smashing through ice. He had small hands, but his grip was strong and confident. 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. In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton leads twenty-seven men on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. 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. And then he adds something even more central about his character, something almost superhuman in an Ahab-or-Santiago-kind-of-way: “Whatever his mood—whether it was gay and breezy, or dark with rage—he had one pervading characteristic: he was purposeful.”. He was perhaps best known for his 1914–16 expedition, in which his ship, Endurance, was crushed by pack ice and the crew endured months of hardship before being rescued. In 1914, his ship, , Endurance He was just 47. Frank Hurley/Royal Geographical Society/Getty Images. His companions grew increasingly dispirited and doubtful. Do you want to hear all about the last major expedition of the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration? He spoke softly and somewhat slowly in an indefinite baritone, with just the recollection of a brogue from his County Kildare birth. He had a wide, sensuous but expressive mouth that could curl into a laugh or tighten into a thin fixed line with equal facility. They're manifested to cross the continent of Antarctica. FACT CHECK: We strive for accuracy and fairness. While this was being done, the Weddell Sea group would be sledding toward the Pole, living on their own rations. Learn more and more, in the speed that the world demands. Two days after leaving South Georgia, Endurance entered the pack ice—the barrier of thick sea ice that stands guard around the Antarctic continent. His story is one of the human spirit in all its wonder and all its frailty. “Once more I see the old faces & hear the old voices—old friends scattered everywhere,” wrote Macklin. But finally, on May 10, the James Caird reaches the south coast of South Georgia! The County Kildare man died having become one of Ireland's best-known explorers of the Polar Regions. Unfortunately, they reach land there on the far side of the island. Freezing water began to rush in. Sounds simple. All Rights Reserved. Twenty-five days later, what remained of the wreck convulsed once more, and the Endurance disappeared beneath the ice forever. “Down into valleys, up to tossing heights, straining until her seams opened, swung our little boat.”. “It’s time to get off.”. HISTORY reviews and updates its content regularly to ensure it is complete and accurate. 59° 46' S., long. (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). His gray-blue eyes, like his mouth, could come alight with fun or darken into a steely and frightening gaze. The extremely dangerous journey lasts for two weeks. 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. 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. “She’s going, boys,” came the cry. Their record for exploration “had been perhaps unparalleled among the nations of the earth,” and now they had to take “a humiliating second-best” to a much less-renowned country. Suddenly, there was no way forward, nor any way back. See why. WATCH: Full episodes of History's Greatest Mysteries online now and tune in for all-new episodes Saturdays at 9/8c. “Some of the party have quite given up hope of her coming.” Orde-Lees was clearly one of them. On April 9, it did just that, splitting beneath them with an almighty crack. Tom Crean, with a litter of sledge dog puppies on the Endurance. But if you see something that doesn't look right, click here to contact us! Ernest Henry Shackleton was born on 15 February 1874 in County Kildare, Ireland. Against the advice of experienced whalers whom he meets in South Georgia en route to his destination, Shackleton proceeds with his plan to cross the Weddell Sea. "Leadership in Crisis: Ernest Shackleton and the Epic Voyage of the Endurance." Worsley had by that stage not slept for 80 hours. If you are interested in the history of exploration – and especially the exploration of the Antarctic region during the first quarter of the 20th century – then Endurance is one of the classic books on the subject. To history buffs and readers of exploration literature, this period is mostly known as the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration. 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. But, as Lansing says, “if it hadn’t been audacious, it wouldn’t have been to Shackleton’s liking. Then look no further: Alfred Lansing’s classic Endurance is its best and most spellbinding account. He edited a weekly newspaper between 1946 and 1949, before joining the United Press and becoming a freelance writer in 1952. How Shackleton and his men then made their escape on foot and in lifeboats is the stuff of legend. The Endurance steamed through loose open ice till 8 a.m. on the 11th, when we entered the pack in lat. 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. Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874-1922) was a British explorer most famous for his Endurance expedition to Antarctica (Larson, 2011). 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. Ernest Shackleton's failed quest to reach the South Pole is still a management tutorial in how to face repeated crises. Relaying the James Caird across the ice, Antarctica, November 1915. In 1914, a ship called Endurance set sail from Argentina. But, very soon—in the middle of January 1915, to be exact—they happened upon another ice pack, some 200 miles from Vahsel Bay. 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. 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. We had reached the naked soul of man. 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. All year, the ship had been trapped, the ice pushing and pinching the hull, the wood howling in protest. For a reason: during the Heroic Age, no less than 17 major Antarctic expeditions were launched from 10 different countries of the world. Now they had a new foe to contend with: the open ocean. With Laurence Fishburne. The government of Uruguay proffered a vessel that came within 100 miles of Elephant Island before being beaten back by the ice. In 1914 Sir Ernest Shackleton embarks with his crew aboard the Endurance. South: The Endurance Expedition, by Ernest Shackleton. 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. Shackleton—for reasons explained above—barely even took this into consideration. 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. But for them, it was the first sound from the outside world that they had heard since December 1914—seventeen unbelievable months before. To make matters worse, soon the Antarctic summer (which coincides with our winter) ended and the endless polar nights began. It is only due to Shackleton’s ability to motivate his people that the crew hasn’t given up altogether at this point. Ernest Shackleton and the Endurance . All of her crew survived. Things took a turn for the worst when the news of Robert Falcon Scott’s tragic death reached England. She was launched in 1912 from Sandefjord in Norway; three years later, she was crushed by pack ice and sank in the Weddell Sea off Antarctica. In 1914, Ernest Shackleton led an expedition in an attempt to become the first to cross Antarctica on foot. A month later, on December 5, 1914, Endurance left South Georgia. He worked as a journalist for some time in Britain and was elected secretary of the Scottish Royal … On September 3, 1916, the Yelcho reaches Punta Arenas, with all 28 members of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition aboard. 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. 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 was sent home early due to bad health. Ernest Shackleton died on this day, January 5, 1922, aged just 47. In 1914, Sir Ernest Shackleton led an expedition to Antarctica but soon after arrival, Shackleton's ship--The Endurance--was destroyed by shifting glaciers, and he was tasked with leading his 27 men across the tundra, on an epic struggle for survival. 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 Shackleton was an explorer who in 1901 joined an expedition to the Antarctic. The Stunning Survival Story of Ernest Shackleton and His Endurance Crew. In December, 1914, the expedition, aboard the purpose-built polar exploration ship Endurance, enters the pack ice of the Weddell Sea off the coast of Antarctica some 1,100 nautical miles east of the Palmer Peninsula. We had seen God in His splendors, heard the text that Nature renders. The whole nation was saddened. Lupoid, one of Shackleton's sledge dogs, named for his resemblance to a wolf. There’s a reason why people remember Alfred Lansing for this book, and why they remember Shackleton’s failed expedition primarily through it: Endurance is an exceptionally researched and beautifully written book on a topic. Like this summary? Lansing describes Shackleton’s appearance in a vivid manner: He was now forty years old, of medium height and thick of neck, with broad, heavy shoulders a trifle stooped, and dark brown hair parted in the center. It was almost as if he had nothing to accomplish anymore. “From the sentimental point of view,” he wrote once, “it is the last great Polar journey that can be made. Only those who have experienced it can fully appreciate what it means to be without the sun day after day and week after week. 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