Monday, March 2, 2020

Roald Amundsen

We just learned about Adriene de Gerlache, the first person to explore Antarctica.

Another famous explorer of Antarctica was Roald Amundsen, from Norway.

Amundsen was one of the people who went with Gerlache on the first trip to Antarctica, so he had some idea what to expect down there.
He worked with a famous explorer named Nansen to get a special boat called Fram which was made special so that it would not get stuck in the ice.

Amundsen at first was planning to go to the North pole, but right at the same time the news came in that someone else had just made it to the North pole so he changed his plans.

He started his trip to the South pole starting in the year 1910 AD.
Unlike some other explorers, Amundsen knew that sled dogs were great for traveling in the cold, so he got 100 sled dogs from Greenland.
He knew how cold it got in Antarctica, so he had boots and clothes specially made from seal, reindeer and wolf skins as they were natural protection against the cold.
They made special long skis and long sleds to be used on the glaciers, and big strong tents that could hold up to the wind and cold.

Amundsen knew that people could get sick if they did not eat right, so he made sure they planned to eat lots of seal meat and fruits.
He knew they could go crazy from the cold and darkness, so he brought some wine, some music instruments and records, and thousands of books to give people something to do.

When he landed in the south part of Antarctica by the Ross Ice shelf, they set up a special camp called "Framheim" which meant the home for Fram, their boat.
They built a big shed there to be safe from the cold, and then started making trips out toward the south pole.
Taking the sled dogs, they would travel for about 15 miles and then put up a tent with some supplies called a depot, and then go back.
Every time they would go along, stop at a depot for supplies and then go a little further.
Eventually it was getting too close to winter and they had to stop and wait for months for it to stop.

At the same time that Amundsen was there, some other explorers from Britain were there too, so it was a big race to get there.
The British were using motorized sleds instead of dogs.

In 1911 after being at the pole for eight months, they set out on their trip to the South pole with five people, four sleds and 52 dogs.
They had a very tough time, and lost 40 of their dogs, but finally made it to the South pole and put up their tent.
The name they gave to their tent was Polheim, meaning "Home at the Pole", and they left supplies for any other travelers that might make it there.

They went back to their ship and went home to Norway where they were made heroes and given the Norwegian South Pole medal Sydpolsmedaljen.

(from: wikipedia - amundsen's south pole expedition)

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