Shackleton’s Epic Expedition in 1914

Picutres of Sheckleton’s Epic Expidition

After Captain Scott’s unsuccessful attempt to reach the South Pole in 1912, Sir Ernest Shackleton (1874 – 1922) decided he would tackle the challenge of Antarctica in a different way. He would attempt to journey across the icy continent via the South Pole on his ship.

For Shackleton and the men of the aptly-named Endurance, it was a particularly cold winter with the pack ice of the Weddell Sea extending further north than anyone could remember. The Endurance began following leads to navigate through this ice en-route to its intended land fall but just a day’s sail from the Antarctic continent, temperatures plummeted further and the ship became trapped; frozen fast and immobile for ten long months.

The men were eventually forced to abandon as the pressure of the ice increased and started to crush the ship. They then spent five months camping on driving ice floes until finally open water appeared and they were able to sail their three lifeboats through stormy seas to a rocky, uninhabited outcrop named Elephant Island. Shackleton knew that his men could not survive on this desolate spot so with two others attempted an incredible 800-mile journey which lasted seventeen days in freezing hurricane conditions to the nearest civilisation – South Georgia island. This feat is now considered one of the greatest boat journeys in history. Once on land, a determined Shackleton and his men trekked across the mountains of South Georgia finally reaching the island’s remote whaling station where they were able to organise a rescue team. The team returned to Elephant Island saving all of the men who were left behind.

Picutres of Sheckleton’s Epic Expedition