December 14th, 1911

December 14th, 1911

On December 14th, 1911 Roald Amundsen with  Olav Bjaaland, Helmer Hanssen, Sverre Hassel and Oscar Wisting becomes the first to reach South Pole.

The expedition arrived at the eastern edge of Ross Ice Shelf at a large inlet called the Bay of Whales on January 14, 1911 where Amundsen located his base camp and named it Framheim.

Using a route along the previously unknown   Axel Heinerg Glacier they arrived at the edge of the Polar Plateau on November 21 after a four-day climb. On December 14, 1911, the team of six, with 16 dogs, arrived at the Pole (90°00’S). They arrived 35 days before Scott’s group. Amundsen named their South Pole camp Polheim (Home on the Pole). Amundsen renamed the Antactic Plateau as King Haakon VII’s Plateau. They left a small tent and letter stating their accomplishment, in case they did not return safely to Framheim. The team returned to Framheim on January 25, 1912, with 11 dogs. Amundsen’s success was publicly announced on March 7, 1912, when he arrived at Hobart, Australia.

Amundsen’s expedition benefited from careful preparation, good equipment, appropriate clothing, a simple primary task (Amundsen did no surveying on his route south and is known to have taken only two photographs), an understanding of dogs and their handling, and the effective use of skis. In contrast to the misfortunes of Scott’s team, the Amundsen’s trek proved rather smooth and uneventful.

In Amundsen’s own words:

“I may say that this is the greatest factor — the way in which the expedition is equipped — the way in which every difficulty is foreseen, and precautions taken for meeting or avoiding it. Victory awaits him who has everything in order — luck, people call it. Defeat is certain for him who has neglected to take the necessary precautions in time; this is called bad luck.”

–from The South Pole, by Roald Amundsen.

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