Scott arrives at the pole 100 years today

Tuesday, 17 January 2012 10:35
Scotts party at the South Pole 1912 Scotts party at the South Pole 1912 wiki commons

Robert Scott Photo - South Pole Centennary January 17 2012Robert Falcon Scott, CVO (6 June 1868 – c. 29 March 1912) was a Royal Navy officer and explorer who led two expeditions to the Antarctic regions: the Discovery Expedition, 1901–04, and the ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition, 1910–13. During this second venture, Scott led a party of five which reached the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that they had been preceded by Roald Amundsen's Norwegian expedition. On their return journey, Scott and his four comrades all perished from a combination of exhaustion, starvation and extreme cold.

The march south began on 1 November 1911, a caravan of mixed transport groups (motors, dogs, horses), with loaded sledges, travelling at different rates, all designed to support a final group of four men who would make a dash for the Pole. Scott had earlier outlined his plans for the southern journey to the entire shore party without being specific about precise roles – no one knew who would form the final polar team. During the journey, Scott sent a series of conflicting orders back to base concerning the future use of the expedition's dogs, leaving it unclear whether they were to be saved for future scientific journeys or were to assist the polar party home. Scott's subordinates back at base were unsure of Scott's intentions, and consequently failed to use the dogs in a concerted attempt to relieve the returning polar party when the need arose.

scotts_party_at_the_south_poleThe southbound party steadily reduced in size as successive support teams turned back. By 4 January 1912, the last two four-man groups had reached 87° 34′ S. Scott announced his decision: five men (Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans) would go forward, the other three (Teddy Evans, William Lashly and Tom Crean) would return. The chosen group marched on, reaching the Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that Amundsen had preceded them by five weeks. Scott's anguish is indicated in his diary: "The worst has happened"; "All the day dreams must go"; "Great God! This is an awful place".

More below...