The Team

Part of the Race to the End of the Earth exhibition.


Lean Norwegian Team Built for Speed, Efficiency

Unlike Scott, who had a large shore party from which to choose his team, Amundsen disembarked with only nine men. Some had Arctic experience, but others were complete novices. His original plan was to take all the members of his shore party, except the cook, to the Pole.

Egos Collide, the Team Shrinks

During the abortive September journey, when low temperatures and terrible conditions forced a return to the team's base camp, Framheim, team member Kristian Prestrud nearly froze to death while Amundsen sped ahead. Experienced polar trekker Hjalmar Johansen accused Amundsen of panicking and putting his own safety before that of his men. Amundsen dismissed Johansen from the trek for criticizing his leadership and ordered him to accompany the recovering Prestrud and the carpenter Jørgen Stubberud on a subsidiary mission to explore King Edward VII Land.

In the end, he took only four men to the pole:

Olav O. Bjaaland (1873-1961): A famed skiing champion from Norway's Telemark region, Bjaaland meticulously prepared skis and sleds, shaving them down to reduce weight.

Helmer J. Hanssen (1870-1956): Hanssen was in charge of navigation. He later joined Amundsen's Maud expedition to the Northeast Passage as captain.

Sverre H. Hassel (1876-1928): Expert dog driver, Hassel had gained polar experience on the Second Fram Expedition (1898-1901) to the Arctic Archipelago under Otto Sverdrup.

Oscar Wisting (1871-1936): As one of Amundsen's longest-serving compatriots, Wisting went with him to both poles. A tough, practical Norwegian Navy veteran with many skills, he set to work making tents and other gear for the southern expedition. On a 1936 sentimental visit to the Fram, then undergoing restoration in Norway, he passed away while sleeping on his old bunk.

Left behind were:

F. Hjalmar Johansen (1867-1913): An experienced polar trekker who had traveled with the great explorer Nansen aboard the First Fram Expedition in 1893-1895, Johansen accompanied Nansen on his ski trip to Franz Josef Land after leaving the Fram.

Adolph H. Lindstrom (1866-1939): He accompanied Otto Sverdrup on the second Fram Expedition to the Arctic Archipelago before joining Amundsen's expedition to Antarctica. Lindstrom maintained Framheim while the polar and eastern parties went exploring.

Kristian Prestrud (1881-1927): A lieutenant in the Norwegian navy who joined the shore party at the Bay of Whales, Prestrud nearly froze to death during Amundsen's first try for the South Pole in September 1911 but was saved by Hjalmar Johansen. He later participated in the eastern party.

Jørgen Stubberud (1883-1980): An Oslo carpenter who constructed the "observation hut" that became Framheim, Stubberud asked Amundsen if he could join his polar expedition. He participated in the eastern party sent to explore King Edward VII Land.