RACE to the South Pole

Ross MacPhee smiling in Antartica

Hi, I'm Ross MacPhee.  As a paleontologist, I search for fossils in Antarctica. I've always been inspired by the heroic tales of early explorers to this icy continent.

One of my favorite stories happened about 100 years ago, when two teams of men raced across Antarctica to become the first to reach the South Pole. 

The British Team was led by  Captain Robert Falcon Scott  and some of his crew:  Henry "Birdie" Bowers  and  Apsley Cherry-Garard.  Team Norway was lead by  Captain Roald Amundsen  and some of his crew:  Olav Bjaaland  and  Oscar Wisting.

black and white portrait of Captain Scott with British Flag
black and white portrait of Captain Amundsen with Norwegian flag

Who will be the first to reach the South Pole?

click to find out!
Image Credits:

Introductory Page: Ross MacPhee, courtesy of Ross MacPhee; Robert Falcon Scott, © Scott Polar Research Institute; Roald Amundsen, © AGE Fotostock; flags, © AMNH. THE RACE BEGINS: The Last Great Prize: maps and flags, © AMNH. The British Team: Robert Falcon Scott, Terra Nova, the crew, ponies, © Scott Polar Research Institute; telegram, © Shutterstock. The Norwegian Team: Roald Amundsen, © AGE Fotostock; Fram, courtesy of NOAA; crew, © The Fram Museum / JFO; dogs on Fram, © The Fram Museum / JFO. Land: Terra Nova, © Scott Polar Research Institute; Antarctica scenery and animals, © United States Antarctic Program. WINTER HOME: Setting Up Camp: Antarctica map, © AMNH; Scott's base camp, courtesy of the Library of Congress; Amundsen's base camp, courtesy of Project Gutenberg; penguins and midnight Sun, @copy; Scott Polar Research Institute. British Base Camp: Scott's camp and Scott in study, courtesy of the Library of Congress; bunks, kitchen, and piano, © Scott Polar Research Institute. Norwegian Base Camp: Franheim, entrance to hut, dog tents, foundations, and tents, courtesy of Project Gutenberg; Amundsen, © AMNH. Preparing for the Pole: Olav Bjaaland planing sleds, © The Fram Museum / JFO; British team sewing sleeping bags, preparing pemmican, and setting up depots, © Scott Polar Research Institute. The Menu: pancakes, © The Fram Museum / JFO; kitchen and dinner, © Scott Polar Research Institute. Antarctic Discoveries: Scott, courtesy of the Library of Congress; weather balloon, courtesy of NOAA; Dr. Atkinson, Dr. Debenham, Evans with telescope, © Scott Polar Research Institute. Quest for Penguin Eggs: penguins drawing and safe return, © Scott Polar Research Institute; emperor penguin, © US Antarctic Program; temperature reading, courtesy of NOAA; aurora australis, © NSF. TO THE POLE! Cold-Weather Gear: wool, by Vince Veras on Unsplash; fur, by Arseny Togulev on Unsplash; Amundsen, © AMNH; Scott, courtesy of the Library of Congress. Men vs. Dogs: dog sleds, The Fram Museum / JFO; ponies, motorized sleds, and man-hauling, @ Scott Polar Research Institute. Who Won? Norwegians at the Pole, planting the flag, letter to king, Fram, © The Fram Museum / JFO. Beaten to the Pole: Scott's team looking at flag, courtesy of the Library of Congress; Scott's team, courtesy of the Library of Congress. Long Journey Home: blizzard, man-hauling, and grave, © Scott Polar Research Institute; Scott's journal, courtesy of the British Museum; empty tent, © AMNH. LEGACY: Continent of Science: Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, © Dwight Bohnet / NSF; vessel, helicopter, McMurdo Station, and tent, © US Antarctic Program. A Natural Laboratory: fossils, night sky, ice core, balloon, and petrel, © US Antarctic Program. Antarctic Animals: seal, orca, penguins, and jellyfish, © US Antarctic Program; krill, © AGE FotoStock.