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Roald Amundsen

OLogy Series
ologist
card
323

Roald Amundsen

OLogy Series
ologist

As a child in Norway, Roald Amundsen dreamed of being a polar explorer. At 26, he was one of the first people to spend the long, dark winter in Antarctica. By his 30s, he was the first person to sail a ship through the Northwest Passage in the Arctic. In 1910, he wanted to reach the North Pole first. But when the Americans did it, he turned to the South Pole--launching a race with the British team. In December 1911, he claimed the prize.

Amundsen's team arrived in Antarctica in January 1911. Why did they wait until October to begin the trek to the South Pole?

they wanted to travel in the winter

they wanted to travel in the summer

they wanted to give the British team a head start

Are you right?

Correct!

The trek was possible only in the brief Antarctic summer, which begins in October. The Sun never sets and the temperatures became warm enough to survive. Even then, it would be a race against time to make the long round trip before winter sets in.

For the trek to the South Pole, the Norwegian team carried food, clothes, and shelter on four large sleds. To pull the sleds, they relied on:

dogs

men

ponies

Are you right?

Correct!

Amundsen knew from his experience with the Inuit people in the Arctic that dogs could handle the journey. His team included 52 dogs for the task. The men rode or skied alongside the sleds.

Roald Amundsen

Five weatherbeaten, frostbitten fists... raised the waving flag in the air, and planted it as the first at the geographical South Pole.

Roald Amundsen

Antarctica...
A vast, endless plain, that no eye had yet seen and no foot yet trodden...

On their 1,340-km (830-mi) trek to the South Pole, the Norwegian team took a well-known route.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fiction

Amundsen relied on his polar experience to try an unexplored route across a large glacier. The British, on the other hand, followed a route mapped by the explorer Ernest Shackleton.

In 1928, Amundsen died during a rescue mission in the Arctic.

Fact
or
Fiction
?

Fact

At the age of 55, Amundsen joined a rescue mission for a missing Arctic explorer. On that journey, Amundsen's plane disappeared into the Arctic. His body has never been found.

Lived: 1872-1928
Hometown: Christiania (now Oslo), Norway
Known for: Led the Norwegian team that became the first to reach the South Pole.
Polar Adventures: Amundsen and Fram teammate Oscar Wisting were the first two people to visit both the North and South Poles.
Cool Fact: As a boy, Amundsen used to sleep with his window open, even during winter! He did it to harden himself to freezing temperatures.

Image credits: AGE Fotostock; Roald Amundsen: © AGE Fotostock; Roald Amundsen: © AGE Fotostock.