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Into the Ice The Story of Arctic Exploration By Lynn Curlee Genre : Narrative Nonfiction ( Recounts a series of events ). Fridtjof Nansen – Great pioneer in search of the North Pole Wrote about the Aurora Borealis Also called “northern lights” – strange atmospheric effect in the sky.

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Into the Ice

The Story of Arctic Exploration

By Lynn Curlee

Genre: Narrative Nonfiction

(Recounts a series of events)


  • Fridtjof Nansen –

  • Great pioneer in search of the North Pole

  • Wrote about the Aurora Borealis

    • Also called “northern lights” – strange atmospheric effect in the sky

  • Organized his 1st expedition in 1888 across Greenland

  • He & 5 companions were dropped of by ship &

  • Had no choice but to ski west to civilization.

  • Only had provisions for the one way journey

  • NO TURNING BACK NOWto his starting point!!!

  • Nansen carefully planned every detail

  • Designed his own equipment

  • Knew how to improvise off the land

  • Used Inuit methods like the use of dog

  • Sledges, kayaks & snow houses

  • Very scientific, planned well, adaptable & daring !!!


  • Nansen had an interesting idea……

  • Sail a ship directly into the ice off Siberia,

    • Then… let it be frozen into the ice & let it drift with the ice across the top of

    • the world.

    • The ship would penetrate the heart of the Arctic

  • Nansen’s small ship was named the Fram

  • Specially designed with a special hull

  • Fully equipped with scientific equipment & supplies for 5 years

  • Had workshops, a smithy (held coal), & a windmill that helped produce electricity!

  • Ship so comfortable – they eventually got restless & bored

  • Nansen decided to go further out into the ice – when only 360 miles from the North Pole!!


  • In March, 1895 Nansen & his companion, Hjalmar Johansen, set out on another adventure.

  • For -3- weeks, they struggled north over immense ridges of broken ice.

  • Drifting ice quickly carried them south faster than they could go north

  • Provisions were running low ----- so they reluctantly headed for land

  • Over weeks, sun rose higher & the ice became slushy

    • Made traveling over ice treacherous

    • Took over 4 months to reach land!

    • They survived by hunting seals & training weaker dogs to become strong


  • In the spring, the ice broke up. Nansen & Johansen set out in their kayaks.

  • 1 year & 4 months after leaving the Fram, they were picked up by an English expedition.

  • *The crew broke free of the ice in the ocean east of Greenland – more than 1000 miles from their starting point!

  • This expedition was considered a “triumphant” success because they had gone farther north than anyone had before.


  • Race to the North in their kayaks.Pole

  • During this time explorers thought that reaching the Pole would mean that most of the planet had been mastered/discovered.

  • Salomon Andree Swedish engineer who built a large hydrogen filled balloon with a passenger gondola to hold -3- men, supplies and a small boat!

  • (Balloons were still the only means of flight during this time (1890s)

  • * Serious limitations

    • Can’t be steered and sensitive to temperature changes

Andree tried to solve the steering problem but ignored the temperature problem.

The result was disastrous!


They were inexperienced, unprepared & unable to survive the winter.

-33- years later their frozen remains were found along with Andree’s journal and undeveloped pictures in their camera……..EERIE…………..


Physically in their kayaks. the North Pole is nothing more than a theoretical point on Earth’s surface.

BUT……

Reachingit was a landmark human achievement!

  • Robert E. Peary

  • for -20- years he conducted expeditions to NW Greenland looking for the best route.

  • Not really interested in scientific discovery or mapping

  • He just wanted to be FIRST – not really focused on the scientific parts!!!

    • He was vain & arrogant but ran his expeditions like a military assignment

    • Unconventional & innovative

    • Most enthusiastic supporter was President Theodore Roosevelt

      • His wife was the 1st white woman in the Arctic & gave birth to their daughter while on the expedition!

      • Polar Inuit were the key to his success

        • Inuit women made his furs & the men used their own dogs to

          • pull his sledges, build his snowhouses, & did his hunting in exchange for tools & other goods.


  • Robert E. Peary in their kayaks. (con’t)

  • In 1906, Peary made a full-scale assault upon the North Pole

  • His plan was to go as far north as possible & stay the winter in Greenland or the Canadian Islands.

  • He wanted to go to the Pole in late February, before the ice started to break up.

  • HOWEVER…… the Arctic did not cooperate…

    • Expedition was delayed several days, there was a blizzard & supplies dwindled.

    • He ended up settling 175 miles from the Pole.


  • Other Explorers in their kayaks.

  • Dr. Frederick A. Cook was a veteran of both Arctic & Antarctic exploration

  • He was the physician on Peary’s earlier expeditions

    • * Peary refused to allow Cook to publish an article about his experiences

      • They had an argument over this.

  • In March 1909, Perry set out to find the North Pole again.

  • He carefully planned & calculated the trip.

  • In April 1909, after 23 years of planning……he reached the Pole first…….

Or did he??????


  • When Peary came back home, he was stunned of the news that Dr. Cook had already returned from his trip to the Pole.

    • Peary was furious!!! He accused Dr. Cook of lying.

    • In the investigations that followed, it was found that Peary was unable to verify his own claim!

      • * Peary was a sloppy navigator and didn’t take clear notes

        • His carelessness in his documentation led to his claim to be the 1st at the Pole as – false & rejected.

  • Commander Robert E. Peary was finally given the credit & was made Admiral

    • However, he felt his reputation was tarnished & died an embittered man.

    • In recent years….

    • Researchers have determined neither man actually stepped for at the North Pole!


  • Classic Era of Arctic Exploration Dr. Cook had already returned from his trip to the Pole.

  • Ended with Peary

  • Attention then shifted to the Antarctic & the South Pole

  • Around 1914 the world was at war & focused on that- exploration was postponed

  • Balloons were no longer the only means of flight

  • Several attempts were made to fly to the North Pole in small airplanes

  • The 1st person to stand at the North Pole (whose claim remains undisputed - is Joseph Fletcher.

  • U.S. Air Force pilot who landed there in 1952


Maps ( like the one on p. 425 ) help us to imagine distances between

the North Pole and nearby land masses.

  • ?’s to think about

  • Think about Peary’s nature & give examples on how he was,

  • The story has several facts, but find one or two opinions of the author.


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