Polar Explorers

Meet the Legends of Antarctic Exploration

Thomas Crean

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Thomas “Tom” Crean, nicknamed the “Irish Giant”, was an Irish seaman and Antarctic explorer. He was a member of three major expeditions to Antarctica during the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration, including Captain Scott’s 1911–13 Terra Nova Expedition, during which he made a 35 mile (56 km) solo walk across the Ross Ice Shelf to [...]

Adrien de Gerlache

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Baron Adrien Victor Joseph de Gerlache de Gomery was an officer in the Belgian Royal Navy who led the Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897–99 (BAE). The BAE was the first expedition to overwinter within the Antarctic Circle, after the ship was icebound in the Bellingshausen Sea. It collected the first annual cycle of Antarctic observations, [...]

Lincoln Ellsworth

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Lincoln Ellsworth (1880-1951) Together with pilot Herbert Hollick-Kenyon, Lincoln Ellsworth discovered the Ellsworth Mountains and completed the first transantarctic flight in history. Introduction to Polar Exploration Ellsworth’s initial exposure to polar adventures began on May 21, 1925, when he, Roald Amundsen and four other men set out in two Dornier flying boats, on an unsuccessful [...]

P.O. Edgar Evans

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Edgar Evans was a member of the “Polar Party” in Robert Falcon Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova Expedition to the South Pole in 1911–1912. This group of five men, personally selected for the final expedition push, attained the Pole on January 17, 1912; but all of them, including Evans, perished as they attempted to return to [...]

Wilhelm Filchner

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

The story of Amundsen and Scott’s race to the pole has been told many times. Less well known is that of German explorer Wilhelm Filchner, who headed south in 1911 and also hoped to reach the South Pole. Filchner didn’t reach the Pole, but he did make two important geographic discoveries: the Filchner Ice Shelf [...]

Sir Vivian Fuchs

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

In 1958 Sir Vivian Fuchs made history when he successfully completed the first crossing of the Antarctic via the South Pole. Planning for the expedition began in 1953, and envisioned the use of Sno-Cat tractors to cross the continent in 100 days, starting at Weddell Sea, ending at Ross Sea, and crossing the South Pole. [...]

Helmer Hanssen

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Helmer Hanssen participated in three of Roald Amundsen’s polar expeditions and was part of the five-man group who were first to reach the South Pole on December 14, 1911. Early Years and Arctic Expeditions Hanssen was born in northern Norway, where he grew up farming and fishing with his father. As a young man, he [...]

Sir Edmund Hillary

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Sir Edmund Hillary is best known for being the first person (along with Tenzing Norgay) to summit Mount Everest. Perhaps less known is the fact that he led the New Zealand component of the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (TAE) in 1955-58 and was the first person to arrive at the South Pole by vehicle. The Commonwealth-sponsored [...]

James "Frank" Hurley

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Frank Hurley is an icon of both Australian documentary photography and Antarctic exploration. Hurley was an exceptional photographer and his six visits to Antarctica covered a substantial part of the heroic age of Antarctic exploration. His striking images of Shackleton’s ill-fated Endurance expedition are some of the most famous images of Antarctic exploration. Hurley began [...]

Hjalmar Johansen

Posted  08/28/10 in Polar Explorers

Hjalmar Johansen participated in Roald Amundsen’s Antarctic expedition 1910-1912 and accompanied Fridtjof Nansen on his attempted dash to the North Pole in 1895. The Arctic with Nansen Hjalmar Johansen was Norwegian champion in gymnastics at 20 and was famous for his strength and acrobatics. He applied to join Fridtjof Nansen’s drift across the Arctic Ocean [...]

Sign up for the newsletter

Thanks for Signing Up!