22 Chilling Photos From Early Arctic Expeditions

A collection that captures the harsh beauty and adventurous spirit of the earliest journeys to the Arctic. These historic images offer a fascinating glimpse into the lives of the brave explorers who faced extreme conditions in the pursuit of discovery.

1909 Photo of Frederick Cook in arctic gear. Possibly the first person (alongside the rest of his expedition) to reach the geographical North Pole in 1908.

Robert Peary at the North Pole cheering the ‘Stars and Stripes’. Peary was an American explorer, and claimed to be the first to have reached the geographic North Pole. Peary’s claim was certified by the National Geographic Society, a major sponsor of his expedition, 1909. However, it was never independently verified. Nobody would replicate his alleged feat by foot until 1968.

The ill-fated S. A. Andree Arctic Balloon Expedition departs Danes Island, Svalbard, on July 11, 1897.

S. A. Andrée and Knut Frænkel with their crashed balloon on the pack ice during the Arctic Balloon Expedition of 1897.

The ‘Fram’ in the ice. Nansen’s Fram expedition of 1893-1896 was an attempt by the Norwegian explorer Fridtjof Nansen to reach the geographical North Pole, Arctic 1896.

11 cleaned up images from Shackleton’s British Antarctic Expedition, 1907-1908. Aiming to be the first men to reach the South Pole, the “Nimrod Expedition” got within just over 100 miles of it. They were funded only with private loans, and were less well equipped than their contemporaries. Three years later other groups did reach the South Pole, but Shackleton’s efforts were well respected.

Robert Falcon Scott reaching the South Pole only to find that Amundsen had gotten there first due to the Norwegian flag being planted. 17th of January, 1912.

Herbert Ponting and telephoto apparatus. Ponting was the expedition photographer and cinematographer for Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova Expedition of 1910-1913, to the Ross Sea and South Pole. Antarctica, 1912.

The Byrd Arctic Expedition, Spitzbergen, Svalbard 1927.

Bob Bartlett and local inhabitant aboard ship during Bartlett’s Arctic Expedition, 1933.

The USS Sennet on Operation “Highjump,” the third Byrd Antarctic Expedition, 1947.

The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition hits a snag in 1957.

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