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13 of history's greatest polar explorers

By: Laura Moss on Nov. 16, 2011, 8:52 a.m.
Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton

Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton made several polar expeditions. During one of his first, he journeyed to the South Magnetic Pole and charted a route through the Transarctic Mountains. In 1914, Shackleton led the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in which he would attempt to cross Antarctica. However, the ship — ironically named the Endurance — became trapped in ice on Jan. 19, 1915, and when the ice began to break apart in September, the ship began to sink and Shackleton ordered the crew to abandon ship. The group of explorers were stranded on an Antarctica island known as Elephant Island, and for almost a year they lived off seal, penguin and whale meat until Shackleton decided to use the remaining boat to travel to South Georgia Island's whaling station. However, they arrived on the uninhabited side of the island and had to cross the land to reach the station. They arrived on May 20 1917, but Shackleton was unable to rescue the 22 men on Elephant Island until August 30.