Norway Wins!


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Norway Wins!

Postby Conor Dary » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:47 am

It was 94 years ago today that the Norwegians, led by Roald Amundsen, beat England 1-nil in the race to the South Pole. The Brits, led by Captain Robert Scott, followed on a month later.
Last edited by Conor Dary on Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:31 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby kuha » Wed Dec 14, 2005 7:53 am

I understand they got a rather cold reception.
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Postby Vern » Wed Dec 14, 2005 8:27 am

Ouch!! To paraphrase Lillelien's commentary when Norway beat England 2-1 at football in '81: Our boys took one hell of a beating :cry:

Just going outside, may be some time....
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Postby gh » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:50 am

Brits DNFed :-(
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Postby Daisy » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:05 am

Just going outside, may be some time....


Oates made an amazing jesture. Strangly Scott got all the glory, although history does seem to be catching up with him re: Roland Huntsford's books on the topic.
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Postby EPelle » Wed Dec 14, 2005 11:15 am

Translated account wrote:Before the winter set in we had 60 tons of seal meat in our winter quarters; this was enough for ourselves and our 110 dogs...The sun left us on April 22, and we did not see it again for four months...

Meanwhile we had abandoned the original plan, by which all were to go to the south. Five men were to do this, while three others made a trip to the east, to visit King Edward VII. Land. This trip did not form part of our programme, but as the English did not reach this land last summer, as had been their intention, we agreed that it would be best to undertake this journey in addition... (Entire translated account here)

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Postby gh » Wed Dec 14, 2005 1:07 pm

For incredible screen version (based on Huntford) check out "The Last Place On Earth," which originally aired on PBS about a decade ago. Shuddered in August while watching it. Had to watch it again a few months ago after seeing the The Fram in Oslo this summer (ship in the video looks nothign like it though).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088551/
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Postby cullman » Wed Dec 14, 2005 2:57 pm

PBS program "Secrets Of The Dead" recently did an interesting analysis of the Scott expedition.

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/case_southpole/
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Postby Per Andersen » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:28 pm

I am lucky enough to own a copy of Amundsen's 1912 book - Sydpolen- and every year on this date I read a chapter or two, break out the Aqua-vit and drink to Amundsen, Bjaaland (world-class skier), Hanssen, Hassel and Wisting.

It is amazing how well Amundsen planned his assault on the Pole compared to Scott's haphazard way. No lost mittens and abandoned skis among Amundsen's men. I shudder by the thoughts of Scott's manhauling.
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Postby Daisy » Wed Dec 14, 2005 10:35 pm

Per Andersen wrote:No lost mittens and abandoned skis among Amundsen's men. I shudder by the thoughts of Scott's manhauling.


Of course the abandoned skis actually makes sense since they had no idea how to use them. On the other hand, not knowing how to use them makes no sense at all.

And really, why use dogs when you can use ponies?
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Postby Pego » Thu Dec 15, 2005 4:26 am

Daisy wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:No lost mittens and abandoned skis among Amundsen's men. I shudder by the thoughts of Scott's manhauling.


Of course the abandoned skis actually makes sense since they had no idea how to use them. On the other hand, not knowing how to use them makes no sense at all.

And really, why use dogs when you can use ponies?


Accounts of the two expeditions that I read were pretty unanimous that the sled dogs are far better suitable for those conditions than the ponies. Those authors considered the ponies to be Scott's biggest blunder.
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Postby Daisy » Thu Dec 15, 2005 7:18 am

Pego wrote:
Daisy wrote:
Per Andersen wrote:No lost mittens and abandoned skis among Amundsen's men. I shudder by the thoughts of Scott's manhauling.
And really, why use dogs when you can use ponies?

Accounts of the two expeditions that I read were pretty unanimous that the sled dogs are far better suitable for those conditions than the ponies. Those authors considered the ponies to be Scott's biggest blunder.

May be you missed my heavy sarcasm? We need a sarcasm icon.
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Postby Conor Dary » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:39 am

gh wrote:For incredible screen version (based on Huntford) check out "The Last Place On Earth," which originally aired on PBS about a decade ago. Shuddered in August while watching it. Had to watch it again a few months ago after seeing the The Fram in Oslo this summer (ship in the video looks nothign like it though).

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0088551/


It is an amazing show. Watched, for the umpteenth time, the 6th episode last night, 'Forgone Conclusion' when Amundsen reaches the pole. Meanwhile, Scott and his unmerry men are back at 83 deg, 35', dumping skis, common sense. etc...

By the way, it was first shown on PBS in 1985. The book is just as good. After spending years looking for a copy of the first edition hardback, I found one a few years ago in one of my favorite places in the world: Hay-on-Wye.
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Postby gh » Thu Dec 15, 2005 8:48 am

Obscure movie that's one of my favorite "hidden gems," (as Siskel & Ebert used to call them) dealing with Amundsen's death (among others) is The Red Tent, with Sean Connery (!) as Amundsen.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067315/?fr ... fc=1;ft=20
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Postby Per Andersen » Thu Dec 15, 2005 10:01 pm

gh wrote:Obscure movie that's one of my favorite "hidden gems," (as Siskel & Ebert used to call them) dealing with Amundsen's death (among others) is The Red Tent, with Sean Connery (!) as Amundsen.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0067315/?fr ... fc=1;ft=20


I agree, that movie was much better than I had anticipated. Connery managed to show the brooding Amundsen of the post South Pole era. None of Amundsens men with the exception of the happy go lucky Olav Bjaaland adjusted easily to life after the South Pole.

Bjaaland lit the olympic flame in Morgedal, Telemark (Birthplace of skiing) for the Oympic Winter Games in Oslo in 1952.
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Postby Vern » Fri Dec 16, 2005 3:05 am

Honourable as both leaders were (although history has not judged Scott kindly, and Amundsen was pretty ruthless), neither come close to Nansen, either as polar explorers or all round polymath cool dudeness...One of my all-time heroes - although he makes me feel totally inadequate.....
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Postby Conor Dary » Fri Dec 16, 2005 8:31 am

Vern wrote:Honourable as both leaders were (although history has not judged Scott kindly, and Amundsen was pretty ruthless), neither come close to Nansen, either as polar explorers or all round polymath cool dudeness...One of my all-time heroes - although he makes me feel totally inadequate.....


Comparing oneself to Nansen can be rather humbling. Look what happened to poor Johansen.
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Postby gh » Fri Dec 16, 2005 10:45 am

Nansen is played (in a very minor role) by Max Von Sydow in "Last Place.." and he is predictably perfect in the role.
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Postby EPelle » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:34 am

Thank you... would not expect less than perfect from von Sydow.
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Postby Per Andersen » Fri Dec 16, 2005 11:38 pm

Vern wrote:Honourable as both leaders were (although history has not judged Scott kindly, and Amundsen was pretty ruthless), neither come close to Nansen, either as polar explorers or all round polymath cool dudeness...One of my all-time heroes - although he makes me feel totally inadequate.....


Ruthless? More ruthless than the bungling amateur Scott ? Scott who insisted that his dying men had to load up their sleds with useless, heavy rocks so Scott could pretend to be a scientist. It was lucky for Scott that he died the way he did. That was the only way for him to become a hero.
Amundsen was not a renaisance man like Nansen but he was the perfect man for what he accomplished. Unlike Scott he minimized the risks his men took.

Nobody loved amateurs like the English and preferably dead ones.
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Postby Vern » Sat Dec 17, 2005 5:07 am

Per Andersen wrote:
Vern wrote:Honourable as both leaders were (although history has not judged Scott kindly, and Amundsen was pretty ruthless), neither come close to Nansen, either as polar explorers or all round polymath cool dudeness...One of my all-time heroes - although he makes me feel totally inadequate.....


Ruthless? More ruthless than the bungling amateur Scott ? Scott who insisted that his dying men had to load up their sleds with useless, heavy rocks so Scott could pretend to be a scientist. It was lucky for Scott that he died the way he did. That was the only way for him to become a hero.
Amundsen was not a renaisance man like Nansen but he was the perfect man for what he accomplished. Unlike Scott he minimized the risks his men took.

Nobody loved amateurs like the English and preferably dead ones.



Rolig, Per!

Scott was an amateur, and a bungling one at that, and a hopeless romantic, no argument from me there. And your opinion on the English love of dead amateurs is hyperbole, gallant losers are preferable. BUT...

Amundsen got Nansen's permission to borrow "Fram" for an assumed expedition in the Arctic. But when word came out of Peary's and Cook's alleged attainment of the North Pole, Amundsen decided he was going to try for the South Pole.

He informed Nansen by letter AFTER he set sail for the Antarctic, confessing that he hadn't said so before for fear that Nansen would refuse to lend him "Fram". He knew Nansen had his own plans to go to the South Pole.

Scott was well pissed off when he heard, and many of his supporters thought it wasn't fair play. I disagree entirely, but I believe ruthless, determined and ambitious are fair descriptions. And why not?!

If Scott had got their first, there wouldn't have been a word heard against him. Could have happened to - in spite of the difference between the teams, Scott had more than his fair share of bad luck, and Amundsen an equal share of good.

My $0.02.
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Postby Conor Dary » Sat Dec 17, 2005 7:27 am

On my browser this page, and only this page, explodes to twice the width and makes it very hard to read.

Why is this?


By the way, Scott did not have bad luck. He was just a fool. Read Huntford's book and you will see why.
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Postby Vern » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:01 pm

Conor Dary wrote:On my browser this page, and only this page, explodes to twice the width and makes it very hard to read.

Why is this?


By the way, Scott did not have bad luck. He was just a fool. Read Huntford's book and you will see why.


Same here, irritating.

By the way, Scott did have bad luck. He was not just a fool. And I've read the book. And other books.

Would he have been a fool if he'd returned? The world's then largest marine power wasn't in the habit of promoting fools to Captain

Scott's 1901 Antarctic trip in the "Discovery" was a tough but successful trip. New "furthest South" record, winter stay went OK. He'd asked Nansen for advice too, wise move.

The weather he encountered in 1911 - 12 was unusually savage.

Scott was a romantic, pessimist, possibly even a manic depressive and made completely wrong choices (ponies etc). But he was brave, loyal and a good leader. No way a fool.

Apsley Cherry - Gerrard, whom it's assumed knew a thing or two, said in his book: "For a combined scientific and geographical expedition, I'd choose Scott; for a winter journey, Wilson; for a quick tour to the Pole and nothing else, Amundsen; and if I was in deep shit (or words to that effect, can't find his book!) which I wanted out of, give me Shackleton every time". Sounds reasonable.

Edit - just reread my own posts, and see I'm contradicting myself hugely - how can I call him a bungling amateur after 1901 went so well, blah blah. Hands up and admit I'm totally undecided, about the only thing I've never heard Scott called was gay. Or was he called it?

It's great it's still being debated 93 years on.
Last edited by Vern on Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Daisy » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:18 pm

Vern wrote:
Conor Dary wrote:On my browser this page, and only this page, explodes to twice the width and makes it very hard to read.

Why is this?

Same here, irritating.

Its the link in garrys post. Links only break at question marks and if there are none then they force the thread wide.
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Postby Conor Dary » Sat Dec 17, 2005 2:42 pm

Can't GH just delete his link and then we wouldn't have this problem. Instead of the link just type it out. Or better just mention the movie. (Which I just ordered on Amazon. Thanks gh.)

By the way, I still think Scott was an incompetent. And if you read the book you will notice that Huntford makes it clear that Scott was promoted for his Discovery journey. After the disaster with the Albermale, Scott was in deep trouble with the Navy Brass.

As for the Discovery journey being a success, it was hardly that. They only made it to 82 deg and only most froze to death and had scurvy to boot. And finally, the Navy was none too happy with Scott for getting frozen in 2 winters and almost a third.
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