A WALK TO THE POLE by Roger & Robert Swan Mear


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A thoroughly satisfying account of a 1985-86 British expedition that trudged from the Antarctic coast to the South Pole, retracing the route pioneered by Robert Falcon Scott in his disastrous 1912 journey. The ""Footsteps of Scott"" expedition began as the schoolboy dream of Robert Swan, who one day saw the 1948 film Scott of the Antarctic and vowed to repeat the doomed trek of the British hero. Author and co-explorer Mear (Swan wrote the introduction and epilogue) describes in fascinating detail the years of arduous preparation that preceded the actual adventure--years spent drumming up money, preparing supplies, recruiting a support team. With the patronage of Sir Peter Scott (Robert Scott's son) secured, the explorers began their epic journey. From the start, they distinguished themselves from previous polar treks by deciding to man-haul their equipment without the aid of dog or tractor, slogging step-by-step across a thousand miles of ice and snow. For the most part, Meat's report matches other stories of Antarctic adventure--a repetitive memoir of pain, exhaustion, brittle cold, frayed nerves, dogged persistence. What sets this book apart are its subsidiary charms: a rare description of the current state of Scott's original hut at Cape Evans, preserved just as he left it 75 years ago; an account of a crazy nighttime bike ride over the ice to the New Zealand base; and a fierce, well-deserved blast at the US Antarctic Polar Research Program, which brutally cold-shouldered the British expedition, refusing them the use of telephones or postal supplies, among other disgraceful acts. Though not in the same league as earlier firsthand classics of Antarctic adventure, this has ample doses of the most basic element of suspense--will everyone make it back alive?--as well as a bonus that few of its predecessors could offer: over 100 dazzling color and black-and-white photos.

Pub Date: Oct. 21st, 1987
Publisher: Crown