37 Photographs Documenting the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration

Nimrod Expedition was the first expedition led by Earnest Shackleton. Based in McMurdo Sound, it pioneered the Beardmore Glacier route toward the South Pole, and the (limited) use of motorised transport. Its southern march reached 88°23’S, a new Farthest South record 97 geographical miles from the Pole. The Northern Party reached the location of the South Magnetic Pole. Here unloading Antarctica’s first motor vehicle.
The furthest south- Lat 85° 17’ South, National Antarctic Expedition. From album by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton entitled National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1903
E H Shackleton standing by wheel of the ‘Discovery’ (1901) From album by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton entitled National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1903
Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1903. From album by Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton entitled National Antarctic Expedition, 1901-1903
Cecil Thomas Madigan, ice mask ,the meteorologist with Australian Douglas Mawson’s expedition of 1911-14, build up caused while he was returning to the base hut during a blizzard. Cool Antarctica
Japanese Antarctic Expedition, 1910–1912, was the first non-European Antarctic expedition carried out a coastal exploration of King Edward VII Land, and investigated the eastern sector of the Great Ice Barrier, reaching 80°5’S.. memim
Lt Nobu Shirase, leader of the Japanese Antarctic Expedition. Pinterest
Amundsen and his dog tam at the south pole. Cool Antarctica
Amundsen’s Norwegian Antarctic Expedition set up camp on the Great Ice Barrier, at the Bay of Whales. He discovered a new route to the polar plateau via the Axel Heiberg Glacier. A party of five led by Amundsen reached the South Pole via this route on 14 December 1911. National Library of Norway
Photographs taken during the Australasian Antarctic Expedition in 1911, led by adventurer Douglas Mawson.
Portrait of Herbert H. Ponting taken on the Matterhorn iceberg. 1910-1913, Scott’s last expedition, based like his first in McMurdo Sound. Scott and four companions reached the South Pole via the Beardmore route on 17 January 1912, 33 days after Amundsen. All five died on the return journey from the Pole, through a combination of starvation and cold. Cool Antarctica
Wilhelm Filchner was the leader of the Second German Antarctic Expedition which was the first crossing of Antarctica. The expedition made the southernmost Weddell Sea penetration to date, reaching 77°45’S, and discovering Luitpold Coast, Filchner-Ronne Ice Shelf, and Vahsel Bay. It failed to establish a shore base from which to mount its transcontinental march, and after a long drift in the Weddell Sea pack ice it returned to South Georgia.
Three AAE expeditioners with their sledge. The Australian Antarctic Expedition, 1911-1914 concentrated on the stretch of Antarctic coastline between Cape Adare and Mount Gauss, carrying out mapping and survey work on coastal and inland territories. Discoveries included Commonwealth Bay, Ninnis Glacier, Mertz Glacier, and Queen Mary Land. Australian Antarctic Division
AustralasianAntarctic Expedition. Wikimedia
Douglas Mawson, Leader of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean. Cool Antarctica
Endurance trapped in ice, 1916. The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition was Another transcontinental crossing attempt. It failed to land the Weddell Sea shore party after Endurance was trapped and crushed in ice. The expedition then rescued itself after a series of exploits, including a prolonged drift on an ice-floe, Shackleton’s open boat journey, and the first crossing of South Georgia. Cool Antarctica
Charles Green the cook skinning a penguin during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-17, led by Ernest Shackleton. (Photo by Frank Hurley/Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge/Getty Images)
Antarctica, The crew of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition playing a game of football (or soccer), with the Endurance in the background; ca. 1914-1917).miepvonsydow
Ross Sea party. The Seven Survivors. The objective was to lay depots across the Great Ice Barrier, to supply the party crossing from the Weddell Sea. All the required depots were laid, but in the process three men, including the leader Mackintosh, lost their lives. toptenz
Aurora at McMurdo Sound at the time of rescue. anmm.gov
Earnest Shackelton was the leader of the Shackelton-Rowett Expedition, whose objectives included coastal mapping, a possible continental circumnavigation, the investigation of sub-Antarctic islands, and oceanographic work. After Shackleton’s death on 5 January 1922, Quest completed a shortened programme before returning home. Cool Antarctica