HMS Alert (1856)
HMS Alert was a 17-gun wooden screw sloop of the Cruizer class of the Royal Navy, launched in 1856 and broken up in 1894. It was the eleventh ship of the Royal Navy to bear the name, was noted for her Arctic exploration work. Alert served with the US Navy, ended her career with the Canadian Marine Service as a lighthouse tender and buoy ship; the wooden sloops of the Cruizer class were designed under the direction of Lord John Hay, after his "Committee of Reference" was disbanded, their construction was supervised by the new Surveyor of the Navy, Sir Baldwin Walker. Ordered together with her co-ship Falcon on 2 April 1853, Alert was laid down at the Royal Dockyard, Pembroke in January 1855, it was fitted at Chatham with a two-cylinder horizontal single-expansion steam engine, supplied by Ravenhill & Salkeld at a cost of £6,052 and generated an indicated horsepower of 383 hp. The class was given a barque-rig sail plan. All the ships of the class were provided with one 32-pounder long gun on a pivot mount and sixteen 32-pounder carriage guns in a broadside arrangement.
When converted for Arctic exploration in 1874, her armament was reduced to a token outfit of four Armstrong breech-loaders. Alert spent the first 11 years of her life on the Pacific Station, based at Esquimalt at the southern tip of Vancouver Island, Canada. Alert Bay, British Columbia is named after the ship, nearby Pearse Island, at the north entrance to Johnstone Strait, is named after Commander William Alfred Rumbulow Pearse, her commanding officer. During this period it returned to May 1863 for a refit, her service on the Pacific station was the type of work for which her class had been designed—the policing of Britain's far-flung maritime empire. A photograph exists of Alert at Esquimalt, British Columbia from 1867, it is further attested to by the following extract from The Colonist newspaper: "The'Alert' Taken! – On Wednesday, H. M. S. Alert was taken without resistance on the part of her officers and crew, who are believed to have lent themselves to the plot; the ship was lying at anchor in Esquimalt harbour when the affair occurred, the time chosen by the enemy was noon-day.
The captor was Mr. Robinson the Photographer, the only weapons he used in effecting his object were a Camera, a bit of glass." Alert was placed in the Steam Reserve. In 1874, Alert was taken in hand for conversion to the role of Arctic exploration, her single-expansion engine was replaced with an R & W Hawthorn compound-expansion engine, it was reboilered to 60 pounds per square inch, her armament was reduced to four guns and her hull was strengthened with felt-covered iron. Above the waterline it was sheathed with teak, below it, Canadian elm and pitch-pine; the modifications caused her displacement to increase to 1,240 tons. The British Arctic Expedition was commanded by Captain George Strong Nares, comprised Alert and Discovery; the expedition aimed to reach the North Pole via Smith Sound, the sea passage between Greenland and Canada's northernmost island, Ellesmere Island. Contemporary geographers proposed that there could be an Open Polar Sea, that if the thick layer of ice surrounding it were overcome, access to the North Pole by sea might be possible.
Since Edward Augustus Inglefield had penetrated Smith Sound in 1852, it had been a route to the North. Despite finding heavier-than-expected ice, the expedition pressed on. Leaving Discovery to winter at Lady Franklin Bay, Alert pressed on a further 50 nautical miles through the Robeson Channel, establishing her winter quarters at Floeberg Beach. Spring 1876 saw considerable activity by sledge, charting the coasts of Ellesmere Island and Greenland, but scurvy had begun to take hold, with Alert suffering the greatest burden. On 3 April the second-in-command of Alert, Albert Hastings Markham, took a party north to attempt the Pole. By 11 May, having made slow progress, they reached their greatest latitude at 83° 20' 26"N. Suffering from snow blindness and exhaustion, they turned back; the expedition was rewarded on its return. The geography of northern Canada and Greenland is dotted with the names of those connected with the expedition: Nares Strait, Nares Lake, Markham Ice Shelf, Ayles Ice Shelf, Mount Ayles.
The northernmost permanently inhabited place on earth, the settlement of Alert at the northern point of Ellesmere Island, was named for the ship. Alert recommissioned at Chatham on 20 August 1878 under the command of Captain Sir George Strong Nares for a survey of the Strait of Magellan. On 12 March 1879 Captain John Fiot Lee Pearse Maclear took command, under him she went to Australia Station and the Pacific, she was employed in surveying, but the presence of Doctor Richard Coppinger, her surgeon, ensured that she made a huge contribution to the field of zoology. Coppinger, who had served in the Arctic expedition, was an accomplished naturalist and his collections from the period 1878–1882, which included indigenous cultural artifacts purloined, as he admitted, from Mutumui sites on Clack Island, added 1,300 species to the National Collection. Alert paid off at Sheerness on 20 September 1882. Adolphus Greely led the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition to the Arctic in 1881. Two supply ships failed to reach his party, a relief expedition in 1883 failed to extract the team.
The US Navy put together a further relief expedition in 1884 under Captain W. S. Schley, Alert was offered, she was loaned to the US Navy und
Charles Francis Hall
Charles Francis Hall was an American explorer of the Arctic, best known for the suspicious circumstances surrounding his death while leading the American-sponsored Polaris expedition in an attempt to be the first to reach the North Pole. The expedition was marred by insubordination and poor leadership. Hall returned to the ship from an exploratory sledging journey, promptly fell ill. Before he died, he accused members of the crew of poisoning him. An exhumation of his body in 1968 revealed that he had ingested a large quantity of arsenic in the last two weeks of his life. Little is known of Hall's early life, he was either born in Rochester, New Hampshire, or in the state of Vermont before moving to Rochester at a young age, where he was apprenticed to a blacksmith at a young age. In the 1840s, he married and drifted westward, arriving in Cincinnati in 1849, where he went into business making seals and engraving plates, he published his own newspaper. Around 1857, Hall became interested in the Arctic and spent the next few years studying the reports of previous explorers and trying to raise money for an expedition intended to learn the fate of Franklin's lost expedition.
Hall went on his first expedition by gaining passage on the George Henry, a whaler commanded by Captain Sidney O. Budington out of New Bedford, they got as far as Baffin Island. Local Inuit told Hall about relics of Martin Frobisher's mining venture at Frobisher Bay on Baffin Island, to which Hall travelled to inspect these items up close, he was assisted by his newly recruited Inuit guides and wife "Joe" Ebierbing and "Hannah" Tookoolito. Hall found what he took to be evidence of the fact that some members of Franklin's lost expedition might still be alive. On his return to New York, Hall arranged for the Harper Brothers to publish his account of the expedition: Arctic Researches and Life Among the Esquimaux, it was edited by William Parker Snow obsessed by Franklin's fate. The two came to a disagreement—mostly due to Snow's slow editing. Snow claimed Hall had used his ideas for the search of Franklin without giving him due credit. During the course of 1863, Hall planned a second expedition to seek more clues on the fate of Franklin, including efforts to find any of the rumoured survivors or their written records.
The first attempt using the 95-ton schooner Active was abandoned due to lack of finances caused by the American Civil War and a troubled relationship with his intended second-in-command Parker Snow. In July 1864, a much smaller expedition departed in the whaler Monticello. During this second expedition to King William Island, he found remains and artifacts from the Franklin expedition, made more inquiries about their fate from natives living there. Hall realized that the stories of survivors were unreliable, either by the Inuit or his own readiness to give them overly optimistic interpretations, he became disillusioned with the Inuit by the discovery that the remnants of Franklin's expedition had deliberately been left to starve. He failed to consider that it would have been impossible for the local population to support such a large group of supernumeraries. Hall's third expedition was of an different character, he received a grant of $50,000 from the U. S. Congress to command an expedition to the North Pole on the USS Polaris.
The party of 25 included Hall's old friend Budington as sailing master, George Tyson as navigator, Emil Bessels as physician and chief of scientific staff. The expedition was troubled from the start as the party split into rival factions. Hall's authority over the expedition was resented by a large portion of the party, discipline broke down. Polaris sailed into Thank God Harbor—present-day Hall Bay—on September 10, 1871, anchored for the winter on the shore of northern Greenland; that fall, upon returning to the ship from a sledging expedition with an Inuit guide to a fjord which he named Newman Bay, Hall fell ill after drinking a cup of coffee. He collapsed in. For the next week he suffered from vomiting and delirium seemed to improve for a few days. At that time, he accused several of the ship's company, including Bessels, of having poisoned him. Shortly thereafter, Hall began suffering the same symptoms, died on November 8. Hall was given a formal burial. Command of the expedition devolved on Budington, who reorganized to try for the Pole in June 1872.
This was unsuccessful and Polaris turned south. On October 12, the ship was on the verge of being crushed. Nineteen of the crew and the Inuit guides abandoned ship for the surrounding ice while 14 remained aboard. Polaris was run aground near Etah and crushed on October 24. After wintering ashore, the crew sailed south in two boats and were rescued by a whaler, returning home via Scotland; the following year, the remainder of the party attempted to extricate Polaris from the pack and head south. A group, including Tyson, became separated as the pack broke up violently and threatened to crush the ship in the fall of 1872; the group of 19 drifted over 1,500 miles on an ice floe for the next six months, before being rescued off the coast of Newfoundland by the sealer Tigress on April 30, 1873, would have all perished had the group not included several Inuit who were able to hunt for the party. The official investigation that followed ruled. However, in 1968, Hall's biographer, Chauncey C. Loomis, a professor at Dartmouth College, made an expedition to Greenland to exhume Hall's body.
To the benefit of the
Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition
Andrée's Arctic balloon expedition of 1897 was an effort to reach the North Pole in which all three expedition members perished. S. A. Andrée, the first Swedish balloonist, proposed a voyage by hydrogen balloon from Svalbard to either Russia or Canada, to pass, with luck, straight over the North Pole on the way; the scheme was received with patriotic enthusiasm in Sweden, a northern nation that had fallen behind in the race for the North Pole. Andrée ignored many early signs of the dangers associated with his balloon plan. Being able to steer the balloon to some extent was essential for a safe journey, but there was much evidence that the drag-rope steering technique Andrée had invented was ineffective. Yet he staked the fate of the expedition on drag ropes. Worse, the polar balloon Örnen was delivered directly to Svalbard from its manufacturer in Paris without being tested; when measurements showed it to be leaking more than expected, Andrée refused to acknowledge the alarming implications. Most modern students of the expedition see Andrée's optimism, faith in the power of technology, disregard for the forces of nature as the main factors in the series of events that led to his death and those of his two companions Nils Strindberg and Knut Frænkel.
After Andrée, Frænkel lifted off from Svalbard in July 1897, the balloon lost hydrogen and crashed on the pack ice after only two days. The explorers faced a grueling trek back south across the drifting icescape. Inadequately clothed and prepared, shocked by the difficulty of the terrain, they did not make it to safety; as the Arctic winter closed in on them in October, the group ended up exhausted on the deserted Kvitøya in Svalbard and died there. For 33 years the fate of the Andrée expedition remained one of the unsolved riddles of the Arctic; the chance discovery in 1930 of the expedition's last camp created a media sensation in Sweden, where the dead men had been mourned and idolized. Andrée's motives have since been re-evaluated, along with assessing the role of the polar areas as the proving-ground of masculinity and patriotism. An early example is Per Olof Sundman's fictionalized bestseller novel of 1967, The Flight of the Eagle, which portrays Andrée as weak and cynical, at the mercy of his sponsors and the media.
The verdict on Andrée by modern writers for sacrificing the lives of his two younger companions varies in harshness, depending on whether he is seen as the manipulator or the victim of Swedish nationalist fervor around the turn of the 20th century. The second half of the 19th century has been called the Heroic Age of Antarctic Exploration; the inhospitable and dangerous Arctic and Antarctic regions appealed powerfully to the imagination of the age, not as lands with their own ecologies and cultures, but as challenges to be conquered by technological ingenuity and manly daring. Salomon August Andrée shared these enthusiasms, proposed a plan for letting the wind propel a hydrogen balloon from Svalbard across the Arctic Sea to the Bering Strait, to fetch up in Alaska, Canada, or Russia, passing near or right over the North Pole on the way. Andrée was an engineer at the patent office in Stockholm, with a passion for ballooning, he bought his own balloon, the Svea, in 1893 and made nine journeys with it, starting from Gothenburg or Stockholm and traveling a combined distance of 1,500 kilometres.
In the prevailing westerly winds, the Svea flights had a strong tendency to carry him uncontrollably out to the Baltic Sea and drag his basket perilously along the surface of the water or slam it into one of the many rocky islets in the Stockholm archipelago. On one occasion he was blown clear across the Baltic to Finland, his longest trip was due east from Gothenburg, across the breadth of Sweden and out over the Baltic to Gotland. Though he saw a lighthouse and heard breakers off Öland, he remained convinced that he was traveling over land and seeing lakes. During a couple of Svea flights, Andrée tested and tried out the drag-rope steering technique which he had developed and wanted to use on his projected North Pole expedition. Drag ropes, which hang from the balloon basket and drag part of their length on the ground, are designed to counteract the tendency of lighter-than-air craft to travel at the same speed as the wind, a situation that makes steering by sails impossible; the friction of the ropes was intended to slow the balloon to the point where the sails would have an effect.
Andrée reported, believed, that with drag rope/sails steering he had succeeded in deviating about ten degrees either way from the wind direction. This notion is rejected by modern balloonists. Use of drag ropes—prone to snapping, falling off, or becoming entangled with each other or the ground, in addition to being ineffective—is not considered by any modern expert to be a useful steering technique; the Arctic ambitions of Sweden were still unrealized in the late 19th century, while neighboring and politically subordinate Norway was a world power in Arctic exploration through such pioneers as Fridtjof Nansen. The Swedish political and scientific elite were eager to see Sweden take that lead among the Scandinavian countries which seemed her due, Andrée, a persuasive speaker and fundraiser, found it easy to gain support for his ideas. At a lecture in 1895 for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Andrée thrilled the audience of geographers and meteorologists.
The North Pole known as the Geographic North Pole or Terrestrial North Pole, is defined as the point in the Northern Hemisphere where the Earth's axis of rotation meets its surface. The North Pole is the northernmost point on the Earth, lying diametrically opposite the South Pole, it defines geodetic latitude 90° North, as well as the direction of true north. At the North Pole all directions point south. Along tight latitude circles, counterclockwise is east and clockwise is west; the North Pole is at the center of the Northern Hemisphere. While the South Pole lies on a continental land mass, the North Pole is located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean amid waters that are permanently covered with shifting sea ice; this makes it impractical to construct a permanent station at the North Pole. However, the Soviet Union, Russia, constructed a number of manned drifting stations on a annual basis since 1937, some of which have passed over or close to the Pole. Since 2002, the Russians have annually established a base, close to the Pole.
This operates for a few weeks during early spring. Studies in the 2000s predicted that the North Pole may become seasonally ice-free because of Arctic ice shrinkage, with timescales varying from 2016 to the late 21st century or later; the sea depth at the North Pole has been measured at 4,261 m by the Russian Mir submersible in 2007 and at 4,087 m by USS Nautilus in 1958. The nearest land is said to be Kaffeklubben Island, off the northern coast of Greenland about 700 km away, though some semi-permanent gravel banks lie closer; the nearest permanently inhabited place is Alert in the Qikiqtaaluk Region, Canada, located 817 km from the Pole. The Earth's axis of rotation – and hence the position of the North Pole – was believed to be fixed until, in the 18th century, the mathematician Leonhard Euler predicted that the axis might "wobble" slightly. Around the beginning of the 20th century astronomers noticed a small apparent "variation of latitude," as determined for a fixed point on Earth from the observation of stars.
Part of this variation could be attributed to a wandering of the Pole across the Earth's surface, by a range of a few metres. The wandering has an irregular component; the component with a period of about 435 days is identified with the eight-month wandering predicted by Euler and is now called the Chandler wobble after its discoverer. The exact point of intersection of the Earth's axis and the Earth's surface, at any given moment, is called the "instantaneous pole", but because of the "wobble" this cannot be used as a definition of a fixed North Pole when metre-scale precision is required, it is desirable to tie the system of Earth coordinates to fixed landforms. Of course, given plate tectonics and isostasy, there is no system in which all geographic features are fixed, yet the International Earth Rotation and Reference Systems Service and the International Astronomical Union have defined a framework called the International Terrestrial Reference System. As early as the 16th century, many prominent people believed that the North Pole was in a sea, which in the 19th century was called the Polynya or Open Polar Sea.
It was therefore hoped. Several expeditions set out to find the way with whaling ships commonly used in the cold northern latitudes. One of the earliest expeditions to set out with the explicit intention of reaching the North Pole was that of British naval officer William Edward Parry, who in 1827 reached latitude 82°45′ North. In 1871 the Polaris expedition, a US attempt on the Pole led by Charles Francis Hall, ended in disaster. Another British Royal Navy attempt on the pole, part of the British Arctic Expedition, by Commander Albert H. Markham reached a then-record 83°20'26" North in May 1876 before turning back. An 1879–1881 expedition commanded by US naval officer George W. DeLong ended tragically when their ship, the USS Jeanette, was crushed by ice. Over half the crew, including DeLong, were lost. In April 1895 the Norwegian explorers Fridtjof Nansen and Hjalmar Johansen struck out for the Pole on skis after leaving Nansen's icebound ship Fram; the pair reached latitude 86°14′ North before they abandoned the attempt and turned southwards reaching Franz Josef Land.
In 1897 Swedish engineer Salomon August Andrée and two companions tried to reach the North Pole in the hydrogen balloon Örnen, but came down 300 km north of Kvitøya, the northeasternmost part of the Svalbard archipelago. They died there three months later. In 1930 the remains of this expedition were found by the Norwegian Bratvaag Expedition; the Italian explorer Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi and Captain Umberto Cagni of the Italian Royal Navy sailed the converted whaler Stella Polare from Norway in 1899. On 11 March 1900 Cagni led a party over the ice and reached latitude 86° 34’ on 25 April, setting a new record by beating Nansen's result of 1895 by 35 to 40 km. Cagni managed to return to the camp, remaining there until 23 June. On 16 August the Stella Polare left Rudolf Island heading south and the expedition returned to Norway; the US explorer Frederick Cook claimed to have reached the North Pole on 21 April 1908 with two Inuit men and Etukishook, but he was unable to produce convincing proof and his c
Fridtjof Wedel-Jarlsberg Nansen was a Norwegian explorer, diplomat and Nobel Peace Prize laureate. In his youth he was a champion ice skater, he led the team that made the first crossing of the Greenland interior in 1888, traversing the island on cross-country skis. He won international fame after reaching a record northern latitude of 86°14′ during his Fram expedition of 1893–1896. Although he retired from exploration after his return to Norway, his techniques of polar travel and his innovations in equipment and clothing influenced a generation of subsequent Arctic and Antarctic expeditions. Nansen studied zoology at the Royal Frederick University in Christiania and worked as a curator at the University Museum of Bergen where his research on the central nervous system of lower marine creatures earned him a doctorate and helped establish neuron doctrine. Famed neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal would win the 1906 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his research on the same subject, though "technical priority" for the theory is given to Nansen.
After 1896 his main scientific interest switched to oceanography. As one of his country's leading citizens, in 1905 Nansen spoke out for the ending of Norway's union with Sweden, was instrumental in persuading Prince Carl of Denmark to accept the throne of the newly independent Norway. Between 1906 and 1908 he served as the Norwegian representative in London, where he helped negotiate the Integrity Treaty that guaranteed Norway's independent status. In the final decade of his life, Nansen devoted himself to the League of Nations, following his appointment in 1921 as the League's High Commissioner for Refugees. In 1922 he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for his work on behalf of the displaced victims of the First World War and related conflicts. Among the initiatives he introduced was the "Nansen passport" for stateless persons, a certificate that used to be recognised by more than 50 countries, he worked on behalf of refugees until his sudden death in 1930, after which the League established the Nansen International Office for Refugees to ensure that his work continued.
This office received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1938. His name is commemorated in numerous geographical features in the polar regions; the Nansen family originated in Denmark. Hans Nansen, a trader, was an early explorer of the White Sea region of the Arctic Ocean. In life he settled in Copenhagen, becoming the city's borgmester in 1654. Generations of the family lived in Copenhagen until the mid-18th century, when Ancher Antoni Nansen moved to Norway, his son, Hans Leierdahl Nansen, was a magistrate first in the Trondheim district in Jæren. After Norway's separation from Denmark in 1814, he entered national political life as the representative for Stavanger in the first Storting, became a strong advocate of union with Sweden. After suffering a paralytic stroke in 1821 Hans Leierdahl Nansen died, leaving a four-year-old son, Baldur Fridtjof Nansen, the explorer's father. Baldur was a lawyer without ambitions for public life, who became Reporter to the Supreme Court of Norway, he married twice, the second time to Adelaide Johanne Thekla Isidore Bølling Wedel-Jarlsberg from Bærum, a niece of Herman Wedel-Jarlsberg who had helped frame the Norwegian constitution of 1814 and was the Swedish king's Norwegian Viceroy.
Baldur and Adelaide settled at Store Frøen, an estate at Aker, a few kilometres north of Norway's capital city, Christiania. The couple had three children. Store Frøen's rural surroundings shaped the nature of Nansen's childhood. In the short summers the main activities were swimming and fishing, while in the autumn the chief pastime was hunting for game in the forests; the long winter months were devoted to skiing, which Nansen began to practice at the age of two, on improvised skis. At the age of 10 he attempted the ski jump at the nearby Huseby installation; this exploit had near-disastrous consequences, as on landing the skis dug deep into the snow, pitching the boy forward: "I, head first, described a fine arc in the air... hen I came down again I bored into the snow up to my waist. The boys thought I had broken my neck, but as soon as they saw there was life in me... a shout of mocking laughter went up." Nansen's enthusiasm for skiing was undiminished, though as he records, his efforts were overshadowed by those of the skiers from the mountainous region of Telemark, where a new style of skiing was being developed.
"I saw. At school, Nansen worked adequately without showing any particular aptitude. Studies took second place to sports, or to expeditions into the forests where he would live "like Robinson Crusoe" for weeks at a time. Through such experiences Nansen developed a marked degree of self-reliance, he became an accomplished skier and a proficient skater. Life was disrupted. Distressed, Baldur Nansen moved with his two sons to Christiania. Nansen's sporting prowess continued to develop. In 1880 Nansen passed his university entrance examination, the examen artium, he decided to study zoology, claiming that he chose the
Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi
Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi was an Italian mountaineer and explorer Infante of Spain as son of Amadeo I of Spain, member of the royal House of Savoy and cousin of the Italian King Victor Emmanuel III. He is known for his Arctic explorations and for his mountaineering expeditions to Mount Saint Elias and K2, he served as an Italian admiral during World War I. He was born in Madrid, Spain as the third oldest son of Prince Amadeo of Savoy, Duke of Aosta and his first wife Donna Maria Vittoria dal Pozzo della Cisterna. Prince Luigi Amedeo was a grandson of King Vittorio Emanuele II of Italy, he was born during his father's brief reign as King Amadeo of Spain. His siblings are Prince Emanuele Filiberto, Prince Vittorio Emanuele, Prince Umberto. Shortly after his birth his father, who had reigned in Spain since 1870, abdicated and returned to Italy in 1873. Prince Luigi Amedeo was a member of the House of Savoy, well known in Europe since the 12th century, his uncle became King Umberto I of Italy in 1878, his cousin became King Vittorio Emanuele III in 1900.
The title Duke of the Abruzzi was created by King Umberto I in 1890 for Luigi Amedeo, a son of the abdicating King of Spain Amadeus and was given the title of Infante of Spain. His ducal title referred to the central Italian region of Abruzzo. From 1893 to 1896, Luigi Amedeo traveled around the world, including Eritrea an Italian possession, Vancouver. In September 1893, he traveled to Italian Somaliland to quell the unrest and stayed for a month to guard the port of Mogadishu, giving him his first contact with a land to which he would devote the last years of his life and in which he would choose to die, he had begun to train as a mountaineer in 1892 on Mont Blanc and Monte Rosa: in 1897 he made the first ascent of Mount Saint Elias. There the expedition searched for a mirage, known as the Silent City of Alaska, that natives and prospectors claimed to see over a glacier. C. W. Thornton, a member of the expedition, wrote: "It required no effort of the imagination to liken it to a city, but was so distinct that it required, faith to believe that it was not in reality a city."Another witness wrote in The New York Times: "We could plainly see houses, well-defined streets, trees.
Here and there rose tall spires over huge buildings which appeared to be ancient mosques or cathedrals." In 1898, Prince Luigi Amedeo organized an expedition towards the North Pole and consulted the famous polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen that had sailed the furthest north with the Colin Archer built polar ship Fram in 1893-96. In 1899 Amedo acquired the Jason, a steam whaler of 570 tons, he took her to Colin Archer's shipyard in Larvik, Norway. The interior was stripped out and beams and knees strengthened the ship. In spring 1899 he arrived in the Norwegian capital Christiania with 10 companions and Stella Polare took the expedition through the frozen sea. On 12 June they headed for Archangel. On 30 June the Stella Polare dropped anchor in the docks of Arkhangel’sk and the duke was solemnly received by governor Engelhardt; the same day, Prince Luigi Amedeo was invited to meet the local authorities and the present foreign diplomats. On 7 July, a local newspaper wrote: The city theatre arranged an extraordinary spectacle in the presence of the Duke of the Abruzzi.
The drama The princess of Baghdad, consisting of three acts, was performed. Before the curtain was raised the orchestra had played the Italian royal anthem…Later the duke himself wrote about his stay in Arkhangel’sk: "Our departure was set for July 12. Early in the morning the church was open to us and we, although being Catholic, were allowed to join the mass. In the afternoon all the dogs were brought back on board to their kennels. In the evening the Stella Polare was escorted by two steamers down the Dvina. I still remained on shore, as well as Doctor Cavalli, in order to spend the evening together with our Italian friends. Next evening we left Arkhangel’sk. During the whole journey we saw flags being hoisted to welcome us…" Twenty men took part in the expedition, among them Captain Umberto Cagni, Lieutenant F. Querini and Doctor A. Cavalli Molinelli, they planned to go to Franz Joseph Land, in the Arctic wilderness, to establish a camp in which to stay during wintertime and, afterwards, to reach the North Pole by dogsled across the frozen sea.
Prince Luigi Amedeo established the winter camp on the Rudolf-Island. The expedition was to start at the end of the Arctic Night; the duke lost two fingers during winter because of the cold, which made it impossible for him to join the trip by sled. He left the command over the pole expedition to Captain Cagni. On 11 March 1900 Cagni left the camp and reached latitude 86° 34’ on 25 April, setting a new record by beating Nansen’s result of 1895 by 35 to 40 kilometres. Cagni managed to return to the camp on June 23. On 16 August the Stella Polare left the Rudolf-Island heading south and the expedition returned to Norway. During the expedition the northern coast of Rudolf-Island and two other islands were explored and measured. In 1906, inspired by Henry Morton Stanley's last wishes, the Duke led an expedition to the Ruwenzori Range, in Uganda, he scaled sixteen summits including the six principal peaks. One of them, Mount Luigi di Savoia, bears his name; the highest peak was reached on 18 June 1906.
The next great expedition, in 1909, aimed to climb K2 in Karakoram. A team led by Prince Luigi Amedeo reached a height of 6,250 m on the ridge in 1909; the standard route up the mountain (formerly known as
Jason was a Norwegian whaling vessel laid down in 1881 by Rødsverven in Sandefjord, the same shipyard which built Ernest Shackleton's ship Endurance. The ship, financed by Christen Christensen, an entrepreneur from Sandefjord, was noted for her participation in an 1892-1893 Antarctic expedition led by Carl Anton Larsen; the vessel reached 68°10'S, set a new record for distance travelled south along the eastern Antarctic Peninsula. The ship's first mate during the expedition was Søren Andersen of Sandefjord. Jason was rechristened Stella Polare. In 1888, Fridtjof Nansen captained Jason to Greenland in order to attempt the first documented crossing of the island. From 1892 to 1894, the ship was used on scientific whaling expeditions to the Antarctic, funded by A/S Oceana; the purpose of these expeditions were to map the presence of seals in the area. During this mission, Jason achieved a record of going the longest south in the area, reaching 68°10'S. Jason Peninsula Jason Harbour 54°12′S 36°35′W South Georgia Jason Island 54°11′S 36°29.5′W South Georgia Jason Peak 54°11.5′S 36°37′W South Georgia Cape Framnes Christensen Island: 65°5'S, 58°40'W Foyn's Land Larsen Ice Shelf Mount Jason: 65°44'S, 60°45'W Norway Sound Robertson Island: 65°10′S 59°37′W Seal Islands Veier Head: 66°26'S, 60°45'W In 1898 the Italian prince and explorer Prince Luigi Amedeo, Duke of the Abruzzi wanted to do polar expeditions.
He travelled to Norway and consulted the famous polar explorer Fridtjof Nansen that had sailed the furthest north with the Colin Archer built polar ship Fram in 1893-96. In 1899 Amedo renamed her Stella Polare and took her to Colin Archer's shipyard; the interior was stripped out and beams and knees strengthened the ship. At the same time, Colin Archer fitted out Southern Cross for polar expeditions and the two ships lay side by side at the yard in Larvik. Amedeo gathered an expeditionary crew of Italian and Norwegian civilians and sailed from Christiana on 12 June of that year. By the 30th, they had reached Russia to load sled dogs onto the ship. Leaving Russia, they headed for Franz Josef Land, they landed in Teplitz Bay in Rudolf Island, with a hope to establish a winter camp for the expedition. From here, they established a string of camps designed to supply each other with food and men. During the expedition, Amedeo lost two fingers to frostbite, had to hand command of the voyage over to Captain Umberto Cagni.
On 25 April 1900, Cagni planted the Italian flag at 86°34'N, claiming the title of "Farthest North." Amedo's uncle was murdered and the widow made a silver replica of Stella Polare at a cost of 12.000 lire and placed it at the virgin Marias wonder working picture in the cathedral of Torino, Italy. In July 1909 the Stella Polare was given as training ship for an association in Rome, she was taken under tow from the arsenal in Spezia and anchored at Ripa Grande in river Tiber, a little upstream of the Aventinerhights. There she caught fire. Larsen, C. A. "The Voyage of the "Jason" to the Antarctic Regions." The Geographical Journal, Vol. 4, No. 4. Pp. 333–344