|"Came on at a good clip for about 4 hours
when the sledges over- took me. After that obliged to sit on
sledges most of the time ...or else run to keep up."
Peary; April 1, 1909
(below) 1969 British Trans-Arctic Team apparently sat
on their sledges letting the dogs do all the work. When the
dogs were exhausted fresh ones were flown in by the Air Force.
|(above) In this photo we see Wally Herbert's entire
team riding on grossly overloaded sledges (800 lbs of
equipment) requiring double the
number of dogs Peary used.
Yet Herbert, who only made one
camping trip to the Pole (supplied by airplanes) wrote a book
"Noose of Laurels" in which he tried to
Peary's North Pole accomplishment by declaring his travel speeds
were "impossible." This has since become a joke on Herbert, among
the Polar fraternity, since it is known he was simply an "overloaded
amateur" compared to the highly trained and immensely
experienced team of Henson & Peary. (Similar to a
3-hour marathon runner "proving" a 2-hour marathon time would
Herbert, a Scotsman, later declared himself the first person to reach the Pole by dog
team (not Peary & Henson) and sells paintings of the event for up to
$15,000 when he isn't selling himself as a lecturer on
"Peary's false North Pole claims".
At the time Noose of Laurels
was published, almost no one realized that Herbert was not
only unqualified to comment on how Peary traveled, but that he
deliberately lied about what was or wasn't in Peary's diary. For
facts about Herbert, read this
review by Douglas R. Davies.
|[Peary's Diary] April 1
"Came on at a good clip for about 4
hours when the sledges overtook me. After that obliged to sit on
sledges most of the time ...or else run to keep up. Kept the pace
for 10 hours....Have no doubt we covered 30 miles but will be
conservative & call it 25...April 3: Dogs frequently on
trot...April 4: over 10 hours on a direct course, 25 dogs often on
the trot, occasionally on the run. 25 miles....April 5: dog on
trot much of the time. Last two hours on young ice of a north &
south lead they were often galloping. 10 hours. 25 miles or more.
Great....April 6: The rise in the temp to -15˚ has reduced
friction of the sledges 25% & gives the dogs appearance of having
caught the spirits of the party. The more sprightly ones as they
trot along with tightly curved tails, repeatedly toss their heads
with short barks & yelps. 12 hours on a direct course. (30 miles)"
April1; (page c)
"Up to now I have intentionally kept in the extreme rear, to
straighten out any little hitch or encourage a man with a broken
sledge & see that everything is drawing. From here on I shall take
my proper place in the lead....(April 2) hard & level with patches
of sapphire blue ice (the pools of last summer, & with a
surrounded by pressure ridges, some of which almost stupendous,
yet easily negotiable either through some convenient gap or up the
slope of some huge drifts.)"
|Notice how lightly the sledges are loaded.
Henson & Peary were making a "dash" to the Pole from
the virtual highway of base camps made by all the support
teams and back again. They traveled fast because of light
loads, dogs in top condition, perfect weather, and because
they were the best dog team drivers. On the way back the dogs
simply followed their existing outbound trail—a fact that
makes travel much faster than blazing a trail.
Sat. Apr. 3
"Got on the trail 3 hours earlier this morning after a small sleep. Am
going to try & work in an extra march. Am training down. Took up another
hole in my belt this morning. Weather fine, clear & calm. Ice as yesterday
except at beginning of march it was rougher requiring use of pickaxes.
This & a brief delay at a narrow lead cut down our distance some. Ten
hours. (20 m.) half way to 89˚. Dogs frequently on trot. Some gigantic
rafters but not in our path."
Sunday Apr. 4
"Hit the trail again before midnight after a short sleep.
If weather holds good shall be able to make get in the extra march.
The day a duplicate of day before yesterday as to weather & going. The
latter even better. The surface is as even (except for the pressure
ridges) as the glacial fringe from Hecla to Columbia, & harder. Something
over 10 hours on a direct course, 25 dogs often on the trot,
occasionally on the run. 25 miles. Near end of march crossed a hundred
yard lead on thin young ice.
As I ran ahead to guide the dogs obliged to slide my feet & travel wide,
bear style. One runner of one sledge cut through for some distance but the
sledge kept up. The men let sledges & dogs come on by themselves & came
gliding across where they could. The last two came over on all fours.
Sledge ran over side of my right foot as result of my stumbling while
running but think it will give me no trouble. Am tired but satisfied with
our progress. We are in sight of 89˚. Give me three days more of this