|Commander Robert E. Peary.
Photo courtesy of Robert Peary Stafford Collection.
This is the ship Peary designed and had custom built. With her
they were able to transport the expedition to their Ellesmere Island base camp.
Captain Bartlett used her as a 1,500 ton battering ram and crushed
great slabs of ice by riding up on them, then letting the weight of
the ship split them. It was said to be an exciting experience with Bartlett
shouted orders from the crow's nest, laughing, swearing, and having a good time
as they forced their way through pack ice to a point farther North than any ship
had ever over-wintered. The freezing ice did not harm the ship because Peary
had designed her to be forced upward instead of crushing. More..
||Peary commanded the expedition that left New York in 1908.
As a US Naval officer he was sent to the Arctic by order of his
Commander in Chief, President Theodore Roosevelt. Many people who worked
with him were impressed by his leadership qualities—he would ask a person
to do something, never ordered them.
Peary had tremendous
determination, unending drive and faith that he could reach the North Pole. His will
was so strong that he forced himself to march on even when he was in great pain
from his feet, the toes of which had frozen and been amputated in
1898. Despite this he hiked 1,000 mile with Henson around the northern
tip of Greenland mapping unknown territory. That's Peary!
Peary never let a few missing toes stop him from exploring—he
shuffled his legs on snow shoes so powerfully that on the 1909 polar
expedition he started the day breaking trail until the dog sledge teams
overtook him. Today Peary would be an athlete competing in "Iron Man"
type events. He is remembered as was one of the bravest and most
determined men in American history.
|Peary's safety record
|English adventurer Fiennes proved how dangerous
it is on the Arctic Ocean.
|Peary led expeditions into places more dangerous than you can imagine, an environment that
killed or crippled hundreds before him. Peary's discipline,
planning, and leadership made sure everyone came back uninjured—a
remarkable record of arctic achievement in itself. Recently,
for example a Japanese adventurer was killed and an Englishman had his
finger tips amputated
while trying to reach the Pole, even though
they had modern equipment.
Peary's expedition made everything
they needed according to designs Henson
& Peary perfected from 18 years of field experience.
That was a major key to their success. Lightweight hickory
sledges, polar bear pants, sealskin boots, and walrus
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hide leather still rival any modern
day synthetic material or aluminum alloy sledge. Powerful
wolf-like Huskies were the equal or better of any dog bred
today. Henson, Peary and their best Eskimo (today called Inuit)
men traveled lightly with high-fat, high-calorie canned pemmican
food, made their own alcohol stoves to keep warm & brew hot tea;
then slept snugly in their fur suits inside igloos.
|Why was there controversy over this?
Peary's 1909 dash to the Pole was so remarkable that it was
challenged as "impossible" by unqualified but vocal anti-establishment
themselves deceived by
relentless criminal fraud and vindictive
Cook. His daughter carried on a vendetta against her father's
critics as there was no way to redeem his criminal actions. Janet
Cook Vetters left a $1,000,000.00 bequest to institutionalize an
anti-Peary & Henson media campaign.
diary was made a public document at the National Archives,
Peary's ocean depth soundings confirmed by the US Navy, and two
Paul Landry and Paul Crowley, matched the dog sledge speeds. These each proved the veracity of what Peary and Henson had accomplished,
exactly as they said it was done. In additional Admiral Davies
and his son discovered
over-exposed negatives which Peary never published. Both images show
the sun at Camp Jesup and it is at the correct
distance above the horizon to have been taken at 90° North.
Today the denial of Henson & Peary is still advocated by a small
clique of ignorant, racist, or bitterly anti-establishment
individuals. These people are often as offensive as hate groups.
More enlightened historians celebrate
Henson & Peary's accomplishment as a spectacular feat equal to
scaling Mt Everest, or reaching the surface of the Moon.