|Polar Team Work—the
It is very dangerous on the Polar Ocean.
On one occasion Borup's sledge started to slide into ocean, his dogs were in the
water but he was strong enough to pull
the it back and save his dogs. The sledge was so heavy it would have
dragged the dogs to the bottom of the ocean.
When camping with Captain
Bartlett the ice split open in the middle of camp while they were
Matt and Peary scrambled to save their dogs, and later rescued
Bartlett whose igloo was stranded on a sheet of ice surrounded by open
Teams went out ahead making the trail and building igloo camps. Igloos
with stoves, fuel, and food were waiting for
Matt and Peary as they brought up the rear. (Igloos are warmer than tents in
the Arctic) Supplies were brought up from the reserves at the
land camp called Crane City. Peary needed extra fuel for the
stoves so Marvin made a special trip back for more. After each team
had served their purpose by building a section of the trail they were sent back
to the safety of land.
After the last support team went back to land Matt, Peary, 4 Eskimos and
about 30 dogs
dashed the last 133 miles to the Pole. On the return trip it was faster to travel because there was a trail
to follow that had been made
by all the other dog teams. plus camps set up and waiting for them stocked
with food and fuel for the stoves. The plan worked perfectly, but only
because they enjoyed good weather. If storms had hit while they were far
out on the ice they might have died.
To see other pictures of how they used supply
teams to reach the Pole—here is a restored
illustration from 1910 that appeared in Hampton's magazine. It has not
been seen in print for 90 years.
|[From Henson's 1912 autobiography]
"...We were crossing a lane of moving ice.. when the block of ice I was using as a support slipped from
my feet, and before I knew it the sledge was out of my grasp, and I
was floundering in the water of the lead. I did the best I could. I
tore my hood from off my head and struggled frantically. ...I could not take hold of the ice, but...faithful old Ootah had
grabbed me by the nape of the neck, the same as he would have
grabbed a dog, and with one hand he pulled me out of the water, and
with the other hurried the team across. He had saved my life, but I
did not tell him so, for such occurrences are taken
as part of the day’s work...we
found the boys gathered around the Commander, doing their best to
relieve him of his discomfort, for he had fallen into the water
also, and while he was not complaining, I was sure that his bath had
not been any more voluntary than mine had been."