Remembrance: 1912 South Pole Trip Ends Tragically

One hundred years ago this week, British explorer Robert Falcon Scott reached the South Pole with a small crew of men. They all perished on the return trip. In 2008 on Weekend Edition, NPR's Daniel Zwerdling reported from the South Pole on Scott's tragic journey. To mark the 100th anniversary, we reprise that story.

The Pioneer Who Died for the South Pole

Robert Scott Discovers the Tent i i

hide captionRobert Scott and his party finally arrive at the South Pole on Jan. 17, 1912 only to discover the tent left by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS
Robert Scott Discovers the Tent

Robert Scott and his party finally arrive at the South Pole on Jan. 17, 1912 only to discover the tent left by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen.

Hulton-Deutsch Collection/CORBIS

A century ago, British Naval Officer Robert Falcon Scott sought to lead the first team to the South Pole. He and his men raced through miserable conditions and struggled with frostbite, the death of their ponies and a shortage of food, only to discover that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen beat them by five weeks.

Soon into the return trip, one of his men went insane and another disappeared. A final letter to Scott's wife reveals his unwillingness to succumb to the elements. Although neither he nor any of his men made it through the journey, the scientific data he collected survived. Scientists continue to rely on it today.

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