The Dogs at the South Pole

  • Mary R. Tahan


This chapter describes the final portion of the South Pole party’s trek to the coveted 90° S destination and names and identifies the sled dogs who reached the South Pole on December 15 (14), 1911, with specific details given regarding the dogs’ individual contributions in enabling the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition to attain this goal. The order of the men’s sledges and the formation of the dog teams are documented and analyzed, especially in light of Roald Amundsen’s on-and-off performance as forerunner. Events include the reaching of 89° S, on December 12 (11), 1911, at nearly 11,000 feet, in −23 ° C weather; Amundsen’s fear that the British had beaten him to the Pole, which is then mitigated by his confidence in his sled dogs; and the desperate efforts of the dogs as they attempt to sustain themselves while pulling the sledges to the Pole. Also presented in this chapter is the first act committed at the South Pole by the men, which involved the sled dogs; the erecting of the famous tent containing Amundsen’s letters to Robert Falcon Scott and the King of Norway, referencing the sled dogs; the amount of care and feeding of the dogs at the Pole; and the reconfiguration of the dog teams for the departure from the Pole on December 18 (17), 1911.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mary R. Tahan
    • 1
  1. 1.VancouverCanada

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