Popular Science Monthly/Volume 62/November 1902/Towards the North Pole
|TOWARDS THE NORTH POLE.|
THE collapse of Mr. Baldwin's expedition by Franz Josef Land and the return of Commander Peary and Captain Sverdrup from their abortive attempts to reach the Pole from the American side may make it interesting to give a brief account of the various efforts that have been made to push northwards towards this goal during the last 400 years. Mr. Baldwin's richly-equipped expedition was frankly stated to have as its almost sole object a dash at the Pole, and although both the expeditions of Commander Peary and Captain Sverdrup had other and more substantial objects in view, still, in each case, these were to be combined with an attempt to pass all previous records in this direction. We await details of Captain Sverdrup 's proceedings, but it is improbable that he has attained anything like the latitude achieved by Commander Peary.
During the latter half of the sixteenth century and the early years of the seventeenth, when so many stages of the long journey to the North Pole were covered, great progress was made in that section of the north polar area which lies to the north of Europe and includes the extensive land masses of Novaya Zemlya and Spitzbergen. Sir Hugh Willoughby, in the Bona Esperanza, 120 tons, Richard Chancellor, in the Edward Bonaventure, 160 tons, and Cornelius Durfourth, in the Bona Confidentia, 90 tons, first led the way in 1553. The first two vessels reached Kolguev Island, or as some claim even the southwestern shore of Novaya Zemlya, in about 72° N. latitude; but the extent of the voyage is uncertain, as in the following winter all on board, numbering some 62 souls, miserably perished of cold and hunger. There is no doubt, however, that Stephen Burrough in the Searchthrift pinnace reached 70°20' N. latitude in 1556 and sighted the coast of Novaya Zemlya. The next great step northwards in this direction was made by the Dutch mariner, William Barents. Sent by the merchants of Amsterdam in the Mercury, 100 tons, to discover a passage to China round the north of the island, he sighted on July 4, 1594, the west coast of Novaya Zemlya in 73°25' N. latitude. Continuing his journey, he passed the northern limit of the island, finally reaching Orange Island north of the 77th parallel. Two years later another stage in the direction of the Pole was covered. A Dutch expedition comprising two vessels, Barents being chief pilot of the one and Cornelius Ryp in command of the other, sailed north past Bear Island to Spitzbergen, and in following its shores, then explored for the first time, reached a latitude of close on 80°. Even this high northing was surpassed, however, by Henry Hudson in 1607, who, in a little vessel of 80 tons, the Hopewell, followed the Spitzbergen coast to a point by dead reckoning 81° N. Land was stated to have been seen as far north as 82°, but either the reckoning must have been erroneous or ice must have been mistaken for land. In 1612, however, Jonas Poole met at Spitzbergen Thomas Marmaduke, of Hull, in the Hopewell, who, Poole states, sailed as far north as 82°, two degrees beyond Hakluyt's Headland. If this statement is well founded, no further advance towards the Pole was made in this or any other direction that is, no well-authenticated advance for considerably over 200 years. But if Marmaduke 's claim is allowed, so must be the claims of the Dutch and other whalers, large numbers of whom for many long years thought nothing of passing 80° N. latitude, and in favorable seasons may possibly have reached a degree or two higher. Confining our attention, however, to authenticated records, and remembering that the highest northing calculated from observations that was reached by Hudson was 80°23′, we may mention, in this brief record of the stages passed in the journey northwards, the expedition sent out by the Admiralty in 1773 under Captain J. C. Phipps (afterwards Lord Mulgrave). Phipps reached 80°48′ N. latitude off the northwest coast of Spitzbergen. It is interesting to note that this was the polar expedition on which Nelson served. A more marked advance was made in 1806, when the famous whaler, William Scoresby, was able to advance good proof that he had reached 81°30′ N. latitude in the Spitzbergen Sea.
But it was reserved for Lieutenant W. E. Parry far to outdistance all his predecessors in the work of north polar exploration. Parry set sail in the Hecla in 1827, and making Trureaberg Bay, on the north coast of Spitzbergen, his base of operations, started northwards with two boats, which were fitted with steel-shod runners so that they might serve as sledges. In spite of the toilsome nature of the journey, he and his men pushed over the ice, piled with great blocks and bristling with splinters which pierced through boots and feet, to latitude 82°45′ N. Then it was found that the southerly drift of the ice practically counterbalanced the progress made during the onward march and the expedition was compelled to turn back. Before Dr. Hansen's ever-memorable expedition, Parry's was the highest northing attained in the Eastern Hemisphere. But it may be noted that the Austrian Lieutenant Julius Payer, who, in conjunction with Lieutenant Carl Weyprecht, discovered Franz Josef Land in 1873, reached in the following year the highest point on land yet attained in the Eastern Hemisphere, in 82°05′ N. latitude. Neither Mr. Jackson, Mr. Wellman, nor Mr. Baldwin established a record. Dr. Nansen's famous journey in 1893-96, on which the explorer made so great a stride towards the Pole, is still fresh in the minds of all. Here we will only recall that the Fram, after entering the ice near the New Siberian Islands, touched the 86th parallel in the course of her long drift westwards, while Dr. Nansen himself and Lieutenant Johansen, having left the ship in 84° N., finally reached (at least) 86°5′ N., in longitude roughly 90° E. Two years ago this record was surpassed by Captain Cagni, of the Duke of the Abruzzi's expedition, who reached 86°33′ N. latitude, the highest northing yet attained in either the Eastern or the Western Hemisphere.
Hitherto the passage north through Behring Strait has not led any traveller to very high latitudes. Behring himself discovered neither the strait nor the sea that bear his name. His utmost northing was 67°18′, attained on his first expedition in 1728. Exactly 50 years later Captain James Cook, the great navigator, reached 70°44 north, and in 1826 another British naval officer, Captain F. W. Beechey, who had been told off to cooperate with Franklin in his researches on the mainland of North America, attained the latitude of 71°08' N. Beechey's mate, Elson, pushed 126 miles beyond Icy Cape to Point Barrow, in 71°24' N. latitude. In 1849 Captain Kellet reached the first island to the north of Behring Strait, in 71°18' N., and six years later Commander John Rodgers, of the United States navy, surpassed Elson's latitude, his northing being 72°05'. But the highest latitude recorded in these seas was that attained by Commander GL W. De Long, of the United States navy, to the north of the Liakoff or New Siberian Islands. This group had first been reached from the north coast of Asia in 1770, by a Russian trader named Liakoff, and in 1823 Lieutenant P. F. Anjou, who since 1820 had been exploring among the islands in company with Lieutenant F. von Wrangell, had succeeded in getting as far north as 76°36'. De Long sailed through Behring Strait in the ill-fated Jeannette in 1879. The pack-ice was entered near Herald Island in 71°35' N., and for two years the vessel drifted westward and northwards. Wrangell Land, which De Long had thought was part of a continent, and on which he expected to winter, was passed in the summer of 1779; in June, 1881, Jeannette Island in 76°47' N. latitude was reached; later in the same month Henrietta Island, in 77°08' N. was passed, and then the Jeannette was crushed in the ice. The survivors drifted north to 77°36', the highest northing yet attained in those seas. How at last the north coast of Asia was reached, and how all but Chief Engineer Melville and eleven of the crew perished, does not here concern us.
Only a slightly, if at all, higher latitude than that reached by De Long has been attained by travellers following the east coast of Greenland. Hudson sighted this coast in 1607, in about latitude 73° north, and, according to the old Dutch chart of Gerrit van Keulen, as high latitudes were attained during the course of the seventeenth century as have ever since been reached in this direction. In 1654 Gale Hamke found land in 74°30’, in 1670 Lambert touched 78°30’. So difficult is the East Greenland coast of approach, however, and so little was known about it in the early years of last century, that the famous whaler, Captain William Scoresby, son of him whose northing off the coast of Spitzbergen we have already recorded, may well be said to have advanced a stage towards the Pole in this direction when in 1822 he surveyed and charted the coast comprised between latitude 73°30’ north and latitude 75° north. In the following year Captain Clavering, assisting Captain Edward Sabine, in his great pendulum work, reached Shannon Island in 75°12’ north, and saw the coast stretching as far as the 76th parallel. No higher northing was made until the second German North Polar Expedition visited the coast in 1869. After wintering on Pendulum Island, Koldewey and Payer followed the shore northwards in sledges, and in April, 1870, reached the extreme northing along the East Greenland coast—if we except that with which Lambert is credited on the old Dutch chart—of 77°01’. The stretch of coast between this and Peary's furthest on the north coast of Greenland still remains uncharted, though both Peary and Sverdrup professed to have its survey in view as one of their objects. None of these latitudes can compare with those attained by way of the Spitzbergen and Franz Josef Land routes. Indeed, the only route which may be said to rival these latter in the facilities it affords for approaching the Pole is that which runs between the west coast of Greenland and the vast land masses lying to the north of North America. In this direction the first stages of the long journey towards the Pole were covered by the expeditions which began to be despatched towards the close of the fifteenth century in search of a Northwest passage.
Leaving out of account the two uncertain records connected with the names of the two Cabots, as well as the unfortunate enterprise of Frobisher, we come to the brave John Davis, who made a great stride northwards. After twice barely crossing the Arctic circle, in 1585 and 1586, he set out a third time, in 1587, from Dartmouth. The expedition comprised three small vessels, the two larger of which were left near Gilbert Sound, while Davis pushed ahead in the third, a mere pinnace. On June 24 he reached 67°40’ N. latitude, and saw many whales, and on the 28th attained his highest northing, 72°12’, where be found the bold promontory which he named Cape Hope Sanderson. Hudson, of course, was far to the south of this in Hudson Bay, and it was reserved for William Baffin to reach what was, for more than two centuries, the most northerly point attained by this route. Robert Bylot, master, and William Baffin, pilot, set out from Gravesend in 1616, with 15 men on board the Discovery, 55 tons. Proceeding along the west coast of Greenland, they reached Cape Hope Sanderson on May 30. As they continued north, Women's Island was found and named in 72°45’. In 7345' the expedition was detained for a short time among natives of Horn Sound, but the ice broke up, and on July 1 an open sea lay before the travellers in 75°40’ N. Pushing across this, the expedition reached the entrance to what was named Sir Thomas Smith's Sound, and an extreme northing of 77°45’ was recorded.
When one takes into account all the attendant circumstances, this was really a most remarkable voyage, but, notwithstanding the success which attended it, Davis Strait and Baffin Bay were so neglected by explorers for the next two hundred years that when interest in this section of the north polar field revived, early in the nineteenth century, the narrative of Baffin's discoveries was quite discredited. The accuracy of his observations was soon confirmed, but not until 1852—unless it may have been some whaler—did any one push our knowledge of the Arctic regions in this direction a stage nearer the Pole. In that year Captain E. A. Inglefield, in the Isabel, coupled with a summer search for Franklin an attempt to ascertain whether Smith Sound was connected with the Polar Sea. On August 26, the expedition reached Cape Alexander, the most northerly point seen by Baffin, and Inglefield saw the open sea "stretching through seven points of the compass." He started to steam northwards, but twelve hours later, when only forty miles beyond Baffin's furthest, was turned back by the ice. His extreme northing was 78°21’. In the following year the Americans took the field. Elisha Kent Kane, in a vessel fitted out by Grinnell and Peabody, straightway broke the new record and reached and wintered in Rensselaer Harbor, 78°37’ N. In the summer of 1854 the surgeon of the expedition, Isaac I. Hayes, crossed Kane Sea to Grinnell Land, which he traced to Cape Frazer, 79°43’ N. In the meanwhile, on the Greenland side of Kane Sea, two other members of the expedition, William Morton and Hans Hendrik, reached and scaled the south side of Cape Constitution, in 80°35’ N., overlooking Kennedy Channel. These results were the more praiseworthy in that the expedition suffered terribly from scurvey and in other ways, and barely succeeded in reaching the relief expedition that rescued them in 1855. C. F. Hall was the next traveller to push back the line dividing the known from the unknown. Though neither a sailor nor a scientist by profession, he possessed all the qualities of courage and perseverence and endurance which go to the making of a great explorer, and, favored by an exceptionally open season, he succeeded, in 1870, in pushing right through Smith Sound, Kennedy Channel, and Robeson Channel to the polar sea beyond. Heavy pack-ice stopped his advance in 82°11' N. latitude. His vessel, the Polaris, wintered under an enormous floeberg in 81°37' north. Before winter really set in Hall journeyed by sledge northwards to the 82d parallel, and there saw land on the west side of Robeson Strait, extending north, as far as he could judge and subsequent observations practically confirmed his estimate to about 83°05' N. During the winter Hall died, and the other members of the expedition only escaped after experiencing a succession of disasters.
But the success which had attended the efforts of the expedition to reach a high northern latitude and the other valuable geographical results obtained, roused a spirit of emulation in this country. In 1875 was despatched the famous Nares expedition, in the Alert and the Discovery. They found all plain sailing as far as Cape Sabine, but beyond that point the ice conditions were as unfavorable to an advance northwards as Hall had found them favorable. By degrees, however, the Alert and the Discovery made their way along the West Greenland coast past Cape Lieber and across Lady Franklin Bay to Discovery Harbor. Here the Discovery wintered, but Nares, pushing north in the Alert, managed before the close of the summer to advance a step nearer the Pole than any who had previously followed the Smith Sound route. His winter station on the edge of the Polar Sea was in 82°25' N. But even this high northing was not to mark the limit of the expedition's success that year. Lieutenant Pelham Aldrich, whilst in command of a sledging party, reached on September 25, 1875, latitude 82°48' north, on the coast of Grinnell Land, and established what was then a world's record. In the following summer Aldrich was yet more successful, passing round the north end of Grinnell Land from Cape Columbia, in 83°07' north, to Cape Alfred Ernest, in 82°16' north. Meanwhile Commander A. H. Markham was attaining still higher latitudes. After following the coast to Cape Henry, in 82°55' N., Markham struck across the ice-bound Polar Sea in a direct attempt to reach the North Pole. He was accompanied by seventeen men, with two sledges, and after almost superhuman exertions reached a latitude of 83°20’. On the valuable work accomplished in other directions it is not now our purpose to dilate. It is curious to note, however, when one bears subsequent expeditions in mind, that the Nares expedition, successful as it undoubtedly was, was supposed to have closed that particular route to the Pole. "To send another expedition in that direction would," it was declared, "be a waste of money and energy."
In spite of this dictum, the Greely Expedition, sent north by the United States Government as a result of the International Polar Conferences of 1879-80, made its way up Smith Sound in 1881. The expedition remained in the polar regions three years, and carried out a series of very important scientific observations. But here we have only to record that it covered yet another stage of the long journey to the Pole. In April, 1882, Lockwood, with eight companions, started north from Newman Bay. Repulse Harbor was reached in five days after great exertions. From this point the conditions of travel were most trying, but the little party pressed on to Cape Bryant, where Lockwood decided to continue the journey with only Brainard and one of the Eskimo. Gradually they crept northwards. Towards the end "floes so high that the sledge was lowered by dog traces," ice so broken that the axe cleared the way, and widening water cracks in increasing numbers impeded progress; but, despite all obstacles, they reached, May 13, 1882, Lockwood Island, 83°24’ N., which remained the highest northing until Nansen made so great an advance towards the Pole.
Commander Peary's magnificent record has already been detailed in these columns. Here we need only recall that Peary set out on his last great expedition in the summer of 1898. Having come to the conelusion that no further advance was to be effected by way of the Greenland inland ice, he determined to push north through the great waterway that lies between the west coast of Greenland and the vast island masses lying to the north of the Dominion of Canada. Peary sailed in the Hope, and was followed by the Windward, which had been generously presented to him by Mr. Alfred Harmsworth. The two ships obtained some walrus in Whale Sound, between Hakluyt Island and Littleton Island, and then, while the Hope returned south, Peary turned the prow of the Windward northwards and endeavored to reach Sherard Osborne Fiord in Kennedy Channel. But the season was unfavorable, and Peary was compelled to winter 150 miles south of his objective, near Cape d'Urville. Leaving the ship towards the close of the year, Peary journeyed by land to Fort Conger, the headquarters of Greely's famous expedition, mentioned above. But this attempt to utilize the winter months for travelling delayed rather than advanced the expedition. In a terrible snow storm which overtook the little party, on New Year's Day, Peary suffered badly from frost bite, and on his arrival at Fort Conger it was found necessary to amputate seven of his toes. After this it was, of course, impossible for him to make any serious attempt to reach the Pole in the spring of 1899. Peary, however, had himself drawn about in a sledge, so that he might become accustomed to the conditions of travel in that region, and then, returning to the Windward, sailed for the Eskimo encampment at Etah, near Cape York. Here he found the Diana awaiting him with supplies. These were landed, and then both the Diana and the Windward sailed south, leaving Peary to winter at Etah and make an attempt to reach a high northing in the spring of 1900. A start was made from Etah on April 15 of that year. Following, apparently, the west coast of Greenland, Peary passed Lockwood's farthest north between three and four weeks later. The coast was found to run north some ten miles further to 83°39′ N. latitude, where it turned abruptly to the east. Striking across the great Polar Sea, Peary struggled on to 83°50′ N., where he was turned back by a considerable expanse of open water. Before he returned to headquarters, however, useful work was accomplished along the North Greenland coast, which was surveyed as far as Independence Bay, the point reached by Peary on his two great journeys across the inland ice-cap in 1892 and 1895. The winter months were spent partly at Fort Conger, partly at Meat Caches, 250 miles to the north.
Another attempt to reach the Pole in the spring of 1901 had early to be abandoned, as neither men nor dogs were in a fit condition to make any prolonged march. Peary accordingly made his way south, and on June 6 came across the Windward with Mrs. Peary and the explorer's little daughter on board. The Windward had gone north in search of Peary in the summer of 1900, and, failing to find him, had wintered in Payer Harbor near Cape Sabine. Here, too, in 1901, came the Erik in search of the Windward. Disappointment was naturally felt when it was found that Peary has failed to reach the Pole, or even to attain a higher northing than that of Nansen and Cagni in the Western Hemisphere. The strain of so long a sojourn in the Arctic regions had naturally been great upon a man of even Peary's iron physique and dauntless courage, but the explorer determined to make one last effort this year. Both the Windward and the Erik sailed south in August, 1901. So far as can be made out from the telegrams to hand, Commander Peary has followed, as far as practicable, the plans which he had laid down according to the information brought home by the Erik, which left him on August 20, 1901, in his temporary camp on the south side of Herschel Bay, on the west side of Smith Sound, about a dozen miles southwest of his permanent quarters at Payer Harbor, near Cape Sabine, about 78°45′ 1ST. He was then stated to have been well provided with all necessaries, although the difficulty of taking sufficient food for the dogs was regarded as rather a serious one. It was also stated that he intended to take with him a "marine equipment," so as to be able to cross open water wherever it should occur. The telegrams to hand do not refer to a boat as part of the equipment, but, as open leads of water were met with, it is presumed that the expedition had some means of crossing them.
The move northwards began with the advance party of six sledges in charge of Peary's faithful colored companion, Henson, on March 3, followed three days later by the main party with 18 sledges. These parties, no doubt, traveled northwards along the ice foot on the American side, close to the shore, the distance to Fort Conger on the north shore of Lady Franklin Bay, which was the heaquarters of the Greely expedition, being some two hundred miles. Fort Conger lies about 81°50′ N. Apparently little time was spent at Fort Conger, and a fresh start was made for Cape Hecla, which lies a little to the south of the 83d parallel, to the northwest of the northern end of Robeson Channel. If, as is probable, the journey continued to be made along the ice foot, the distance to be covered was not far short of one hunderd miles. Evidently the water right across to Greenland in this channel was remarkably open, while open stretches of water were visible as far as could be seen to the north. From Cape Hecla a start was made on April 1 to face the serious task which Commander Peary had set before him—an advance northwards, if possible, to the Pole. Commander (now Admiral) Markham's furthest north, 83°20′26″, was reached on May 12, 1876, at 64° W. longitude. Markham started from Cape Joseph Henry in 82°55′ N. on April 10, so that he took one month to reach his furthest point about thirty miles to the northwest of his starting point. The difficulties which he met with in trying to surmount the hills of palæocrystic ice which had been thrown up along his route seem to have been greater than even those encountered by Peary. And it should be remembered that Markham had no dogs, and only two sledges and 17 men. The same palæocrystic ice, due to pressure and the piling up of floe upon floe, seems to have been met with by Peary, although he encountered open leads of water and floes in motion. Although he only reached 84°17′ N., about 75 miles to the northwest of his starting point, in order to accomplish this he seems to have been compelled to make long detours. But, as further progress with the means at his disposal was utterly impossible, he had to give up, and was back at Cape Hecla again on April 29, and at his headquarters at Cape Sabine about a fortnight later. Although Commander Peary seems to have met with more open water than did Commander Markham, still the conditions here seem to have been essentially the same as they were in 1876. The vast masses of ice which come down from the north have no adequate exit south of 83° N., so that they are bound to accumulate under the immense pressure that must take place, and so produce those palæocrystic ice ranges which seem to render advance impossible in this direction. It is possible that, had Commander Peary had more abundant means at his disposal, and been able to continue still further to the north, he might have found the conditions more favorable; but the record of this, as of previous attempts in the same direction, seems to confirm the opinion of distinguished Arctic authorities that the Pole is not to be reached by this route. No doubt Commander Peary will have an exciting story to tell, but those interested in the advance of knowledge will anxiously await details of the abundant scientific results which he is reported to have accomplished. Meantime, although he holds the record on the American side of the Polar area, on the other side he has been surpassed by Captain Cagni by over two degrees—about 150 miles.
With regard to Captain Sverdrup, who left Godhavn, in Greenland, on August 8 and has just arrived in Norway, it is evident that he has been quite unable to carry out his somewhat ambitious program, which, besides getting as far north as possible, included a survey of the northeast coast of Greenland. When last seen, in 1899, the Fram was making for Jones Sound (misprinted Soner Sound in the telegram) and to that region he seems to have devoted his attention during the past three years. On the north of Jones Sound lies Ellesmere Land, about which we know but little. Captain Sverdrup has apparently surveyed the south and west coasts of that region, and if he has carried his explorations far enough north and west to connect with the results of previous expeditions he will have accomplished a fair amount of good work. But unless he has done much more it can hardly be said that he has fulfilled the expectations of his many admirers and friends. But before expressing any opinion on the results of the expedition, we must await further information. In Jones Sound he certainly selected a region of which our knowledge is slight and defective. In a memorandum on the subject, by Sir Clements Markham, president of the Royal Geographical Society, some interesting information is given as to the progress of our knowledge in this particular region. Jones Sound was discovered by Baffin in 1616, but no other expedition approached it until that under the command of Sir John Ross in 1818. In 1848 a Scotch whaler sailed up the Sound for a hunderd miles, until stopped by ice. In 1851 it was explored by Admiral Sir Horatio Austin who was stopped by ice about 60 miles from the entrance. In 1852 he was followed by Captain Inglefield, and from their explorations it became clear that Jones Sound was a channel leading to the Polar Sea, and not a mere bay or inlet. Possibly that is the reason which induced Captain Sverdrup to make his way into it with the Fram; but, as the Polar ice comes crowding down from the north among the numerous islands which seem to stud the sea to the west of Ellesmere Land, it is doubtful if a route in this direction is practicable.
Now that Peary and Sverdrup and Baldwin have all three returned from their abortive attempts to reach the Pole, the only expedition left in the Arctic region is that under Baron Toll, the well-known Russian explorer, who is at work in the direction of the New Siberian Islands, in search of what is known as Sannikoff Land, which is supposed to exist still further to the north. Of Captain Bernier's proposed North Polar expedition nothing has recently been heard.
In conclusion, Commander Peary's work in the interior of Greenland before his last great expedition ought not to be forgotten. His additions to our knowledge of the Greenland ice-cap are very important, seeing how little is known of the interior of the country. Geological investigations carried out by Giesecke in 1806-14 along the west coast of Greenland for 60° N. to 73° N. form the basis of our knowledge of the geology of this vast island. The Danes have done much useful work along the southwest and southeast coasts, and the comparatively narrow strip of territory between the sea and the ice-cap is very well known from the 66th parallel on the east coast round to the 75th parallel on the west. Attempts to cross Greenland from west to east were early made. In 1728 Major Pars even set out at the head of an armed mounted force. But for long all attempts failed. Dalager, Rae, Brown and Whymper were unsuccessful in their efforts to explore the ice-cap. In 1870 Baron A. E. Nordenskiöld could only penetrate some 35 miles inland from the head of Auleitsivik Fiord, to an elevation of 2,200 feet. In 1878 Lieutenant Jensen reached a point 47 miles inland from Frederikshaab, where he found the ice 5,000 feet above sea level. In 1883 Nordenskiöld again visited Greenland, and made fifteen marches on the inland ice from the same point as before. He himself penetrated only a little way, but the Lapp ski-runners whom he had taken with him mounted the ice for 140 miles, reaching an elevation of 6,600 feet. At last Nansen effected the crossing from east to west. Umivik, the starting point, in 64°45′ N. latitude, was reached only after many hardships on August 10, 1888. By August 27 he and his companions, five in number, had ascended 7,000 feet, but only advanced forty miles. The ice-cap, however, was found to terminate in a broad flat plateau from 8,000 feet to 9,000 feet high, and over this such rapid progress was made that the west coast was reached, some fifty miles south of Goothaab, on September 29. Peary's crossings were effected in the reverse direction, and across the northern end of Greenland. After a preliminary journey from Disco Bay in 1886, Peary made his first attempt from McCormick Bay early in 1892, and, striking due northeast, came out on the north coast at Independence Bay. This journey was repeated in 1894, and briefly Peary may be said on these occasions to have determined the relief of an exceptionally large area of the inland ice, to have delineated the northern extension of the great interior ice-cap, to have demonstrated the insularity of Greenland, and to have proved the existence of detached land masses to the north. A valuable account was also obtained of the Smith Sound Eskimo.
- ↑ From the London Times.