Top Ten Things Not to Do Reaching the South Pole for the First Time with Roald Amundsen in 1911

Amundsen Party, 1911. Photo by unidentified

This week marks the 109th anniversary of explorer Roald Amundsen’s successful mission to be the first to reach the South Pole. Although it might be a might chilly, we should go there and experience what it is like. Let’s be sure to  take a list of the things not to do to prevent a tear in the time continuum. We will be toasty in James’s Oldsmobile on the way there. I would dress warmly since it is fifteen below zero F (-26.1 C) right now.

James Wainwright’s 1956 Oldsmobile from Eternal Road – The final stop. You should read this one on Amazon. Just click the car to go there. Hurry back.

Top Ten Things Not to Do Reaching the South Pole for the First Time with Roald Amundsen in 1911

10 If you go, do not mention Robert Peary’s expedition to the North Pole in 1909. If you do, at best, no one cared. At worst, you mentioned it to Roald Amundsen himself. (I guess no one filled you in, Marcel. Roald was all set to take off for the North Pole when Peary beat him to it. That’s why he went to the South Pole. I don’t know if it means anything, but he’s asking you to get out of the dog sled and walk.)

9 If you go, do not try to move into Tiny the WWF champ’s tent. If you do, at best, Tiny won’t be there. At worst, Tiny, who has skipped his last few court-mandated group sessions on anger management, thinks you are taking his property. (Don’t worry about the landing this time, Matthias. The snow is fresh and quite soft this time of year.)

8 If you go, do not suggest to Roald that you think power sledges would be better than sled dog arrangements. If you do, at best, he will be busy and not hear you. At worst, he will think your suggestion is meant to sabotage the expedition. (He heard that Robert F. Scott, his competitor, was using Siberian motor sledges, Siberian ponies, and dogs. Of course, he would have no way of knowing that Scott failed. He now thinks you are a spy, Myles.)

7 If you go, Do not make jokes about yellow snow. If you do, at best, your fellow explorers have already heard them. At worse, Roald will overhear you. (now you’ve done it, Montgomery. Roald now thinks you are an idiot. I hope he doesn’t ask where you came from.)

6 If you go, do not ask how much the expedition cost. If you do, at best, no one will know. At worse, you’ll ask Roald Amundsen. ( the problem is, Murray Roald had to mortgage his house to make up the expense shortfall.  He is totally in debt and is not happy with the question. Quick, ask him about his birthday.)

5 If you go, do not question what you are eating. If you do, at best, everyone will avoid the question. At worse, the cook will explain exactly what you are eating. (Due to the scarcity of protein, Marcelo. You are eating meat from the weakest dog. Yes, it had to be done, and don’t make a fuss about your Keto diet doesn’t include dog meat.)

4 If you go, do not ask about the earlier expedition in September. If you do, at best, everyone will walk away. At worst, you’ll ask Amundsen. ( Well, Marlon, this is a sore spot with Amundsen. It seems against the advice of his fellow explorers, he started out for the Pole too early. The September temperatures almost did the party in. They were lucky to get back to their base camp. Being a proud man, Amundsen doesn’t like to be reminded of his failures. He now wonders what to do with you.)

3 If you go, do not ask anyone to repeat the dark mirage story. If you do, at best, you’ll get no takers. At worst, Amundsen catches wind of your inquiry. (Around December 12th, 1911, Mickey the group spied what appeared to be a dark object on the horizon. They were all concerned until it was discovered to be their own dog droppings magnified by a mirage. Amundsen is warning you to forget the story. He’s the boss.)

2 If you go, do nor ask if the men are certain of the location of the South Pole. If you do, at best, you’ll get a yes. At worst, you will also face the ire of Amundsen. (You see, Marten,  Amundsen spent three days calculation the location of the pole. He is most certain. He now wants you to step outside with ut your coat. You don’t want to do that.)

1 If you go, do not ask the fate of second-place finisher, Robert F. Scott. At best, no one will know. At worst, you might be tempted to spill the beans. (Of course, you know, Makoto that Scott reached the South Pole on January 17th, more than a month after Amundsen. You also know Scott, and his party died on the way back to their base camp after reaching the Pole. If you don’t ask, you won’t be tempted to cause a tear in the time continuum.)

90 comments

  1. What I’m getting from this is that one should avoid Roald during this trip.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. He was a little obsessed, so yeah I think that is a good idea. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  2. aaaaa, #1 was a bit sad, and nope… I din’t know that about Scott. 😶

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Yes, it was sad. They ran out of luck for sure.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. On a similar note, at an IT seminar I attended some years ago, the keynote ‘motivational’ address was given by Sir Ranulph Fiennes. I had the honour of shaking his hand afterwards and received a complementary signed copy of his book Mind Over Matter: Epic Crossing of the Antarctic Continent.
    Now, six house-moves later, if only I could find it…

    Liked by 5 people

      1. There you go. What a keepsake. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      2. An excellent read, too. Now I’ve found it, I may give it another read.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That must have been a terrific address. (Unless of course, he hurrumphed through it.) Thanks for sharing that one, Keith. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. As I recall it, John, it was a good talk. Sir Ranulph was and is an accomplished speaker. Whether he’s still doing it at 76, I don’t know.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Seems like he should. 76 is just a kid.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Yellow snow…LOL! Good one, John. Happy Monday!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you, Jill. Have a good one as well. 😁

      Like

  5. Do you know that I’m born and raised in Roald Amundsen’s hometown, Fredrikstad? He’s my hero! 🙂
    I have been to the Polar Museum in Cambridge on several occasions, it’s worth a visit.
    Happy Monday! 🙂

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Thank you for adding that piece of interest, Dina. Have a great week. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  6. That was quite the adventure. Don’t know that I’d mortgage my house for it though.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. He was committed. In the end, it paid off but it was a gamble. Thanks, Craig.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. As Frank Zappa so wisely said:

    Watch out where the huskies go
    Don’t you eat that yellow snow.

    That dark mirage sounds like a strange occurance.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. They were all spooked by the dark mirage. Seems laughable now. Thanks, Liz.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re welcome, John. (I don’t think I want any additional information about the dark mirage.)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Hahahaha. Don’t blame you at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. All I said was “I hope the ceremony will make the CBS evening news.” How much harm could that cause? Um, why is Tiny coming toward me? Where are the keys?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Hahaha. I think he thinks you are an alien. CBS? What the heck is CBS? (Wasn’t founded until 1927)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. These explorers are all nuts. I’ll just wait here for the results…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Here, have a hot chocolate. Good move on your part. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You’re the best. Coming from you, it is appropriately spiked? 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      2. May have something in there. Seems silly to have a hot drink that isn’t spiked while you are waiting for an excursion to return. I’m just saying.

        Liked by 2 people

      3. That’s what I was thinking. But I didn’t want to assume, as one must never do.

        Liked by 2 people

      4. You know me, you can ask anything you want. 😁

        Liked by 1 person

      5. You are such a darlin’… Oh wait, that’s me! You rock, Boss!

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Thank you, Darlin’.

        Liked by 1 person

  10. I was going to ask Tiny about the possible results if the poles changed polarity – but I know better, I saw that he has missed some anger management sessions.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yean, probibly not a good time to ask about anything complex. Thanks, GP.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. Sounds like a trip I’d gladly skip.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes, Not for warm bloods for sure. 😊

      Liked by 2 people

  12. What a race to be the first. Sad about Scott. And it’s better not to know what you’re eating. Well done, John!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes, good advice, Jennie

      Liked by 2 people

  13. Gwen M. Plano · ·

    Crazy, amazing “Top Ten…” One of my sons is a very adventuresome type and would love such a trip. I, on the other hand, need modern conveniences. Does it count that I enjoy watching these feats on National Geographic or other channels? 😃

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I guess that counts. However, there should be a requirement that you sit on a block of ice while watching.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Gwen M. Plano · ·

        🤣

        Liked by 1 person

  14. Just reading this made me shiver and reach for a warmer sweater! Thanks for sharing, John!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yes. I can understand that for sure. Thanks, Jan

      Like

  15. It would be too cold for me! I guess asking for an electric blanket wouldn´t be a good idea.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The blanket would be okay, it’s the extension cord that might be a problem.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. D.L. Finn, Author · ·

    It makes me cold just thinking about it!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. And what about: Do not try to sleep outside because someone of the others snores?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Good advice for sure. Those nighttimes can be pretty severe in the winter.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. They ate dog?? I was okay with the cold and such, but no way — I’d have starved first. Guess I wasn’t cut out to be an explorer!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes dog. I would be right with you at the home base.

      Like

  19. Was the igloo building contest dropped from the celebratory festivities ? Back in the day – before global warming the Boy Scouts used to have an event called Camp Alaska. It involved hiking deep into the camp, away from cars and cabins and pitching a tent or other emergency shelter and spending 24 hours in the elements. Not quite the same. Similar enough except with out the dog meat. Does SPAM count ?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The team built guideposts out of blocks of snow so that when they came back it would be an easier trip. Spam would be a luxery.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The smart plan on their part. Yes canned mystery meat would have been a luxury. I know it was at camp Alaska. Good one John. PS – SPAM is starting to look like a luxury as opposed to leaving the house.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Left over from the A-Bomb shelter I’m guessing.

        Like

      3. Surplus. Heck I ain’t touching the emergency survival stock !

        Liked by 1 person

      4. Don’t blame you at all. Hope you have a can of pineapple around too. Very festive on Christmas day.

        Liked by 1 person

      5. SPAM is the #2 item in stock. Right after three finger ointment.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Hahaha. It’s real name is Three Finger Soothin’ Syrup.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. This was such an eye opener for me, having no idea how it ended. It gave me chills, no pun intended.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The history reads like an adventure thriller for sure. So many things went wrong for Scott. Amundsen’s team turned against him and so he only allowed five to accompany him to the pole. Armudsen left a tent and a note for Scott. He was criticized for not waiting for Scott to help him get back. Of course Amundsen had no idea when Scott would arrive. (Scott and three of his team died 11 miles from their base camp upon returning from the Pole. The fourth member simply wandered away from the other three and died a few days earlier.) High adventure indeed. BTW Teddy Roosevelt sent Amundsen a hearty congratulations.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I’ll bet. Teddy LOVED that sort of thing. Was tres’ San Juan Hill, just over ice. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Well said. 😁

        Like

      3. I tried to be brief, or a change. You always pop my I LOVE HISTORY file.

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I like that file. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      5. From one hysterical historian to another…:)

        Liked by 1 person

      6. I also like the alliteration of the title Hysterical Historian. Another t-shirt opportunity. 😊 We could throw the word Happy on the front and go overboard. Nah, let’s leave it the way you wrote it.

        Liked by 1 person

      7. It’s nice to have passion for a subject. History floats both our boats John, and as we know, that kind of ardor catches fire, hopefully, anyway.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. Ardor is always a good thing. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      9. I’ll say, whether it’s over a hottie, or a good bar of chocolate…ardor…wish we could bottle it.

        Liked by 1 person

      10. Would be great. Feeling listless? Here take an Ardor shooter.

        Liked by 2 people

      11. On the rocks. 🙂

        Liked by 2 people

  21. It would be hard for me not to grow attached to the dog team. Even harder not to want to spell my name in the snow.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Which reminds me of an old joke. Nixon looks out after a snow and sees written in the snow in urine “Nixon Sucks,” The secret service do an exhaustive investigation. “Sir,” the agent says, “We have run tests and can confirm the urine is Kissinger’s. “Well let’s arrest him,” says Nixion. “Before you do that you should know, the handwriting is Pats.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Buahahaha! I love it.

        Liked by 1 person

  22. I can’t help but wonder if after they reached the South Pole, Roald just threw up his arms and said, “Okay, well, I guess that’s a wrap folks. Time to head home.” Perhaps one of the whinier members of his crew said, “Seriously? This is it?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. They stayed for three days making sure they were at the Pole. Basically you are right, though. Roald did want to get back to announce his feat before Scott could get to the Pole and do the same.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Not so happy about the dog-eating, Roald sounds like one tough character, very competitive that lot.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Very competative for sure. Thanks, Noelle.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. And what about the Polar Bears, dear John? Should they be informed that the humans are arriving?😋😎☺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I think they should be informed since they will need to protect themselves. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Been busy lately (don’t ask with what). But I always save these to read when I come up for air.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Busy is good. No I won’t ask and it is always great to see you here. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

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