Ziegler Polar Expedition

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The Ziegler expedition

The Ziegler polar expedition of 1903–1905 was a failed attempt to reach the North Pole. The party was stranded north of the Arctic Circle for two years before being rescued. All but one of its members survived.[1][2] The expedition was paid for by William Ziegler and led by Anthony Fiala. They left from Tromsø, Norway, on June 14, 1903, aboard America.

Planning[change | change source]

Ziegler chose Anthony Fiala, who was a photographer on an earlier mission, to lead his second polar trip.[3] Fiala calculated that the food for an eight dog team and driver would be at least 1100 pounds. This was an issue, as the most a sled could hold was 600 pounds. He planned to use ponies to carry the extra supplies. Then to feed the dogs on horse meat when the supplies were low.[4]

Isolation and rescue[change | change source]

The course of the America, 1903.

In November 1903 severe weather started. The ship broke up, destroying the provisions and coal.

The following spring, more tries were made to reach the pole by traveling both east and west. The conditions were too severe, and open water caused difficulties. Supplies ran low, and the expedition headed south. They reached depots at Cape Flora, Cape Dillion, and Camp Ziegler.[2]

William Peters, who was second in command, took this time to lead the crew in survey work. This helped to make maps and charts better.

With the knowledge that rescue ships would be sent to them, the expedition stayed hopeful. A rescue party, led by William S. Champ aboard the Terra Nova, sailed direct to the ice fields. On July 24, they encountered thick ice. This made the crew doubt they could reach their destination. However the ship reached Palmi Island on July 28 and Cape Dillion the following day. 6 expedition members were found there. More members were found at Cape Flora, and the Terra Nova returned to Cape Dillion. A sled party was organized, which brought back the crew.[2]

The Ziegler Polar Expedition at 82 degrees north latitude, March 1905.

References[change | change source]

  1. Fiala, Anthony (1907). Fighting the Polar Ice. Doubleday, Page & Company. p. 25.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 "Rescued Explorers Take of Privatations" (PDF). The New York Times. August 12, 1905. Retrieved 2008-07-08.
  3. Fiala, Anthony (1907). Fighting the Polar Ice. Doubleday, Page & Company. p. 23.
  4. Fiala, Anthony (1907). Fighting the Polar Ice. Doubleday, Page & Company. p. 43.