How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Discussion of Bushwalking, Hiking, Trekking, Tramping, Rambling and Camping elsewhere around the world.

How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Tue 25 Feb, 2014 11:45 am

As Ben Saunders sat in his tent updating his blog, the Antarctic wind in a foul mood outside, he could no longer feel his fingertips. Saunders and his co-explorer Tarka L'Herpiniere were 99 days into what would become a 105-day trek recreating - but, crucially, surpassing - Captain Scott's ill-fated 1912 expedition across the South Pole.


http://www.nzherald.co.nz/world/news/ar ... d=11209656

http://scottexpedition.com/
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby Giddy_up » Tue 25 Feb, 2014 6:53 pm

Just bad luck more than anything. There was no way they could have planned for the weather that they experienced through late February and into March.

http://www.coldestmarch.com/popwins/Figure62.html

I'm not sure how you cope in those temps at the best of times let alone when they turn as dire as Scott experienced.
causa latet, vis est notissima
User avatar
Giddy_up
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Tue 19 Feb, 2013 6:34 pm
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Tue 25 Feb, 2014 7:09 pm

i saw a doco, scotts crew used wool for insulation,,, it meant they burnt up valuable energy just trying to stay warm in the poorly insulating wool compared to amundsens far warmer animal fur clothing, plus amundsen was using dog sleds to carry gear sparing them from using more energy, they stayed in better health, the dogs made their trip a lot quicker as well. and as you mentioned the weather was about as bad as it gets in summer in the antarctic using up even more enrgy fighting strong winds and severe cold...
they gave the clothing numbers as regards insulation value, but i forgot what they were exactly, but an arctic down suit is a 9, street clothes witha jersey are a one, scotts outfit was still relatively low maybe around 2 or 3? the fur was a few points higher.
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby Giddy_up » Tue 25 Feb, 2014 8:08 pm

Without a doubt the clothing and equipment would have made a significant difference to the respective parties success. If you add all those little 10%er numbers like the R value of clothing, dog sleds etc, you tip the advantage hugely one way. Very interesting stuff for sure wayno, just wonder how our new modern equipment and men would have endured such conditions as experienced by Scott.
causa latet, vis est notissima
User avatar
Giddy_up
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Tue 19 Feb, 2013 6:34 pm
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby icefest » Tue 25 Feb, 2014 8:25 pm

wayno wrote:they gave the clothing numbers as regards insulation value, but i forgot what they were exactly, but an arctic down suit is a 9, street clothes witha jersey are a one, scotts outfit was still relatively low maybe around 2 or 3? the fur was a few points higher.

I'm 90% sure you are talking about clo values.
Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful.
User avatar
icefest
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 3820
Joined: Sat 28 May, 2011 12:19 am
Region: Victoria

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby nq111 » Tue 25 Feb, 2014 8:58 pm

Lost 20kg! They would have done well to study up on Roald Amundsen, the Norwegian who beat Scott to the South Pole by a few weeks.

Amundsen really knew what he was doing, he got to the pole and back almost casually and even managed to put on weight over the trip. He was light, fast and studied polar skills with the Eskimo's intensely. Scott figured he would make it with stiff upper lip and tonnes of redundant gear.
User avatar
nq111
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
Phyllocladus aspleniifolius
 
Posts: 949
Joined: Mon 07 Mar, 2011 9:27 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Wed 26 Feb, 2014 4:15 am

amundsen ate some of his dogs. which was always part of the plan, they didnt get scurvy which scott's men did, scurvy would have further lowered their already rock bottom energy levels. todays explorers usually have supplements to keep scurvy at bay
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Wed 26 Feb, 2014 5:57 am

amundsen had spent a lot of time living with the Inuit and learning from them. he was basically wearing their design of clothing and using a modified version of their dog sleds. he saved on resources by living in snow caves the winter before his antarctic crossing. during the winter he further refined the design of his clothes and sleds...
scott had a team of dogs as part of the wider antarctic expedition, he was depicted in a TV series as reprimanding the sled dog driver from going too fast and driving the dogs too hard when he was left behind on an earlier trip in the antarctic and never thought further about including them.
he had tried motorised tractors which were still far to unreliable. and tried ponies which couldnt cope in the cold...
at the last minute he added an extra person to the south pole attempt , that person didnt have ski's so had to walk, slowing them down.
scott was military through and through, didnt seem big on listening to other peoples opinions, he gave orders and didnt expect discussion over them.. he was a product of his training, he ran the expedition as he would have carried out his job as a naval officer. focused on following established practices thoroughly while paying some attention to new untested technology and try and use them without testing them thoroughly in advance. compared to amundsen who was quite happy to live like a native and abandon any preconceived notions about how to conduct himself in the wilderness.. so to some extent he was a thorough military professional... but the decisions he took eventually sealed his team to their fate in the conditions they encountered, they wasted a lot of time and energy looking for rock samples as per their original plan, possibly this may have been the tipping point that doomed them to their fate, but they could also have abandoned the expedition at any time, although scott was a very duty bound man, and abandoning may hot have sat well with him at all. he did his utmost to complete the trip but underestimated the toll it would take... i think his later diary entries revealed a bit about how the conditions were far worse than he expected to encounter. how many of todays explorers would persist under such conditions if they were completely isolated from the outside world with the gear of the time...
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Wed 26 Feb, 2014 2:25 pm

Drama on the Scott Amundsen trips to the Pole

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P8hB3TPE ... FE85A277B6
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Thu 27 Feb, 2014 5:38 am

doco here on scotts trip, cheesy beginning but gets better

from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby Orion » Thu 03 Apr, 2014 3:59 am

wayno wrote:amundsen ate some of his dogs. which was always part of the plan, they didnt get scurvy which scott's men did, scurvy would have further lowered their already rock bottom energy levels. todays explorers usually have supplements to keep scurvy at bay


Admundsen also ate a lot of lightly cooked seal meat. They even had vitamin C rich berries from Norway.

Scott had bad information about scurvy, believing that it was caused by tainted meat. The expedition physician was a proponent of this erroneous theory. Even though the protective effects of lemon juice had been demonstrated 150 years earlier it wasn't fully understood exactly what was going on. For example, scurvy still occurred in the presence of citrus juice that had been boiled. This lead many to question its preventative power and instead look for substances that cause scurvy. In any case Scott's rations were completely lacking in vitamin C.

Image
Scott's Polar ration: 450g biscuit, 340 grams pemmican, 85g sugar, 57g butter, 24g tea, 16g cocoa. This ration contains about 4500 calories (sledging requires 6500) and no vitamin C.

To what extent it was scurvy as opposed to inadequate clothing, bad luck with the weather, foolish experiments with mechanical sleds or poor planning we'll probably never know for sure. But it seems likely that it played a role.
Orion
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1883
Joined: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 1:33 pm
Region: Other Country

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Thu 03 Apr, 2014 4:41 am

captain cook used sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) to prevent scurvy in his sailors. he made it compulsory eating...
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby Orion » Thu 03 Apr, 2014 6:53 am

wayno wrote:captain cook used sauerkraut (pickled cabbage) to prevent scurvy in his sailors. he made it compulsory eating...


That's right. Cook had to make it compulsory because the crew didn't like his sauerkraut. But it was very effective. And that was 150 years prior to Scott. So it would seem on first glance that Scott was a fool for not taking similar precautions. But in fact he did take precautions -- just the wrong ones. The science of the day was not yet up to the task. The concept of vitamin deficiency didn't exist and nobody really knew what caused scurvy. It was noticed that fresh meat was protective but spoiled meat was not and so it was understandable that many believed there was some agent in spoiled meat that was responsible. Scott went to great lengths to insure his tinned meats were not spoiled.

I've been reading a book about the history of various chemical compounds. In the chapter on ascorbic acid the authors discussed Cook, Scott and others.
Orion
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1883
Joined: Mon 02 Feb, 2009 1:33 pm
Region: Other Country

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Thu 03 Apr, 2014 7:00 am

of course today curvy is unknown on long expeditions nutritionists are usuually involved to make adventurers are getting the best diet they can in the conditions and at least avoiding deficiency didseases.. Back then it was a major problem. i think cook would have crew flogged if they refused to eat their sauerkraut.
scurvy had been a very widespread killer on long voyages. Magellan lost a significant number of his ships crews from scurvy, they were all suffering severely from it when they completed their round the world trip... as did a lot of the other long distance sea voyagers.
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby mikethepike » Sun 06 Apr, 2014 11:44 pm

nq111 wrote:Amundsen really knew what he was doing, he got to the pole and back almost casually and even managed to put on weight over the trip. He was light, fast and studied polar skills with the Eskimo's intensely. Scott figured he would make it with stiff upper lip and tonnes of redundant gear.

Your likely exaggerations aside nq111, I expect that what you wrote is true but I think that (hypothetically) if Scott had started at the same location and time as Amundsen, then his party would have safely completed the trip though taking much more time than the Norwegian party. Scott's route was significantly longer than Amundsen's which didn't help his cause but I'm not sure by how much. Apart from that, Scott's group would almost certainly have got back home safely if it wasn't for the very unseasonal weather that struck his party late in the return journey. This wouldn't be the first time that an expedition has come to grief due a to a marked extent to putting the glory of the Union Jack before precaution - ie more time spent on weighing up the options and less emphasis on rivalry. Of course in that respect, Scott's timing for the trip was greatly constrained by seasonal factors. The point about scurvy affecting the party surprised me -I thought the British could have done better. :o
User avatar
mikethepike
Athrotaxis cupressoides
Athrotaxis cupressoides
 
Posts: 362
Joined: Tue 11 Nov, 2008 5:31 pm

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby Don R » Mon 14 Apr, 2014 12:55 am

The old saga of Scott vs Amundsen appears again. History has not been too kind to Captain Scott. The stereotype is that Scott was this blundering amateur left behind the professional super competent Amundsen. The reality is far more nuanced.

1. Amundsen had actually less Antarctic experience than Scott (Amundsen's was limited to one largely ship bound winter in the ice)
2. Amundsen started closer to the pole than Scott because he took the risk of camping on sea ice rather than dry land, and almost paid a fatal price for that;
3. he set out in September in a desperate attempt to "steal a march" on Scott and was lucky not to lose anyone when driven back by extreme weather.
4. Amundsn had no pretensions of doing scientific or surveying work, he was there to race to the pole and get back;
5. Scott left later than Amundsen to have a better chance of good weather;
6. Scott tried various means of transport (Siberian ponies, a motor tractor) to ferry supplies across the ice, but the results were mediocre at best;
7. Scott did some scientific work ( geological and meteorological) during the trip;
8. Weather reports now show that Scott had the misfortune of coming back in some of the worst weather recorded in a century.
9. Travelling on the ice was undoubtedly better accomplished by Amundsen than Scott's party;

If you read Roland Huntford, an armchair explorer with no direct experience of polar travel, Scott was a clown given his job because the Royal geographical Society's president thought he was an "pleasing" gent. If you read "Captain Scott" by Ranulph Fiennes, who has walked across Antarctica, you will come away with a much better appreciation of the man and his attempts at the South Pole. Still for company I would prefer Ernest Shackleton.
Don R
Atherosperma moschatum
Atherosperma moschatum
 
Posts: 62
Joined: Fri 16 Sep, 2011 11:24 pm
Region: Queensland

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby Giddy_up » Mon 14 Apr, 2014 4:45 am

"For scientific leadership, give me Scott; for swift and efficient travel, Amundsen; but when you are in a hopeless situation, when there seems to be no way out, get on your knees and pray for Shackleton." — Sir Raymond Priestley.
causa latet, vis est notissima
User avatar
Giddy_up
Athrotaxis selaginoides
Athrotaxis selaginoides
 
Posts: 1093
Joined: Tue 19 Feb, 2013 6:34 pm
Region: Queensland
Gender: Male

Re: How two men succeeded where Captain Scott failed

Postby wayno » Mon 14 Apr, 2014 5:42 am

amundsen had a massive amount of arctic experience, far more than Scott's antarctic experience. and it turned out to be far more useful experience.
he had lived with the Inuit and picked up a lot of their skills, he was essentially wearing inuit fur clothe,swhich were far warmer than the woollen clothes of scott. he learned his sled dog experience from them.
from the land of the long white clouds...
User avatar
wayno
Lagarostrobos franklinii
Lagarostrobos franklinii
 
Posts: 8669
Joined: Sun 19 Jun, 2011 8:26 am
Location: NZ
Region: New Zealand
Gender: Male


Return to International

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests