Expedition News
March 2009 – Volume Sixteen, Number Three

EXPEDITION NEWS, now in its 15th year, is the monthly review of significant expeditions, research projects and newsworthy adventures. It is distributed online to media representatives, corporate sponsors, educators, research librarians, explorers, environmentalists, and outdoor enthusiasts. This forum on exploration covers projects that stimulate, motivate and educate.


It depends upon who you speak to. Most historians credit Admiral Robert E. Peary as first to hammer "The Big Nail," the term Greenland Eskimos used to describe the North Pole. But speak to members of the Frederick A. Cook Society, and they'll send you a 64- page annual journal defending their man as first to the Pole by about one year. Of course, Cook's credibility wasn't much enhanced by his conviction for mail fraud in 1923, followed by seven years in Leavenworth Federal Prison.

It's generally believed that nearly 100 years ago, Peary and Matthew A. Henson, along with a team of Inuit, became the first men to reach the North Pole. Peary and his entourage of 23 men and 133 dogs set off from Ellesmere Island on a bitterly cold March 1, 1909. As they traveled north, they lightened their loads and reduced the size of their party. Only six men, Peary, Henson, and four Polar Inuit, Oatah, Egingwah, Seegloo, and Ookeah, were left to set foot on the Pole on April 6, 1909. For 80 years, skeptics disputed the claim, and although the Navigation Foundation upheld it in 1989, the controversy remains.

Regardless of what Cook's stalwart followers maintain about the veracity of their man's claims, a number of commemorative events next month will honor Peary's accomplishment. They include: