Following Shackleton’s Footsteps on South Georgia Island
I’ve heard plenty of knowledgeable and smart people state categorically that Shackleton’s Endurance saga is the greatest survival story of all time. If you hang out in Antarctica, how can you not get amped for a 1914 expedition that set out to cross the continent on foot, instead got trapped for years in sea ice, watched their ship crushed and sunk by that ice, took to the lifeboats, fetched up on a ridiculously harsh and remote island, set off again with a select handful for 17 days in a tiny open boat on the world’s roughest ocean, fetched up on yet another ridiculously harsh but slightly less remote island, and then somehow got three men across unexplored mountains and glaciers to effect a rescue of the 22 men back at the first ridiculously harsh island.
I’ve gone to South Georgia seven times now with the goal of repeating Ernest Shackleton’s crossing of the island, and I’ve succeeded five times in getting across. I’ve ended up in some of the most powerful and dramatic storms of my life in attempting the crossing, such as trying to navigate mountain passes and big glacier crevasses when I could barely see the GPS in my hand through 70-mile-per-hour snow and rain. Hundreds of thousands of penguins, albatrosses, whales, elephant seals, jagged mountains, glaciers, violent storms, and the South Atlantic conspire to make the place unique and unforgettable.
Read the unabridged version of Dave Hahn’s Shackleton essay in the Eddie Bauer Spring Outfitter Book at
Sponsored by Eddie Bauer
Have you been here? Share a tip or a photo with fellow travelers.