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January 16, 2013

Adventurers to Discuss Imperial Trans-Antarctic Centenary Expedition 2014

A team of adventurers who hope to traverse the Antarctic continent along the same route planned by Sir Ernest Shackleton in 1914 will discuss the ill-fated early expedition and their plans for 2014, in a lecture at the Library of Congress on Feb. 20.

Expedition leader Joanne Davies, team member Stewart Stirling and U.S. liaison Glenn M. Stein will present "By Endurance We Conquer: Ernest Shackleton and Lessons of Leadership for the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Centenary Expedition 2014." The talk will start at 11:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 20, in the West Dining Room on the sixth floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C.

The illustrated lecture, sponsored by the Library’s Science, Technology and Business Division, is free and open to the public. Tickets are not needed.

The team is determined to complete the mission that Shackleton once set out to achieve—to cross Antarctica from the Weddell Sea to the Ross Sea via the South Pole. Shackleton viewed his continent-crossing expedition as the last great polar journey after Roald Amundsen and Robert Scott conquered the South Pole in 1911-1912.

Shackleton’s expedition involved two ships. The Endurance was to carry the main party into the Weddell Sea to Vahsel Bay. From there, a team of six, led by Shackleton, would begin the trip across Antarctica. A second ship, the Aurora, would take a supporting party to the opposite side of the continent. That party would lay supply depots across part of Antarctica, from the Great Ice Barrier to the Beardmore Glacier. The depots were to hold food and fuel that would enable Shackleton and his men to complete their journey.

Both branches of the expedition suffered disasters. Endurance was trapped by pack ice near the coast and crushed by it in 1915. Shackleton guided his men to safety by sledge, and then by boat, for the next several months. The men did not reach civilization again until September 1916, but they all survived.

The Aurora was torn from her moorings along the Antarctic coast in May 1915, stranding 10 men ashore. Although sledging rations intended for the supply depots had been landed, the men were without adequate clothing or essential supplies. Despite their circumstances, the shore party had accomplished its goal of laying the depots. Meanwhile, the Aurora, with a crew of 18 aboard, drifted in the ice for more than nine months before breaking out and sailing to New Zealand for repairs. When the ship returned to Antarctica in January 1917, it was discovered that three of the shore party had died.

In the fall of 2014, following Shackleton’s intended route, Davies will lead five companions on skis for a three-month journey across Antarctica, covering more than 1,700 miles in the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Centenary Expedition.

At the Library of Congress, materials relating to polar exploration and the cold regions of the world are extensive and cover all disciplines relating to the poles, ice, snow and permafrost, including atmospheric and terrestrial physics, logistics equipment and supplies, and oceanography. Treatises on the results of voyages of discovery and exploration are likewise extensive and recount the adventures and exploits of explorers, cartographers, naturalists, and geologists to all parts of the globe. Their published notes, observations, maps and drawings chronicle their discoveries and enhance mankind’s knowledge of the world.

The Library of Congress maintains one of the largest and most diverse collections of scientific and technical information in the world. The Science, Technology and Business Division provides reference and bibliographic services and develops the general collections of the Library in all areas of science, technology, business and economics. For more information, visit www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds 152 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

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PR 13-002
01/16/13
ISSN 0731-3527

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