Shackleton's Epic Southern Ocean Voyage Deja Vous.........


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Trad climber
Jan 21, 2014 - 02:54am PT
Shackleton's SOUTH is out of copyright and available free in the usual text and eBook formats (EPUB,PDF,HTML, etc) and as MP3 audio files at:

The audio files are computer generated, and I find I do better having my computer's voice generator just read the files to me while I am driving.

The boat journey chapter:

And there is a an original audio recording of Shackleton lecturing on his earlier polar try. (MP3)

"My south Polar Expedition by Ernest Shackleton"
John Morton

Jan 25, 2014 - 02:20pm PT
Just finished watching part 3. A difficult journey for sure, and difficult to endure for the viewer. This extreme adventure film style is getting to me: the endlessly repeated litany of "no GPS", "100 yr. old clothing" etc., the talking heads, the relentless minor key soundtrack, the slanted editing that replays the biggest waves and the steepest slopes.

Shackleton's epic is all the greater for the contrast with this trip, which utterly failed to reproduce the conditions of 1916. A support boat that warns them off the rocks, with radio contact and satellite weather data and a doctor? Some North Face tents for when something goes wrong? And they skipped the part about camping for 7 months on ice floes before setting sail. And my favorite, the water bags of rotten hairy sealskin.

It's like a tightrope walk with a tether, or a free solo with a net just off camera. I'm not saying they should do it for real and die, I'm saying it makes no sense except as a paying TV gig.

Mountain climber
The Other Monrovia- CA
Jan 25, 2014 - 03:06pm PT
Not exactly what I think of when I think of sailing in the Roaring For...
Not exactly what I think of when I think of sailing in the Roaring Forties.
Credit: Reilly
Toker Villain

Big Wall climber
Toquerville, Utah
Jan 25, 2014 - 03:44pm PT
Mongrel, it was in 2000 I believe.

I caught it at the Field Museum.
They had reproduced the James Caird and surrounded it with big curved screens playing huge rolling waves.
I smuggled a camera in and snuck some shots. Good luck on banning cameras now.

The coolest thing was stopping on the way to Chicago at Norlin Library where I was given special permission to put on gloves and examine Frank Hurley's original prints from the expedition.

Trad climber
Montana, Whitefish
Jan 25, 2014 - 03:59pm PT
It is interesting to look at the differing experiences of the icebound Shackleton expedition with those of the ill-fated Franklin expedition.


Trad climber
Mountain View, CA/Boulder, CO
Feb 5, 2014 - 03:28am PT
I was going to right a scathing review of 'Chasing Shackleton', but John Morton(4 posts above) nailed it! Shackleton was probably laughing at all of them when they visited his grave site at the end of the show.
John Mac

Trad climber
Littleton, CO
Feb 5, 2014 - 08:04am PT
It was a bit over dramatized but still a pretty good effort and I'm sure it was difficult for them.
Sierra Ledge Rat

Mountain climber
Old and Broken Down in Appalachia
Feb 5, 2014 - 09:46am PT
Don't know if any of you have ever experienced or heard of a phenomenon called the "Third Man Factor," but apparently Shackelton experienced it:

From John Geiger's book The Third Man Factor:
"The Third Man Factor is a biography of an extraordinary idea: That people at the very edge of death, often adventurers or explorers, experience a sense of an incorporeal being beside them who encourages them to make one final effort to survive.

If only a handful of people had ever experienced the Third Man, it might be dismissed as an unusual delusion shared by a few overstressed minds. But the amazing thing is this: over the years, the experience has occurred again and again, to 9/11 survivors, mountaineers, divers, polar explorers, prisoners of war, solo sailors, aviators and astronauts. All have escaped traumatic events only to tell strikingly similar stories of having experienced the close presence of a helper or guardian.

The mysterious force has been explained as everything from hallucination to divine intervention. Recent neurological research suggests something else. In The Third Man Factor John Geiger combines history, scientific analysis and great adventure stories to explain this secret to survival, a Third Man who - in the words of legendary Italian climber Reinhold Messner - "leads you out of the impossible."

Trad climber
South Pasadena, CA
Aug 22, 2014 - 06:59pm PT
Just watched this. I wasn't familiar with the original Shackleton story, and it is bind-bogglingly epic. What these guys did to reenact it is certainly a cool adventure, certainly an endeavor that few people would relish or attempt or stick with as long as they did, in the best style they were able to do. But it is hubris and self-aggrandizement for them to equate their efforts to what the folks went through 100 years ago.

You can see at various spots where they relied on modern technologies where they would have died if they had been in Shackleton's place, and they never acknowledged that clearly in the documentary. It was a golden opportunity to talk about how hard it was to do what they had to do, a vantage point from which they could more fully appreciate how truly badass the Shackleton expedition dudes were (both the rescue crew and the folks left behind waiting).

On the other hand- how contrived is it to push yourself as hard, to dig as deep for a media event / history lesson / self-promotion? When you truly know there is no backup and death is the alternative, I'm sure wells of strength appear more readily. But a modern-day recreation can't dig that deep because we know there is a way out, and that changes everything.

For a climbing analogy, it's the difference between lead climbing with SAR a few pitches below you vs. free-soloing.

All that said, I have heard of few modern recreational adventurers that did something so badass. In some of their situations, even though they had a support system in place, it wasn't enough to prevent death in case of screw-up.

Trad climber
Mar 16, 2015 - 03:41pm PT
From the Shackleton era.

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