Nearly 100 years ago, Norwegian Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to reach the South Pole. His team of five men and 16 dogs arrived at their destination in December 1911. Leaving behind a small tent and a letter stating their accomplishment, they returned safely to their base camp the following month.
Meanwhile, a British expedition, led by Robert Falcon Scott, set forth from their Antarctic base camp with the same goal of reaching the pole first. Upon arrival, they were disheartened to learn that Amundsen had beaten them by five weeks. Their return trip was hampered by deteriorating weather, dwindling supplies, and injuries. All five members of this team would eventually perish before reaching base camp.
Differing opinions of the two explorers have emerged over time. Amundsen is credited for his careful preparation, choice of appropriate equipment and clothing, and sole focus on reaching the pole and returning quickly. Scott is often portrayed as heroic but inept. He is faulted for bringing ponies instead of sled dogs, wearing heavy woolens instead of furs, and disdaining the use of skis.