The Nimrod Expedition: Shackleton's Earlier Ill-Fated Antarctic Trek

By | September 4, 2019

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Sir Ernest Henry Shackleton and two members of his expedition team beside a Union Jack within 111 miles of the South Pole, a record feat. Source: (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

If you were a fan of the 2002 real-life adventure movie Shackleton, then you know the story of how British explorer Ernest Shackleton kept his men alive after their ship was crushed in the freezing ice of Antarctica. Did you know that Shackleton made a few other journeys to the frozen continent prior to this 1914--1916 expedition? The first of these trips ended with Shackleton's humiliation, so on the second trip, the explorer had something to prove. This is the story of Shackleton's second trip to Antarctica and the first in which he commanded the expedition, which became known as the Nimrod Expedition

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Ernest Shackleton. Source: (

Something to Prove

Ernest Shackleton was a member of Robert Falcon Scott's 1901--1904 expedition to Antarctica. Shackleton and Scott did not see eye to eye on things, to say the least. Toward the end of the expedition, Shackleton collapsed from the physical exhaustion and had what was described as a physical breakdown, which most people would take as a cue to enjoy lots of soup and naps but he viewed as a sign of weakness and an assault against his masculinity. Even after Shackleton fully recovered, Scott relished reminding him—and his fellow explorers at the Royal Geological Society—of his shortcomings and weaknesses. Infuriated, Shackleton planned to get back at Scott the best way he could: by launching his own expedition and being the first person to journey to the South Pole