The Arctic: Exploration Timeline
The Maud at sea. © Public domain.
Having conquered the Northwest Passage and the South Pole, Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen sets his sights on the North Pole. He chooses to follow Fridtjof Nansen's idea of freezing a ship into the ice and floating to the Pole. However, the Fram is no longer seaworthy, so he builds a new wooden vessel, the Maud, similar to the Fram and with an egg-shaped bottom to lift under ice pressure and avoid being crushed.
The Maud departs from Oslo, Norway in 1918, and sets off through the Northeast Passage with the intention of being frozen into the pack ice north of the Bering Strait. However, the pack ice forms much earlier that year, and by September, the Maud and her ten passengers are frozen in for the winter. During the winter, Amundsen breaks his arm and is mauled by a bear. Finally, in August, the ice releases its grip on the Maud and the expedition continues eastward. One month later, the Maud is stopped by ice again, and frozen in for a second winter 500 miles short of Bering Strait. After another winter in the ice, they get through the Northeast Passage in 1920.