Status: Indexed


in a hurry and erred as it is always humanly possible
to do.

On pp. 295-298 of “The Friendly Arctic” I am long ago
on record to show that my own experience of many years
and the advice of three traveling companions, one at least
of them equally experienced, did not save me from deciding to cross a belt of ice which broke under the sled just
as we were reaching a strong floe on the farther side. Had
that ice broken a tenth of a second sooner we should have
lost our sledge and we might have starved to death a few
days or weeks later. Under slightly different circumstances we might have made the same decision with a
result fatal almost instantaneously to all of us. These
are chances that all arctic travelers take; they have led
to more arctic tragedies than any other cause. The
reader will remember from Hadley’s narrative in the
early part of this book how on one occasion Munro and
Malloch with a team broke through thin ice, got soaking
wet, and barely escaped drowning; and how on another
occasion Munro’s party broke through again with loss of
a team and sledge in the water and the separation of
the men into two parties—a very narrow escape. Hadley’s opinion also was that the party of Anderson, the
mate of the Karluk, were drowned, not by walking on
thin ice in good weather, but under such conditions as
are described in the next paragraph.

The discussion so far has been based on the assumption
of only ordinary weather. But Knight records that the day
after the party started it was “blowing a howling gale.”
This brings in another element of danger constantly faced
by the polar traveler, just as the traveler by rail always
faces the danger of collisions and broken bridges. That
any man who had ever accompanied me (such as Knight

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