In the summer of 1914, Shackleton and his crew of 27 set sail to
claim the last great prize of Antarctic exploration: crossing the
frozen continent on foot. But their ship Endurance became trapped
by pack ice and was eventually crushed, leaving the crew stranded
on a frozen wasteland more than a thousand miles from civilization.
After camping on dangerous
ice floes for five months, Shackleton's men boarded lifeboats
they had been hauling since the loss of Endurance. Six very
dangerous and exhausting days later they reached Elephant Island,
a barren outcrop too remote to provide any hope of rescue.
From there, Shackleton and five volunteers set out for South
Georgia Island in an open lifeboat.
Seventeen days later,
they miraculously reached their destination by crossing the
Drake Passage, 850 miles of the deadliest seas on earth. Once
on South Georgia, Shackleton and two men scaled a 2,000 foot
glacier with just a single rope and an ice pick in order to
reach the Whaling Station in Grytviken, where they summoned
help. Every single one of his men survived.
Because of his
extraordinary example of courage, optimism, and motivation,
King George V called him "The greatest leader of men that
God ever chose to place upon the earth"