Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival [NOOK Book]


In celebration of the centenary of Shackleton’s legendary journey, join Tim Jarvis on his quest to become the first to re-create what sir edmund hillary called “the greatest survival story of all time”


One hundred years ago, in early 1914, famed British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton embarked for the South Pole on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, hoping to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. For three years there was ...

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Chasing Shackleton: Re-creating the World's Greatest Journey of Survival

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In celebration of the centenary of Shackleton’s legendary journey, join Tim Jarvis on his quest to become the first to re-create what sir edmund hillary called “the greatest survival story of all time”


One hundred years ago, in early 1914, famed British explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton embarked for the South Pole on the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, hoping to make the first land crossing of Antarctica. For three years there was no word from the expedition, and most assumed the men had perished, as so many polar explorers had before them. Remarkably, however, the crew was very much alive, thanks to Shackleton’s leadership. After their ship, the Endurance, was crushed by Antarctic ice and the men trapped on a small, inhospitable island, cut off from all hope of rescue, Shackleton decided to attempt a risky eighthundred-mile voyage across the notoriously treacherous Southern Ocean. For seventeen days, he and five of his crew battled constant gales, terrible cold, and mountainous seas in a leaking 22.5-foot wooden boat. In one of history’s greatest feats of navigation, they succeeded in landing on the small, remote island of South Georgia. Finally, they faced a climb over precipitous, heavily glaciated mountains to reach the whaling station at Stromness on the other side—a journey that would challenge the limits of today’s top mountaineers. Ultimately, Shackleton was able to rescue all twenty-two crew members—a heroic triumph of endurance and leadership.

January 2013

Using authentic period clothing, equipment, and rations, and sailing a precise replica of Shackleton’s small, keel-less boat, explorer Tim Jarvis leads a six-man crew in an attempt to re-create Shackleton’s historic crossings for the first time. A veteran of Antarctica’s breathtaking frozen wastes, Jarvis finds himself facing one of the most dangerous journeys ever willingly undertaken, quickly gaining a firsthand appreciation for the extraordinary challenges that Shackleton overcame. While documenting the devastating impact a century of climate change has had on the region’s ice caps and glaciers, the trek proves to be a relentless struggle against poor odds and inhospitable conditions—for even today, the remote Antarctic remains as fierce and unforgiving as ever before.

Vividly illustrated with historical and contemporary photography, Chasing Shackleton tells the unforgettable story of these two expeditions, separated by nearly a hundred years but unified in the spirit of epic discovery, adventure, and survival.

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  • Chasing Shackleton
    Chasing Shackleton  

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
The incredible story of Ernest Shackleton's 1914–16 expedition to the South Pole and the arduous odyssey to rescue his stranded crew members that ensued never gets old. Jarvis (Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica), a veteran polar explorer, gathered a crew to re-create Shackleton's travels from Elephant Island to South Georgia and then achieve the "double": hiking over the mountains and through the glaciers to reach Stromness. Not only would Jarvis and his crew sail in a replica of his boat, the James Caird, called the Alexandra Shackleton, they would sail and mountain climb using the same sort of clothing and gear and eating the same hoosh and sugary milk as Shackleton and his men. This book documents the mind-boggling amount of preparation that went into the planning, funding, and management of the trip, from boat-building to obtaining permits and from locating the ideal crew to getting everything to Antarctica. The voyage itself, however, reveals the real accomplishment of Shackleton and his men. The conditions of ferocious seas in a small boat and the rugged, unpredictable South Georgia terrain made the journey nearly impossible and underscore the achievements of the original survivors, who did it because they had to. VERDICT A labor of love for Shackleton groupies and armchair explorers. An accompanying PBS version will boost interest.—Melissa Stearns, Franklin Pierce Univ. Lib., Rindge, NH
Publishers Weekly
Ninety-seven years after Sir Earnest Shackleton saved his crew of 22 by leading a five-man journey into the Arctic Ocean in a makeshift boat and climbing a glaciated mountain, Jarvis, an accomplished adventurer himself, led an expedition to re-create that momentous odyssey. To capture the true nature of the experience and understand the hardships Shackleton faced, Jarvis and his crew created a replica of Shackleton's boat and limited themselves to the same equipment and food their forbearers had at their disposal. After a summing up of Shackleton's achievements, the story gets a little bogged down in the logistics of modern exploration—hiring of a crew, equipment preparations, chasing sponsorships, finding TV partners, transportation. Still, Jarvis has a way with words and brings crew's journey as they come to fully realize what they've got themselves into. Featuring great photographs from both explorations, as well as cool maps and interesting vignettes on navigation, artic exploration, and climate change, this work, like the exploration it mirrors, never surpasses the original tales of Shackleton's journey, but it has enough excitement and lessons-to-be-learned to make for a fascinating read. 163 photos. (Jan.)
“A chilling account of an epic struggle to survive.”
“Thrilling. ... A treasure-trove of minutiae and derring-do for both explorers and those who will simply gaze in wonderment.”
The Guardian
“Mr. Jarvis’s tribute to Ernest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition has had a danger and heroism that are worthy of the original.”
“This is a story of triumph! Tim Jarvis and his companions have successfully recreated my grandfather’s 1916 voyage over the stormiest seas in the world. I feel it was a thoroughly Shackletonian expedition.”
Sir Edmund Hillary
“The greatest survival story of all time.”
“A daring re-enactment. ... All the plaudits to him and his team are thoroughly deserved.”
The Daily Mirror
“An extraordinary expedition”
Kirkus Reviews
Polar explorer Jarvis (Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica, 2008, etc.) takes on the re-creation of one of the most difficult treks imaginable. Trying to "double" Ernest Shackleton's (1874–1922) desperate trip 800 nautical miles across the Southern Ocean in a 23-foot boat followed by a 35 kilometer trek across South Georgia's heavily glaciated mountains requires a tight team with a strong leader. Shackleton had no choice as he altered his planned adventure of crossing Antarctica on foot from the Weddell Sea coast to the Ross Sea. After his ship, the Endurance, was trapped in the ice for more than a year, Shackleton set off in a reconfigured lifeboat with five men in search of rescue. It was the greatest survival journey of all time. After he was "asked by Shackleton's granddaughter to undertake this journey and was inspired to want to do it as the greatest survival story of the heroic era of exploration," the author's attempt to repeat this desperate journey began with finding sponsors, which took three years. The author was lucky in finding TV sponsors, although the trek was limited by filming requirements. They also had to travel three months before the period Shackleton's crew did due to permit requirements. The story of their journey is bone-chilling at the least and breathtakingly frightening. There are certain elements that will confuse nonsailors and nonclimbers, particularly terms never explained--e.g., katabatic winds, nunatak and bergschrund. The author's description of icy seas soaking the crew as they tried to sleep like sardines in the hold is not reading for the claustrophobic. Surely it was difficult enough to attempt this voyage, but as they accomplished it without modern (waterproof) clothing or navigational aids, it was a most remarkable feat. A well-written, compelling read begging for a warm fireside and a hot cup of cocoa.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062282743
  • Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
  • Publication date: 1/7/2014
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 742,549
  • File size: 10 MB

Meet the Author

Explorer and environmental scientist Tim Jarvis has made four previous expeditions to Antarctica and the high Arctic. His re-creation of Sir Douglas Mawson’s 1913 trek across Antarctica was made into an award-winning documentary, Mawson: Life and Death in Antarctica. In 1999, Jarvis made the fastest unsupported trek to the South Pole, arriving in 47 days, and in 2001, he completed the first unsupported crossing of Australia’s Great Victoria Desert, covering 1,100 kilometers in less than a month. In 2009, he was selected for Yale University’s World Fellows program. A member of the Order of Australia, Jarvis lives in Adelaide, Australia, with his wife, Elizabeth, and their young family.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 3 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 3 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 17, 2014

    AMAZING AND AWE INSPIRING! This is not only an amazing historic

    AMAZING AND AWE INSPIRING! This is not only an amazing historic story, but the re-expedition in modern days is fascinating and historic itself. To work so hard to replicate everything down to the historic facts to incredible skill and patience. We take for granted how easy we have things today with both advanced technology and equipment, but when something goes back in time - as this adventure did - the one really gains respect and awe for what our forefathers really accomplished. This is an amazing story and TV series. Not only a must read but a must watch. MORE THAN 5 star. 5 stars for content, 5 stars for bravery, 5 stars for entertainment and 5 stars for making history cool once again.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 9, 2014


    Hated it

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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