The Lost Men: The Harrowing Saga of Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party

Kelly Tyler-Lewis

Everyone who loves a good adventure yarn is familiar with Sir Ernest Shackleton and his ship the Endurance that became ice-locked off the coast of Antarctica, his effort to make the first crossing of the frozen continent aborted before it began. Less known is the equally amazing tale of his support crew in the Ross Sea party—until now. As Tyler-Lewis vividly relates, the party’s job was to cache supplies for the second half of Shackleton’s journey. Almost nothing went right. Its ship, the Aurora, arrived at the Ross Sea late in the season; the provisions were inadequate, and most of the sled dogs quickly died. Worst of all, the drifting ice pack pulled the Aurora out to sea, stranding 10 men on the shore. They could have holed up and waited for help to come, but they believed Shackleton depended on them for survival. So they sledged 1,700 miles of hunger, frostbite, snow blindness, darkness and blizzards for two years before being rescued. Three died. Unlike Shackleton, however, they were successful in their mission. The irony, of course, was that their efforts were all for naught.