In 1935, American Lincoln Ellsworth and Canadian Herbert Hollick-Kenyon flew nearly 3500 km across the breadth of Antarctica, claiming 350,000 square miles of the last unclaimed territory in the world.
They flew at an altitude of 13,400 ft in a low-winged Northrop Gamma called the Polar Star, making four landings during their flight across the Antarctic. After a blizzard that occurred during the night at the third camp, the inside of the plane was packed solid with drifted snow. The two explorers spent a whole day scooping out snow with a teacup.
They were forced to land 40 km short of their goal due to the lack of fuel. As their radio had been lost at the outset of the trip, they were assumed lost. After six days hiking on foot, they arrived at the abandoned Little America camp, where they remained for nearly a month. They were eventually spotted by the British research ship Discovery and transported home. These guys were the real deal…
A major land area in Antarctica is now named the “Hollick-Kenyon Plateau.” He was inducted into Canada’s Aviation Hall of Fame in 1975. The Polar Star now sits in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington DC. If you get a chance to check it out, keep an eye open for the Red Canoe gear now available in the gift shop!