In extreme sports and survival challenges a rescue is a phone call away. Polar explorers played for real, extraordinary men entering the unknown for years at a time. High on a list of such explorers would be Crozier, McClintock, McClure and Shackleton, all Irish. The saga began in the eighteenth century when Arthur Dobbs advocated the existence of the Northwest Passage. Later Edward Bransfield, made the first sighting of the Antarctic in 1820. It continued with the search for the Northwest Passage, the discovery of the Antarctic Iceshelf and the charting of the Ross Sea in 1841 by Ross and Crozier.
The pace quickens with considerable Irish involvement in the search for Franklin, Crozier, and their men, by McClintock, McClure and Kellett as they found skeletons scattered across the Canadian Arctic. The story ends with the heroic age of Antarctic exploration and the burial of Shackleton in 1922 in South Georgia. Many of these names, along with Sabine, Keohane, Crean, Forde and McCarthy dot maps of the frozen lands. Some left a trail of cairns and bones as they perished, others were promoted, acclaimed for bravery or achieved scientific recognition. This is truly a story of heroism, drama and tragedy.
Frank Nugent is an experienced mountaineer and explorer. Chairman of the Mountaineering Council of Ireland (1997 - 2000), he was Deputy Leader of the first and successful Irish Everest Expedition (1993), followed in the footsteps of Shackleton across South Georgia (1997), and sailed the Northwest Passage in Northabout, a shallow-draft boat in 2001. A member of the Alpine Club and the James Caird Society, he is a former curriculum and assessment expert with FAS Training & Employment Authority - Ireland. His latest book is In Search of Peaks, Passes and Glaciers: Irish Alpine Pioneers (2013)