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Man-hauling versus Arctic Huskies
Fiennes "reignites
..a race row..."
Polar Racism?
Peary Diary
Fiennes defibrillates
Polar Failure
Man-hauling vs dogs
World's Greatest
Fiennes explorer or travel writer?
Who found Ubar?
Fiennes and Stroud polar suffering
Guinness backs Peary
Guinness history?

$ Titles of nobility

Fiennes doggie pees both Poles
Photo of Fiennes's doggie courtesy of  Living Dangerously

This is what we are talking about:
Cute little Bothie has unique polar ex-pee-rience. But a lap dog peeing on a Pole is not the same as reaching the Pole with a team of Huskies. Henson & Peary used the powerful arctic Husky to haul their sledges. This is why we say Fiennes is unqualified to comment on the 1909 North Pole achievement that earned Henson the posthumous Hubbard Medal award. For Fiennes to comment on Henson strikes me as absurd. Henson made history. 90 years from now Henson will still be a legend and Fiennes forgotten.

Roland Huntford
describes Amundsen's narrative as "all that Scott's is not"...the Golden Age of Antarctic Exploration...in his excellent books The Last Place on Earth and Shackleton helped to debunk the myth of the glorious failure (Scott the Martyr) as an example to follow. How right he is! Amundsen relates a fascinating tale of fortune, misfortune, hardship, and ultimately - success. Numerous photos, maps, and scientific data, this book should be considered one of the great narratives of exploration. The great moral lesson of this tale is that preparedness ultimately leads to success. Is it any wonder that Roald Amundsen and his comrades won the race to the South Pole?
Is Fiennes qualified to comment on how Henson reached the North Pole?
Fiennes has no dog sledge experience.  
That is why we say he is not qualified to comment on what is possible with skilled men driving teams of arctic huskies.
Another brilliant editorial by Russell R. Robinson
The English, traditionally, rejected dogs because of  confusion between household pets and the arctic Husky. They would never use "man's best friend" the way Scott used his own men. That mistake cost Scott's expedition their lives. But arctic Huskies are not pets! Peary described them as wolf-like animals that fought viciously to determine dominance. The winner was the King dog who then led each team. I don't think Fiennes has much real experience with Huskies. Therefore he knows little about the means of polar transportation Henson & Peary mastered to reach the North Pole, and Amundsen the South Pole.

I think traveling alone without Huskies cost Fiennes his finger tips
. In fact, I think that Fiennes last North Pole trek would have killed him if he had not been air rescued. He also had to be air rescued at the South Pole! In fact, after freezing his hands attempting the North Pole, he cut off his dead finger tips himself with a fret saw. This is not indicative of a man skilled in polar travel the way Peary reached the North Pole in 1909, or how Amundsen reached the South Pole in 1913.But Peary did not ski! Peary used dogs to drag his supplies and used snow shoes when appropriate, and also used skis when appropriate. And sometimes he simply rode in the sledge on flat ground that was easy for the dogs to traverse.

In my opinion
Fiennes is unqualified to have any opinion on Henson or the 1909 North Pole achievement in general. His knowledge of this polar specialty is outside of his own field of expertise. His only excuse seems to be that he believes Wally Herbert(1). (More about Wally Herbert...)

Fiennes is not an historian so he has no professional credentials, training, or peer review when he comments on the 1909 North Pole expedition.

[ (1) from a letter by Fiennes supporter Michael Kobold.]
 Polar Success
Peary & Amundsen each used dogs to polar success. Medal from the Royal Geographical Society.
Scott used his men as dogs and died alomg with them. Fiennes preferred this method, or he used motorized travel such as Land Rovers. But he never used dog teams.
Coming soon: Russell R. will review the out of print, indulgent autobiographical Fiennes classic Living Expensively  (aka Living Dangerously).
In response to reader letters from American and British Fiennes "supporters" we feel more needs to be web published about this difficult to understand topic of "royalty", the South Pole, and anti-Peary sentiment. Hopefully, Russell R.'s next review will bring insight into the mentality of the remaining vestiges of a "British Empire" from the point of view of an American Colonial.
Matt Henson never lost any finger tips during his 18 years in the arctic with Peary, but then Henson never tried to reach the North Pole alone, as Fiennes did. Fiennes lost his finger tips when trying to reach the Pole alone.

Both Peary and Henson, in their books, discuss how exposed skin freezes in minutes. One never took off one's gloves to plunge bare hands under the freezing ocean. The difference is that Peary and Henson mastered the Inuit ways of living, traveling and surviving in the arctic. That is how they reached the Pole in 1909. That was how they succeeded.
See? We told you the Arctic was dangerous. Fiennes dead fingertips prove it. Later he sawed off the dead tips all by himself.


Copyright 2002 Lord Vernon Russell-Twittledorf Robinson, MCE (Member of the California Empire)