Most esteemed Mr. Amundsen,

Thank you for allowing us to follow in the long-gone tracks of your skis for these past few weeks. To feel for ourselves your experiences and hardships in the icy wasteland. We had to clench our teeth to manage 4 km/h where you flew forward at 7.5 km/h behind the dogs. But we sometimes took pleasure in the wind. We have shared your experience of seeing the imposing mountains rise up on the horizon over the Ross Ice Shelf. We ran into sastrugi and powder in the same places as you did. Were enchanted by the cascades of ice on the Axel Heiberg Glacier. Both our parties were in a hurry. You had to arrive before Scott; we had to catch up with you. No easy task.
Roald AmundsenRoald Amundsen. Photo: Norwegian Polar Institute

We are deeply impressed by your organisational skills, efficiency, and dedication. Depots every degree of latitude. Countless snow cairns to show the way home. How you tenaciously held firm to the belief that the Axel Heiberg Glacier would allow you to pass between waterfalls of ice and gaping crevasses up to the plateau. The impressive distances you advanced in a day. All the fuss with dogs, provisions and old-time equipment that we were spared. But most of all, that you went into completely unknown territory with inhuman pressure on your shoulders. The goal or fiasco. You must have pondered intensely how you would be received on arriving home. And you had to get back to the Bay of Whales and Fram before a new winter set in. Yes, and where was Scott? Would he beat you to the pole despite everything?

Was it these considerations that drove you and your men to take unnecessary risks among the crevasses? Or was it precisely because of them that you succeeded?

After having been so close to you, we most humbly thank you for your company. What you, Bjaaland, Hassel, Hanssen, and Wisting accomplished is well worth celebrating 100 years later. Esteemed Mr. Amundsen.