Pulling for the “Chief”: The Climbing of the Mountain Peaks
An account of the South Pole party’s arduous 10,000-foot ascent through the mountains to the Polar plateau, and the sled dogs’ “reward” from Roald Amundsen upon reaching the plateau, is given in this chapter. Included are the following events: the steep and treacherous climb, which begins on November 18, 1911, during which the sled dogs successfully pull the men and their sledges; the doubling up of dogs to pull the heavy loads up the steep incline; the unnecessary additional travel zigzagging through the mountain passes, imposed by the men; and the brilliant performance of the dogs, who impress Amundsen with their acrobatic feats and Herculean efforts, all on very little food received. The sled dogs safely deliver the men and provisions onto the plateau, nearly 11,000 feet high, and at the door of the South Pole. There, within reach of the goal, they meet Amundsen’s devised plan for them, wherein more than half of the dogs are slaughtered. The necessity for this slaughtering is questioned and analyzed in this chapter. Also analyzed are Amundsen’s and the men’s reactions to their actions vis-à-vis the dogs, based on their written diary entries. All the dogs are named and documented in this chapter, as well.
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