Robert Falcon Scott (June 6, 1868 - March 29, 1912) was a British naval officer and Antarctic explorer. Scott led two expeditions to the South Pole, and died on the disastrous second trip, along with his crew. His expedition was the second to reach the South Pole (1910-1912); Roald Amundsen led the first.
First Antarctic Expedition
Scott led his first British Antarctic expedition on the ship HMS Discovery (1901-1904). On this mission, they sailed along northern Ross Island to Mount Terror (past the area explored by James Ross). Scott named this new area King Edward VI Land. Scott went in a hot air balloon on February 4, 1902, making the first balloon flight on Antarctica.
The expedition overwintered on Hut Point (on Ross Island). Scott and two crew members tried to cross the Ross Ice shelf on a sled pulled by 19 dogs (November 1902 - January 1903). Scurvy (a lack of vitamin C) made them ill and they were forced to return. Soon after, most of the crew returned to England (March 1903); Scott and a few others remained to expore the area until September 1904.
Upon his return, Scott was promoted to Captain, became very popular with the public, and wrote “The Voyage of Discovery” (published in 1905).
Second Antarctic Expedition
Scott set out for Antarctica again on June 1, 1910, on the ship called the Terra Nova. He was racing Roald Amundsen to be the first man to the South Pole. They reached Ross Island on January 4, 1911, and prepared for a sled trip to the South Pole. Scott and his crew set off on dog sleds, ponies, and motorized vehicles on November 1, 1911. The motorized vehicles and ponies were abandoned in a few days.
While they were still crossing the Beardmore Glacier (less than 200 miles from the pole), Amundsen reached the South Pole (January 4, 1912). Scott’s team reached the pole on January 18, 1912, but they were sorely disappointed to find Amundsen’s Norwegian flag. In his journal, Scott wrote, “Great God! This is an awful place, and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority.”
Scott and his crew were frozen, exhausted, diappointed, and suffering from scurvy as they began their return trip. By February 17, one crew member, Seaman Edgar Evan died. Other members of the expedition began to die, and they set up their last camp on March 11, 1912 only 11 miles from One Ton Depot, where they could have gotten supplies. A raging blizzard kept them from the depot, and the remaining crew died at this camp. They were found dead in ther sleeping bags by a rescue party on November 12, 1912.