Adrien de Gerlache: Belgian Antarctic Expedition. This was the first expedition to overwinter within the Antarctic Circle, after the ship was icebound in the Bellingshausen Sea. It collected the first annual cycle of Antarctic observations. It also reached 71°30’S, and discovered the Gerlache Strait.
Robert Falcon Scott: Discovery Expedition.It made the first ascent of the Western Mountains in Victoria Land, and discovered the polar plateau. Its southern journey set a new Farthest South record, 82°17’S. Many other geographical features were discovered, mapped and named. This was the first of several expeditions based in McMurdo Sound.
Ernest Shackleton: Nimrod Expedition. The first expedition led by Shackleton. Based in McMurdo Sound, it pioneered the Beardmore Glacier route to the South Pole, and the (limited) use of motorised transport. Its southern march reached 88°23’S, a new Farthest South record 97 geographical miles from the Pole. The Northern Party reached the location of the South Magnetic Pole.
Roald Amundsen: Amundsen’s South Pole expedition. First to the South Pole: Amundsen set up camp on the Great Ice Barrier, at the Bay of Whales. He discovered a new route to the polar plateau via the Axel Heiberg Glacier. A party of five led by Amundsen reached the South Pole via this route on 15 December 1911.
Robert Falcon Scott: Terra Nova Expedition. Scott’s last expedition, based like his first in McMurdo Sound. Scott and four companions reached the South Pole via the Beardmore route on 17 January 1912, 33 days after Amundsen. All five died on the return journey from the Pole, through a combination of starvation and cold.
Ernest Shackleton: Endurance. Another transcontinental crossing attempt. It failed to land the Weddell Sea shore party after Endurance was trapped and crushed in ice. The expedition then rescued itself after a series of exploits, including a prolonged drift on an ice-floe, Shackleton’s open boat journey, and the first crossing of South Georgia.