Amundsen’s Journey Through The North West Passage

Amundsen sailed to King’s Point by the Alaskan Boarder, finally ended in Nome, Alaska and he had successfully crossed the North West Passage.

Key Figures

Roald Amundsen

In Full, Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen

Roald Amundsen, The Great Norwegian Polar Explorer, was born in Borge, Norway, near Oslo, Norway. He was the first to cross the North West Passage, the first to reach the South Pole, and the first to fly over the North Pole.

At the age of fifteen, Amundsen was inspired to become a polar explorer by Sir John Franklin, he had heard the stories about Franklin’s journey to find the North West Passage and the disappearance. He studied medicine for a while before he took off to the sea. In 1897, 25 year-old Roald Amundsen, had sailed as a first mate on the Belgica, a Belgian Expedition that was first to winter in the Antarctic (1897 – 1899). After two years returning since the Belgian Expedition, and at the end of his Polar Apprenticeship, Amundsen obtained his captain’s ticket and plan to get his own Arctic Expedition: To Cross The North West Passage. And that’s what he set out to do.

Godfred Hansen

Amundsen chose his men carefully, Godfred was a Danish naval lieutenant from Copenhagen and he was second in command on the ship. “I was not taken for my qualifications.” He ironically mentioned, “but because there was no Norwegian naval officer had volunteered.” Amundsen wanted a naval officer because of superior theoretical training and dependability taking in observation.

Anton Lund

Anton was from the northern area of Norway, Tromso, born in 1864 and was the first mate on the Gjoa. When the ship ran aground during a storm in James Ross Strait, Lund , in all intent and purposes, seized command and saved her from shipwreck. Amundsen later thanked him for his initiative. Besides being the oldest on board, Lund was without doubt, the most experienced and skilled seaman. He was a seal skipper, and had sailed the Arctic for over 25 years. Amundsen also admired how the way he helped with careful employment during the long, dark winters.


Helmer Hanssen

Hanssen was the second mate on the ship, he came from the Vesteralen Island in Northern Norway. He has also sailed to the Arctic as a sealer. On the North West Passage, learning from the Inuit, Helmer became a master at dog-sledding.

Hanssen and Amundsen first met in 1897, when Amundsen was about to sail to the Antarctic on the Belgica. “Little did I know,” said Hanssen, “that I was to be connected with him and his expeditions for all of 18 years.”

Gustav Juel Wiik

The Expedition Journalist.

Summer of 1903, Roald Amundsen set sailed in his ship, The Gjoa, 47 tons, 70 feet tall, 20 feet high, 18 sails, powered by a little petroleum engine that made the little ship go 5 miles per hour. He stopped in God Haven, Greenland to pack up his last supplies for his journey across the North West Passage. By late autumn, Amundsen had put the Gjoa in a natural harbour on King William Island – Gjoa Haven, as he called it – and let her freeze there for the winter, but while his time in Gjoa Haven, Amundsen had cultivated with the Netsilik Inuit. He wanted to learn the art of survival in such harsh climate, and in return Amundsen would showcase his ship, introduce his advance tools and instruments to the inuit, and offer some education. Exchange knowledge for knowledge. Amundsen had thought to stay in Gjoa Haven just for the winter but, grew fond of the Netsilik acquaintances and stayed for two years. Amundsen felt much melancholy when he said farewell to Gjoa Haven and its people, on the 13th of August, 1905, Amundsen sailed out of the harbour. When he talked about the Inuit, he would finish by saying, “They are wonderful people and the best wish i have for my friends is that, civilization never reaches them.

Find Out More Fascinating Background of Amundsen’s Journey Across the North West Passage

The Amundsen Photographs Edited and Introduce By Ronald Huntford, with Hodder and Stoughton – Is the marvelous book I used for researched and I wouldn’t just use this book for research. It is an astonishing book to read.

You can look at more of Amundsen’s photographs just by clicking the link below: