Roald was a first mate in the Belgian Antarctic Expedition, 1897 - 99, which became the first to winter in Antarctica. Amundsen, in his book, credits an American doctor named Frederick Cook for saving the crew by hunting, and giving them fresh meat. This allowed them to stave off the effects of scurvy. Amundsen would never forget this valuable lesson, and would use it during all his future expeditions.
In 1903 - 1906, aboard the ship Gjoa, a 47 ton steel seal - hunting vessel, he was the first to sucessfully navigate the Northwest Passage, and even located the site of the magnetic North Pole. It was during this time that he learned from the indigenous people, called the Netsilik, about survival skills that were very important for use in the Polar regions. He learned of dog sleds, and that it was better to wear animal skin jackets than the heavy, bulky, woolen ones then in use. He had planned to make a try at being the first to the North Pole, but was beaten there by Robert Peary in 1909. He then made his goal to be the first team to reach the South Pole, which had been almost reached in 1909 by that famous explorer Ernest Shackleton.
In 1911 he was determined to reach the South Pole before the British expedition lead by Robert F. Scott. He first established three evenly spaced supply depots, and then on October 29th, 1911, he made his final push for the South Pole. He took with him four comrades and four dog sleds. On December 14th, 1911, in triumph, they planted the Norwegian national flag at the South Pole, a full month before Scott' s ill - fated expedition reached it. Amundsen completed the whole 1,860 miles in just 99 days. He was seen throughout the world as an international hero.
In 1918, in his ship Maud, he reached the Gnome Alaskan coast via Siberia, completing the Northeast arctic passage. In 1926, Amundsen, the American Lincoln Ellsworth, and the Italian Colonel Umberto Nobile, in the dirigible Norge, made the Trans - Arctic flight from Spitsbergen, to Teller Alaska. The lighter than air ship passed over the North Pole on May 26, 1926. ( Richard Byrd is given credit for the first flight over the North Pole, but his own notes from his diary suggest that he may not have reached the pole itself). Both Amundsen and Umberto Nobile claimed credit for the trans - Arctic flight which led to a bitter rivalry between the two men.
In between his expeditions he wrote several books on his adventures including : Our Polar Flight, The First Crossing of the Polar Sea, My Life As An Explorer, The Northwest Passage, and The South Pole. All of this led to immense fame for the intrepid Norwegian explorer.
Despite his animosity towards Umberto Nobile, when the Italian airship, Italia, crashed in 1928 while returning from the North Pole, Roald along with pilots Dietrichson, Guilbaud, and three others went looking for the Italian explorer, but they were never seen again. A wing float, and a gasoline tank later washed up ashore near Tromso, but no trace of the men was ever found. Roald Amundsen had given up his life trying to save anothers, which adds hero to his impressive portfolio of accomplishments.
Roald Amundsen, was, and still is, considered to be one of the greatest explorers of his age. He gained notoriety and fame from his daring adventures and explorations, and the world gained knowledge, and a glimpse, of these unknown regions of the world. Though his name, and his deeds, have diminished slightly over the past decades, he will always stand tall in the hearts and minds of all Scandinavians, and Norwegians in particular. He was a very brave man, who used knowledge gained from experience, and from the native peoples, to explore where literally no man had gone before. Roald Amundsen is a great addition to our Scandinavian / Germanic heritage, and I am very proud to say that he was one of my people, a Norwegian.
Go with Odin's wisdom, Freyja's love, and Thor's protection !