In 1911, two explorers, Amundsen and Scott, embarked on a race against each other to become the first known human being to set foot upon the southernmost point of Earth. It was the age of Antarctic exploration, as the South Pole represented one of the last uncharted areas in the world. Amundsen wished to plant the Norwegian flag there on behalf of his country, while Scott hoped to stake his claim for England.
The journey there and back from their base camps was about 1,400 miles, which is roughly equivalent to a round-trip hike from New York City to Chicago. Both men would be traveling the same exact distance on foot through extremely cold and harsh weather conditions. And both men were equally equipped with experience, supplies, and a supporting team of fellow explorers. But what wasn’t certain is how each of them would approach the inevitable challenges they faced on the road ahead.
As it turned out, Amundsen and Scott took entirely different approaches to the very same challenges.
Scott directed his team to hike as far as possible on the good weather days and then rest on bad weather days to conserve energy. Conversely, Amundsen directed his team to follow a strict regimen of consistent daily progress by hiking exactly 20 miles every day, regardless of weather conditions. Even on the warmest, clear-sky days, when Amundsen’s team was capable of hiking much farther, Amundsen was absolutely adamant that they travel no more than 20 miles to conserve their energy for the following day’s hike.
Which team succeeded in the end?
The team that [Read more…]