Shackleton had failed in his mission. And yet what he and his crew did succeed in doing in 1915-1916 was one of the most incredible feats of survival ever recorded. Every stage of their journey seemed more remarkable than the last. From January 1915, when Endurance was trapped in the ice, during its helpless drift through the Weddell Sea and its destruction in October, to the crew's long, miserable months of camping on the ice, the Boss had held his men together under terrible conditions. Their three-boat passage in April 1916 to Elephant Island was accomplished in spite of enormous odds. The voyage of the James Caird over 800 miles of winter ocean rivals any small-boat journey in history. Shackleton's trek across the unmapped peaks of South Georgia was the first in that hostile mountain range, and the survival of the crew in their hut on Elephant Island over one Antarctic winter is almost too much to believe. And yet it all happened Shackleton brought them all home.
Endurance after an ice floe hit it.
The crew with a lifeboat, after abandoning Endurance.