Tromsø is located 217 miles north of the Arctic Circle. By the end of the 19th century, the small Norwegian town had become a major Arctic trade center from which many expeditions originated. The Explorer Fridtjof Nansen made use of the know-how in Tromsø on the conditions in the Arctic, and recruited parts of the crew for the »Fram Expedition« (1893-96) in the town. He believed it would be possible to use the drifting ice in the Atlantic Ocean caused by ocean current in order to come close to the North Pole. Specifically for that reason he had built a particularly designed ship which allowed him to lock himself in pack ice and drift.
Although many polar explorers those days considered this project is impracticable, Nansen and the twelve-strong crew of the Fram had themselves frozen in pack ice close to the New Siberian Islands in the Eastern Atlantic Ocean at 9th of October 1893. After more then 18 months in which he and his crew had been frozen by ice, he decided to leave the ship on the basis of slow speed and unpredictable direction of drift. Together with crew member Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen he set out to the North Pole with skis and huskies in March 1895.
Although they didn’t succeeded, they set a new north record of its bold hiking. They had come as close to the North Pole as no man before. Not until August 1896 the two men were able to save themselves back to Norwegian mainland, after an extremely dangerous way back and with their last ounce of strength.
Immediately after his return of the expedition Fridtjof Nansen published under the title »Farthest North – The epic adventure of a visonary explorer« his report about the journey through the Arctic. He describes his experiences, thoughts and emotions during this adventure.
Fascinated by his records I traveled to the starting point of his trip and tried to explore what can still to be discovered of his impressions in and around Tromsø.