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Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen - Biographical notes

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File:HjalmarJohansen.JPG stoker - Nansen/Fram North Pole attempt 1893-96
  Amundsen/Fram - first successful expedition to reach the South Pole - 1910-12 Fram

Hjalmar Johansen was one of Norway's most famous gymnasts when he left Norway on the Fram with Nansen in 1893. He became Nansen's only companion in 1895, when they set out on foot from the Fram that was stuck (intentionally) in the Arctic sea ice attempting to reach the North Pole. Nansen and Johansen didn't manage the Pole but did record the farthest north record at that time.

The two over wintered on Franz Joseph Land in a hut made from stone and walrus skin.

On his return to Norway, Johansen was promoted to captain in the infantry, a role that seemed to be beyond him causing him to drink heavily and eventually leave the army. He overcame his drinking during a stay in Spitzbergen from 1907-09. Nansen requested that Amundsen took him on the South Pole expedition, a decision about which Amundsen had some reservations due to Johansen being prone to alcoholism.

At the time of the South Polar expedition, Johansen was an almost legendary figure. He was physically very strong, could drive a dog team, was an accomplished skier and knew how to survive in the ice.

Johansen was originally one of a party of eight chosen to set out for the South Pole from the winter quarters based around the ship Fram, known as Framheim. They set off initially on the 8th of September 1911 but were driven back in disarray by the intense cold so early in the season.

Johansen had argued with Amundsen over the timing of the attempt on the pole before they set out, saying that it was too early in the season. Their ignominious return and the fact that Johansen had to rescue one of the team from the possibly fatal effects of the cold meant that relations deteriorated further between the two men. Amundsen removed Johansen from the polar party and when they set out again towards the end of October, there were five rather than the previous eight.

Tragically the emotional blow of this event contributed to Johansen taking his own life in 1913, six months after returning to Oslo.

Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen, August 1896
Fredrik Hjalmar Johansen, August 1896

Landmarks named after Hjalmar Johansen

Feature Name: Johansen Peak
Type: summit
Elevation: 3310
Latitude: 86°43S
Longitude: 148°11W
Description: A prominent peak, 3,310 m, standing 3 mi ESE of Mount Grier in the La Gorce Mountains of the Queen Maud Mountains. Discovered by R. Admiral Byrd on the South Pole Flight of Nov. 28-29, 1929, and mapped in December 1934 by the ByrdAE geological party under Quin Blackburn. So named in an attempt to reconcile Byrd's discoveries with the names applied by Roald Amundsen in 1911. Amundsen had named a peak in the general vicinity for Hjalmar Johansen.
Variant Name(s) - Mount Hjalmar Johansen, Mount Thurston

Roald Amundsen Books and Film

The South Pole: An Account of the Norwegian Antarctic Expedition in the Fram, 1910-1912
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Scott and Amundsen: Last Place on Earth
Scott and Amundsen: Last Place on Earth by Roland Huntford Buy from Amazon USA UK Buy from Amazon UK
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Roald Amundsen
Roald Amundsen
by Bomann-Larsen Buy from Amazon USA  UK Buy from Amazon UK
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The Last Place on Earth
Last Place on Earth (1994)
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Scott, Shackleton and Amundsen: Ambition and Tragedy in the Antarctic
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The Amundsen Photographs
The Amundsen Photographs
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Let Heroes Speak: Antarctic Explorers, 1772-1922
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Roald Amundsen (In the Footsteps of Explorers): The Quest for the South Pole (In the Footsteps of Explorers)
Roald Amundsen
- The Quest for the South Pole. Ages 9-12
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Biographical information - This is a difficult area to research, I am concentrating on the Polar experiences of the men involved. Any further information or pictures visitors may have is gratefully received. Please email  - Paul Ward, webmaster.
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Lonely Planet travel guide Antarctica
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Frozen Planet
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The Endurance - Shackleton's Legendary Expedition
Dramatization with original footage

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