October 8, 2001
Going Out: IMAX presents greatest adventure of all time
by Deborah Stone
"Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure," the gripping adventure story depicting Sir Ernest Shackleton's now-legendary 1914-1916 polar expedition is currently at Pacific Science Center's Boeing IMAX Theater
With IMAX's crystal clear, larger-than-life images, audiences are fully able to experience the intense drama of this ill-fated journey and heroic survival story of epic proportions. Polar explorer Shackleton set sail for Antarctica with a crew of 27 men in 1914. It was to be one of the last great polar journeys of the "Heroic Age of Exploration" and the first crossing of Antarctica, the world's most remote continent.
Shackleton and his crew dreamed of fame and glory, but just days into their voyage, their wooden ship, the Endurance, encountered unexpected patches of sea ice and enormous icebergs.
Eventually the Endurance was crushed after being trapped in the pack ice of the Weddell Sea, leaving the men stranded with no means of contacting the outside world for help.
A 17-month struggle for survival ensued as Shackleton led his crew to safety without a life lost. The men met with catastrophe after catastrophe, yet their will to live prevailed, mostly due to Shackleton's enduring spirit and devotion to them.
Their travails included living on ice floes floating on the sea, an 800-mile lifeboat journey through wild, frigid seas and an arduous 30-mile traverse of the treacherous, unexplored mountains and glaciers of South Georgia Island.
When Shackleton and two of his men, Captain Frank Worsley and Second Officer Tom Crean, finally reached a remote whaling station, they tried several times to return for the rest of the stranded crew, but were driven back by pack ice.
On their fourth attempt, two years after the expedition originally set sail, they rescued the men remaining on Elephant Island.
Using three of the world's most accomplished modern-day mountaineers, Reinhold Messner, Stephen Venables and Conrad Anker, the film retraces Shackleton's steps across the peaks and glaciers of South Georgia Island.
Over three days, these men accomplished what Shackleton and two others managed in a mere 36 hours, exhausted and with their feet still frozen from a treacherous sea voyage.
They provide a vivid, sensory perspective about the last leg in Shackleton's quest for civilization and rescue, giving new meaning to the expression, "an adventure of a lifetime."
"Shackleton's Antarctic Adventure" runs through Dec. 21. For showtime information call (206) 443-IMAX.