Where should Captain Scott’s support parties have turned back?
Journal article, 2018

Captain Robert Falcon Scott’s plan for the attempt on the South Pole during the Terra Nova Expedition was to use horses, motor sledges, and dog teams to lay depots on the Ross Ice Shelf and advance the effective starting point for the three man-hauling groups to the foot of the Beardmore Glacier. His idea was that two of the groups would turn back after two and four weeks, after depositing supplies for the final Polar Party to rely on during the return journey. In this paper, the author applies the logic of the mathematical ‘jeep problem’ to derive the theoretically optimal points at which the support parties should have turned back in order to optimise the relation between distance and consumption of supplies. The results show that, according to this model, Scott took both his support parties along too far, especially the last support party under Lieutenant E.R.G.R. ‘Teddy’ Evans.

Jeep problem

Captain Scott

Depot laying

Terra Nova Expedition

Antarctic exploration


Björn Lantz

Chalmers, Technology Management and Economics, Innovation and R&D Management

Polar Record

0032-2474 (ISSN) 1475-3057 (eISSN)

Vol. 54 1 76-78

Subject Categories

Transport Systems and Logistics




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