Marooned at the end of the world

Story highlights

  • Karluk departs Alaska 100 years ago on one of the most ambitious missions of its kind
  • Ship with 31 crew members ends up trapped in ice; ship sinks, setting off yearlong ordeal
  • In a controversial move, the expedition leader chooses to leave the ship
  • Remaining crew sets across ice, despite extreme cold and starvation
Capt. Robert Bartlett was awakened by a sharp crack, like a gunshot. His ship was sinking.
"I heard a splitting, crashing sound," he later wrote. "The ship was trembling and quivering."
"We could hear water rushing into the hold, and by lantern light could see it pouring in at different places."
Bartlett's ship, the Karluk, had been frozen in the sea ice for five months, unable to budge -- until now.
His men