Across the Arctic Ocean

Original Photographs from the Last Great Polar Journey


A photographic celebration of one of the 20th century’s greatest feats of exploration and geographic achievement: the 1968-69 surface crossing of the Arctic Ocean


ISBN: 9780500252147 Category:

Sir Wally Herbert, Huw Lewis-Jones


On 21 February 1968, Wally Herbert and his team of three companions and forty huskies set out from Point Barrow, Alaska, embarking on a journey that no one had ever attempted. Sixteen hard months later they finally set foot once more on solid land in Spitsbergen, having attained the North Pole and crossed the frozen Arctic Ocean for the first time. Travelling and living on ice that was in continual motion, sometimes buckling and breaking beneath them, they had endured extreme cold and months of winter darkness, and faced frequent encounters with polar bears. It stands today as one of the greatest expeditions of all time.

The book is illustrated with unpublished photographs and other personal materials from the Wally Herbert archive, as well as rare items from public and private collections. An impressive team of experts – polar travellers, explorers and scientists – contribute their reflections on the Arctic wilderness and their appreciation of this remarkable feat of heroism, epic endeavour and scientific enterprise.

Wally Herbert wrote that trying to fix the position of The Geographic North Pole was as difficult as stepping on the shadow of a bird flying overhead. Now the Arctic Ocean as a whole is the subject of headlines worldwide because of global warming, the shrinking ice cap, the opening up of new northerly trade routes and competition for potentially vast untapped mineral resources. Across the Arctic Ocean is thus a timely account of the last great frontier in a rapidly changing world, and will appeal to all those interested in exploration, polar science, the great outdoors, and the spirit of adventure.

‘What compels a man to risk everything on a dream? Why would anyone put themselves through hell and back all for the sake of walking across a frozen ocean? In these pages you’ll discover why and how something as formidable as this challenge was achieved for the very first time. Sir Wally Herbert was the man who did it and rightly earned his place in history. It’s an elemental story of men chasing their ambitions over the polar horizon and travelling into the unknown. These were true explorers.’ – Sir Ranulph Fiennes

Additional information

Weight 1462 g
Dimensions 22.9 x 27.6 cm
Publisher name Thames and Hudson Ltd
Publication date 1 August 2015
Number of pages 240
Format Hardback
Dimensions 22.9 x 27.6 cm
Weight 1462 g

Huw Lewis-Jones is former curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute and National Maritime Museum. Among his other books are Arctic, Ocean Portraits, In Search of the South Pole, The Conquest of Everest, which won the History Award at the 2013 Banff Mountain Festival and Mountain Heroes.

Sir Wally Herbert was a pioneering polar explorer as well as an award-winning writer and artist, most famously remembered as the leader of the first expedition to cross the Arctic Ocean. Formerly Curator at the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge, and the National Maritime Museum, London. He died in 2007.