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The Roof at the Bottom of the World: Discovering the Transantarctic Mountains Hardcover – November 15, 2011
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“The modern maps and images on which [Stump] reconstructs the passages of the early explorers are a significant and unequaled achievement, created with a passion that seems obvious looking at them.”—Guy G. Guthridge, National Science Foundation
(Guy G. Guthridge 2011-03-03)
"A superbly illustrated book on the least known mountain range in the world. Stump’s informed text combines exploration history and modern science, and the photographs bring the Antarctic landscape to life."—Professor Julian Dowdeswell, Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, Cambridge University (Julian Dowdeswell 2011-03-23)
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Top Customer Reviews
The Roof at the Bottom of the World sets the story straight. The polar explorers sailed as far as they could into the Ross Sea to minimize the distance they had to walk to the pole. And when the explorers embarked on their land journey, the first step was to climb the glaciers ...not a flat ice cap. These glaciers are 10 mile wide rivers of ice coming down a steep slope from a mountain range 10,000 feet high. The first leg of the journey is up the icefalls. That's why there are huge crevasses. That's why this is a story about climbing, yet the rock faces are mostly just pretty pictures.
Much of the story describes the detailed routes the early explorers took through the glaciers, the snow conditions, and the geological sampling. While well polished, the story's pace often invites speed reading. But the illustrations help the reader see where the explorers were going, what obstacles they overcame, and the interesting things they found, including the molten lava pool. The Roof at the Bottom of the World isn't just a coffee table book of photos, it provides a carefully detailed history of the pioneers of Antarctica.
This book changed my idea of Antarctic exploration from one of people riding dogsleds to one of maniacs climbing icefalls into a steady 30 MPH wind in the worst imaginable cold. It's enlightening and worthwhile to read, but not everyone would want it as a gift. The Roof at the Bottom of the World is a travel story about a place normal people wouldn't enjoy. I don't need to go there, I'll just read the book.