Members of British explorer Earnest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition pose in front of their camp on Christmas Day, 1908. The second of three Shackleton-led Antarctic expeditions, it set a new southern record by reaching latitude 82°S and made a first ascent of Mount Erebus. After the Norwegian Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to the Geographic South Pole in 1911, Shackleton shifted his focus to a sea-to-sea expedition across the frozen continent via the pole, leading to his famous 1914 Endurance expedition.
Members of British explorer Earnest Shackleton’s Antarctic expedition pose in front of their camp on Christmas Day, 1908. The second of three Shackleton-led Antarctic expeditions, it set a new southern record by reaching latitude 82°S and made a first ascent of Mount Erebus. After the Norwegian Roald Amundsen led the first expedition to the Geographic South Pole in 1911, Shackleton shifted his focus to a sea-to-sea expedition across the frozen continent via the pole, leading to his famous 1914 Endurance expedition.
Photograph by Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Celebrating Christmas on expedition

Vintage photos show how explorers — from the poles to the world's highest mountains — have paused to celebrate the holidays

“What kind of bonehead would rather spend Christmas freezing his butt on the side of a (expletive) rock instead of being home with his wife and little girl?” Mike Graber asked, while climbing in Queen Maud Land with Alex Lowe and Conrad Anker in 1996. Graber, Lowe, and Anker’s first ascent of Ravekniven in Antartica was part of a long tradition of celebrating the holidays while on expedition. From Ernest Shackleton to the Trans-Asian motor expeditions of the 1930s to modern-day winter mountaineers, explorers have found ways to commemorate Christmas. These archival photos show how many have observed the holidays despite the remote and often harsh places they found themselves.

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