Fridtjof Nansen made the first (European) crossing of Greenland in 1888, in preparation for his attempt on the North Pole. Voyaging east along the northern coast of Siberia in 1893, Nansen aimed to use the natural drift of the sea ice to propel him towards the Pole, but his eventual dash fell short at just over 86° north, a record at the time that would be pipped by the Italian, Umberto Cagni in 1901. Robert Peary’s claim to reach the Pole in 1909 is now disputed, as is the subsequent claim by fellow American, Robert Byrd, to have flown over the Pole in 1926, although Amundsen, conqueror of the South Pole, flew over three days later. The Soviet icebreaker, Sedov, which served as a floating ice station, became trapped in sea ice and drifted for 812 days in the High Arctic (1937–40), setting a different sort of record when it was rescued by Ivan Papanin, another endurance specialist.
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