The Ice Passage: A True Story of Ambition, Disaster, and Endurance in the Arctic Wilderness

by Brian Payton

Paperback, 2010

Call number




Anchor Canada (2010), 320 pages


A thrilling account of suffering and survival, The Ice Passage charts an epic quest from desire to destiny. It begins as a mission of mercy. Four and a half years after the disappearance of Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and his two ships, HMS Investigator sets sail in search of them. Instead of rescuing lost comrades, the Investigator┬┐s officers and crew soon find themselves trapped in their own ordeal, facing starvation, madness, and death on the unknown Polar Sea. If only they can save themselves, they will bring back news of perhaps the greatest maritime achievement of the age: their discovery of the elusive Northwest Passage between Europe and the Orient. In addition to their Great Success, the ┬┐Investigators┬┐ are the first Europeans to contact the Inuit of the western Arctic archipelago, and the first to record sustained observations of the local wildlife and climate. But the cost of hubris, ignorance, daring, and deceit is soon laid bare. In the face of catastrophe, a desperate rescue plan is made to send away the weakest men to meet their fate on the ice. In a narrative rich with insight and grace, Brian Payton reconstructs the final voyage of the Investigator and the trials of her officers and crew. Drawing on long-forgotten journals, transcripts, and correspondence - some never before published - Payton weaves an astonishing tale of endurance. Along the way, he vividly evokes an Arctic wilderness we now stand to lose.… (more)

Media reviews

Stepping into the Arctic canon with a true story of high adventure is Brian Payton's The Ice Passage, just selected as a finalist for a B.C. Book Award. In Ice Passage, Payton tells the gripping tale of the McClure expedition, which set out in the 1850s to find the elusive Northwest Passage and the missing Franklin expedition, which disappeared in 1845 looking for the same passage.




0385665334 / 9780385665339
Page: 0.1595 seconds