this, not his first expedition, starting on the 1st of March 1909, traversing moving ice and arriving at 90 degrees north latitude on the 7th of April by his reckoning, before turning back to Ellesmere Island on the return trip. That the ice under the feet of his party was moving south as he mushed north was no small factor in their intrepid endeavor.
Peary, a Navy man, was in many ways, a bonafide claimant to the mantel of Christopher Columbus (celebrated at the recent World's Columbian Exposition of 1893) and of John Wesley Powell, the navigator and mapper of the Colorado river through the canyons of the American Southwest. Peary set out with 23 men, 133 dogs and 19 sleds about the cusp of the vernal equinox with a crew of Inuit mushers and former Navy men including Matthew Henson, an intrepid and highly skilled African-American civil engineer.
Despite the subsequent technical arguments made against his claim of success, Peary and Henson will always remain American adventurers of the highest order and iconic exemplars of the American spirit of exploration and courage. Without them it is difficult to imagine either Charles Lindbergh's Atlantic crossing of 1927 or the Apollo mission of the 1960's.