During a 1900 attempt to become the first person to reach the North Pole Robert Peary traversed the north coast of Greenland before starting north across the sea ice. This brought him to Cape Morris Jesup which he proclaimed the northernmost point of land in the world, and for the next sixty-nine years it was an accepted fact that Cape Morris Jesup was the northern edge of the world.
Between 1900 and 1969 several expeditions visited Cape Morris Jesup all believing that it was indeed the world’s most northern extent of land. Most significant of these perhaps was that of Lauge Koch and his Danish Bicentenary Jubilee Expedition in 1921. Koch thus became the first Dane to reach Cape Morris Jesup. In 1953 two Swiss scientists became the next persons to reach the Cape, and the first to reach it overland from the south. In 1960 an American team from the U. S. Geological Survey became the first persons to fly to Cape Morris Jesup, reaching it by helicopter. In 1965 the Danish Sledge Patrol Sirius first reached the Cape, the first to do so by dog sledge since Koch in 1921.
In 1968 the Humphrey’s Arctic Expedition attempted to fly to Cape Morris Jesup after an aborted attempt to reach the North Pole. The flight landed some twenty miles beyond Cape Morris Jesup at another cape. The confusion created by Humphrey’s misidentification of his location and the follow up expeditions that attempted answer the map ambiguities became the inspiration for my book which is a history of mapping and exploration in northern Greenland.
My book Beyond the Edge tells the story of one hundred and fifty years of Arctic exploration leading to the discovery of Cape Morris Jesup and beyond. It weaves together a history of brave and foolish men who sought fame and/or fortune, and whose exploits are often recorded as place names on the maps we use today.
Interested in learning more about Cape Morris Jessup? Get your copy of Beyond the Edge today!