This blogger skimmed “The Impossible Rescue” by Martin W. Sandler, published in 2012.
This ebook describes the 1897 disaster in which eight whaling ships were hemmed in by mid-autumn ice for months when unexpectedly severe weather struck Point Barrow, Alaska. The total 265-member crews faced starvation, as they had insufficient food supplies for surviving more than a few months. They were subjected to darkness day and night, and temperatures tens of degrees below zero Fahrenheit.
The whalers’ volunteer-rescuers consisted of a few small parties of local natives and men from the United States who, at different intervals, coming from different directions, braved blizzards in trekking more than 1,500 miles overland with varying numbers of dogs, sleds, reindeer and hundreds of pounds in supplies. [It might be recalled that America purchased the territory of Alaska in 1867, and Alaska became a state in 1959.]
What the men did entailed life-threatening risks and extreme sacrifices. One of the groups was traveling with both dogs and reindeer simultaneously. When sleds are pulled by both kinds of animals, “…the dogs follow their natural instincts to attack the deer.” Even keeping the dogs as far back from the deer as possible proved quite difficult.
Read the book to learn what happened to the rescuers and the rescued.