Against the Ice by Ejnar Mikkelsen
The harrowing, amazing, and often amusing personal account of two mismatched Arctic explorers who banded together to keep themselves sane on an historic expedition gone horribly wrong.
Ejnar Mikkelsen was devoted to Arctic exploration. In 1910 he decided to search for the diaries of the ill-fated Mylius-Erichsen expedition, which had set out to prove that Robert Peary’s outline of the East Greenland coast was a myth, erroneous and presumably self-serving. Iver Iversen was a mechanic who joined Mikkelsen in Iceland when the expedition’s boat needed repair.
Several months later, Mikkelsen and Iversen embarked on an incredible journey during which they would suffer every imaginable Arctic travail: implacable cold, scurvy, starvation, frostbite, snow blindness, plunges into icy seawater, impossible sledding conditions, Vitamin A poisoning, debilitated dogs, apocalyptic storms, gaping crevasses, and assorted mortifications of the flesh. Mikkelsen’s diary was even eaten by a bear.
Three years of this, coupled with seemingly no hope of rescue, would drive most crazy, yet the two retained both their sanity as well as their humor.
Indeed, what may have saved them was their refusal to become as desolate as their surroundings…
Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, who co-adapted the book into a screenplay, provides the foreword to this new edition of the classic exploration memoir, which was one of The Explorer's Club’s 100 Best Books of the 20th Century.
Originally published as Two Against the Ice: A Classic Arctic Survival Story and a Remarkable Account of Companionship in the Face of Adversity. Translated from the Danish by Maurice Michael.