Two Against the Ice: A Classic Arctic Survival Story and a Remarkable Account of Companionship in the Face of Adversity
By Ejnar Mikkelsen. Translated from the Danish by Maurice Michael. Foreword by Lawrence Millman. First published in 1955. Steerforth Press, 2003, 206 pp.
“Terrible trips make for excellent reading,” says Lawrence Millman in his foreword to Two Against the Ice
by the great Danish Arctic explorer Ejnar Mikkelsen. As a longtime reader of disaster journeys, I can only agree. These trips don’t have to take place in icy lands. I was certainly gripped by Cooper’s Creek, Alan Moorehead’s account of the Burk and Wills expedition into the center of Australia. But there’s no question that many of the greatest terrible trips have been set in Arctic or Antarctic regions. Think of the journeys of Shackleton, Scott, Mawson—and add Mikkelsen to the list.
Mikkelsen seems to have been destined for the north. When he was a youth, already an adventurer working on ships in the Far East, an Indian in Calcutta, he says, “foretold me a future in a land so white and desolate that he had never imagined anything like it.” This proved to be true. In the north, he found his calling: he went on to explore Greenland, Siberia, Alaska. “What are you to do,” he asks, “when you have been born with eternal unrest in your body and are drawn to none but those parts of the world that sensible people regard as fit only for fools?” (more…)