Abandoned in the Arctic

In August 1881 Lt. Adolphus W. Greely and a team of 24 determined men set out as part of the First International Polar Year to build a research station on Ellesmere Island, 450 miles from the North Pole. The Lady Franklin Bay Expedition began as the most ambitious arctic expedition in United States history, but was destined to descend into a three year journey through frozen hell - a voyage of forced retreat, starvation, brewing mutiny and cannibalism. Against all odds, six men survived.

“Abandoned in the Arctic”, a new HD documentary from Cocked Hat Ventures LLC, is a story of survival and redemption in the face of staggering physical hardship and the underlying account of political scandal, cover-up and gross negligence by the U.S government. “Abandoned” attempts to unravel the mystery surrounding what really happened during the three years Greely and his men were marooned in the arctic. Did the U.S. government abandon 25 men to certain death? Did Greely's arrogance and miss-calculation result in the death of 19 men? Or, was he a skilled leader whose courage, integrity and humanity made it possible for even some to survive?

Fast-forward to June 2004 when a team of five men and one woman, including the great, great, grandson of A.W. Greely, 25 year old James Shedd, embarked on a journey to retrace the Lady Franklin Bay Expedition's footsteps in search of answers to the Greely mystery.

“Retracing the Journey”, is a compelling daily journal of the team's six weeks in the arctic, written and photographed during the filming of “Abandoned in the Arctic”. After landing on the treacherous coast of Canada's Ellsmere Island, the team set out in kayak's and on foot to retrace Greely's epic 250 mile retreat south to Cape Sabine.

The team's journey over rough terrain and treacherous, ice jammed waters was a constant challenge, and it was simple luck that one of the men narrowly escaped death in an unexpected and terrifying accident. Ultimately, the team experienced the arctic as a voyage of discovery merging the past with the present, while James Shedd found affirmation in the pursuit of his own Greely legacy.

 
 
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