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Friday, 26 April 2013

Ralph Plaisted, Adventurer - 1927 - 2008.

 
Ralph Plaisted showing you where he would be travelling within the month.

Another claim to fame for the Plaisted family is Ralph Summers Plaisted who was born 30th September 1927 in Bruno, Minn., south west of Duluth.  He was the son of Orey Plaisted and Phyllis Summers

Though he dropped out of High School in tenth grade, I doubt anyone could imagine that he would end up holding the title with three friends of the first person to be verified at the North Pole.  This is his story.

He made his mother very proud by joining the Navy, where he became a Baker in the Aleutians towards the end of World War II.  After leaving the Navy he finally settled in St Pauls where he opened his own Insurance Agency.

Information read from another blog by Michael Plaisted who is a relative of Ralph's through his father says that Ralph was out drinking with three of his mates when the idea of making a trip to the North Pole on Snowmobiles a recent invention would be a great idea.  This was in 1967.  Snowmobiles had only been around a few years, the first time Ralph sat on one he loved it.  He proved that they were capable of extended journeys in 1965 when he did a 14 hour journey of 250 miles from Ely to St Paul's.

The title of the first proven team to cross the ice to the top of the world goes to Ralph Plaisted and his friends.  Gerald Pitzl, Jean-Luc Bombardier & Walter Pederson.  On their first attempt in 1967 failed, however all their trails and tribulations were documented by TV Journalist Charles Kuralt.

On 7th March 1968 they set out for another shot at reaching the North Pole.  They left Ward Hunt Island in Canada which was 474 miles from the North Pole.  They had many challenges along the way.  It took them 44 days to reach the North Pole, travelling through ice ridges and fissures and of course all the weather changes that occurred.  Once on the pole they hoisted flags for America & Canada then put up tents and rested.  The following morning they had to move their tents 2 miles back to the North Pole, this certainly shows how much movement there is in the ice.  A 10am that morning a US Forces aircraft confirmed their position as on top of the world, right at the North Pole.

There are various books written about this mans story, it would certainly make an interesting read.

My information came from one of Ralph Plaisted's obituaries which states that he died of a heart attack 8th September 2008.  Here is the link to that obituary.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/09/13/us/13plaisted.html?_r=0