In these days of satellite navigation systems and instant communications, it is tempting to regard such endeavours as circumnavigating the globe, walking across the Arctic, or reaching the summit of the world’s highest mountains as less perilous than they once were.
They remain quite perilous enough, though, as the death of Philip Goodeve-Docker, caught in a snowstorm while trying to cross Greenland’s ice sheet, shows, as does the fate of Luke Stimson, who fell overboard as he sailed back from Japan across the Pacific. The elements still have the power to defeat even the most intrepid.
But such tragedies should not deter those who would challenge the forces of nature and themselves. They should rather remind the rest of us of the courage it takes to embark on such expeditions and serve as a salutary warning that success cannot be taken for granted.