Captain Louis L Lane kayaking

Louis L. Lane

Arctic Captain and Explorer










Icy Hell by Will E. Hudson

Will Hudson's account of the Voyage of the Schooner Polar Bear and Overland Journey 1913-1914 - Captain Louis Lane, Will Hudson, Eben Draper and Dunbar Lockwood

Chapter 1 - 3

Chapters 4 - 7

Chapters 8-10

Chapters 11-13

Chapters 14-16

Chapters 17-19

Chapters 20-21

Map of the Voyage













   Captain Louis L. Lane   Polar Bear and Elvira    Louis Lane Overland Trip Camp Comfort
Louis Leon Lane 1879-1940 youngest son of CD Lane, was born in American Falls Idaho, and became a great captain and navigator of the sea. Those brave and lucky enough to sail with him, had the adventure of a lifetime. His family settled in Murphy's California, he died of a heart attack while deer hunting in Alpine County, 1940 at 60 years of age.


Map of the Schooner Polar Bear voyage and overland journey 1913 - 1914

1913: Thank you New Bedford Whaling Museum for permission to use photos from their book and online exhibit of "The Voyage of the Polar Bear" 1987 by Bernhard Kilian, Chief Engineer, by the Old Dartmouth Historical Society and the Alaska Historical Commission. Visit their website at New Bedford Whaling Museum.

vessel Great Bear 1916
The hull of the three mast schooner "Great Bear" was protected with a sheeting of ironwood. The vessel was considered to be the staunchest ice ship afloat and carried the Borden - Lane expedition headed for the north to join Vilhjalmur Stefansson. It was totally wrecked on Pinnacle rock in the Bearing Sea, but it's party reached St. Matthew's Island in safety and was subsequently rescued.

The wreck of the Great Bear 1916 - Popular Mechanics article

The wreck of the Great Bear 1916 - Borden Vessel on the Rocks

GREAT BEAR U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed at Nome August 27, 1916:
The 367 ton wooden gas screw Great Bear stranded on the center of Pinnacle Rock on the west side and seven miles out from Saint Matthews Island and was lost Thursday August 10, 1916. Captain L L Lane of Seattle blames faulty dead reckoning and a lack of knowledge of current conditions was to blame. The Great Bear departed Unalaska August 6th bound for Saint Paul and Saint George Islands with a crew of 21 and 275 ton of general merchandise worth $50,000. The crew survived the wreck but the Great Bear, valued at $80,000 and her cargo were both lost. The vessel had no insurance. The weather at 12:57 a.m. when the accident occurred was “wind blowing about ten miles an hour, weather intensely thick and dark, heavy SW ground swell, very dark.” The crew of the Great Bear was assisted by the USCG Cutter McCullough fifteen days after the wreck.

Mapping and Location : Westcentral Alaska 60 24 N 172 42 W Chart 16006

Additional Information : Tonnage 367 Gross 223 Net, Built Port Blakely Washington 1916, Registered Seattle, ON 214235, Owners L L Lane and John Borden of Chicago, Vessel Value $80,000, Insurance none

Source : U S Coast Guard Report of Casualty filed at Nome August 27, 1916

(Captain Lane's sister Ila Lane was aboard this trip).


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