The Belgian Antarctic Expedition of 1897 to 1899 was the first expedition to winter in the Antarctic region. It was also the first scientific expedition to the continent itself. At the age of 25 Roald Amundsen was first mate on the expedition aboard the Norwegian-built whaling ship the Belgica. Unfortunately the vessel became locked in the Antarctic pack ice at 70°30′S off Alexander Island, west of the Antarctic Peninsula.

The crew spent several months of hardship trying to free the ship. It took them nearly a month to travel the 7 miles needed to clear the ice and return to Antwerp. In that time the expedition managed to collect a significant amount of scientific data including a full year of meteorological observations.

Belgica trapped in the ice.

Belgica while trapped in the ice