Cook left Gloucester, Massachusetts, in July 1907, on a refurbished schooner, named after his sponsor.  Cook built a box house at Annoatok, North Greenland,  and wintered there with Rudolph Franke, Bradley’s German cook.   In the early spring he left his winter base and crossed Smith Sound to Pim Island.  From there he proceeded across Ellesmere Island via the Sverdrup Pass and Nansen Sound, reaching Cape Thomas Hubbard in March.  Cook went northwest in the company of five Inuit, sending back all but Etukishook and Ahwellah after two days.   He was not heard of again until he returned to Annoatok in April 1909 claiming to have reached the North Pole the previous year.  
     When he announced his success by wire from the Shetland Islands on September 1, 1909, the news caused a worldwide press sensation. Since he had not returned at the expected time from his northern trip in 1908, many had given him up for dead, but he explained that they were unable to regain their outward food caches and were compelled to winter on North Devon Island before returning to their base in Greenland in the spring of 1909.

     Cook reached civilization again at Copenhagen, Denmark, touching off a frenzy of adulation, which ended with him heaped in honors.  His first lecture was attended by a huge audience including the Danish royal family.   The drama increased when, during the celebrations, word arrived from Labrador that Robert E. Peary, after 23 years of intermittent attempts, had reached the North Pole on April 6, 1909.  A few days later Peary intimated that Cook’s story should not be taken seriously, and before the week was out declared that his rival had simply “handed the world a gold brick.”  Cook felt compelled to defend himself at the awarding of a rare doctorate from the University of Copenhagen, where he dramatically addressed the audience “I show you my hands.  They are clean.”    He announced that he would cancel plans to tour Europe and immediately return to America.
    Thus began the greatest geographical dispute of all time that has come to be known as The Polar Controversy.  It was front-page news every day for the better part of four months, and even today, a small group of ardent advocates of each man still insists they champion the true discoverer.
«- 1903-1906 Mount McKinley