Polar classification scheme sheds light on bold expeditions that never were

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System aims to uncover whether unsupported crossings had no human help and verify accuracy of record-breaking feats

“Polar exploration,” said Apsley Cherry-Garrard, the companion of Capt Robert Falcon Scott, who later found the Antarctic explorer’s body, “is at once the cleanest and most isolated way of having a bad time that has yet been devised.”

But while previous generations of polar travellers devised their own rules for their gruelling journeys, a new certification scheme has been launched after growing controversy over allegedly inflated claims of exploits at the Earth’s two poles.

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