Did Amundsen pick the Bay of Whales (as he would name it) as his anchor spot because it seemed to be a shorter travel by ice? And. . .
Did he just luck up into finding Axel-Heiberg Glacier?
Scott’s route to the South Pole entailed anchoring near Ross Island in the southwestern Ross Sea, and traversing Beardmore Glacier to the Pole, as had been done in previous expeditions.
Amundsen opted to anchor a few hundred miles to the east in a new route to the Pole. From a cursory glance at the map, it appears that this might be marginally shorter.
But once he was on his way, he had to find a new pass across the mountains, which he would name Axel-Heiberg Glacier, which was a *shorter, but steeper climb.
It would seem, then, that when he landed and started crossing the Ross Ice Shelf, he didn’t know how he was going to get to the Antarctic Plateau. He was just going to have to find a way.
If you look at the map of his route, it was a pretty straight shot, other than the job thru the glacier. So was it just a matter of there were so many glaciers coming out of the mountains that they figured that one of them had to be somewhat near their line of travel?
*According to Wikipedia, Beardmore drops 7200 feet over 125 miles, and Axel-Heiberg (9000 feet in 30 miles, most of that in a seven-mile stretch).