Adventurer Ralph Plaisted Dies

Sept. 13, 2008 at 12:10 PM
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WYOMING , Minn., Sept. 13 (UPI) -- Polar pioneer Ralph Plaisted -- the first man to indisputably reach the top of the world -- has died at age 80.

Plaisted died of a heart attack Monday at his home in Wyoming, Minn., The New York Times reported Saturday.

Plaisted crossed the ice by snowmobile to stand at the North Pole in 1968, definitively proving himself as the first man at the top of the world despite claims in 1909 by Frederick A. Cook and Robert E. Peary, the Times reported, noting scientists and historians have concluded Cook and Peary likely never got close to the pole.

Plaisted, who was in the insurance business, dropped out of high school and lied about his age to join the Navy, serving as a baker in the Aleutians near the end of World War II and then returning to Minnesota to start his business career and undertake amateur adventures journeys in the north, the Times reported.

Plaisted was married three times and is survived by a brother, a son, three daughters, six grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

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