The North and South Poles were the two gleaming targets for early 20th century adventurers. Explorers had tried to reach the North Pole by ship, dogsled and balloon, but all fell short, and scores had died trying. In April 1909, American Navy engineer Robert Peary, who had already failed to reach the pole once, set off to try again, this time accompanied by a party of four Inuit guides. After a bitterly cold 37-day journey over the ice by dogsled, Peary and his team planted the American flag at the earth's northernmost spot. A jubilant Peary wrote in his diary: "The Pole at last!!! The prize of three centuries, my dream and ambition for twenty-three years. Mine at last." Soon afterwards, adventurer Frederic Cook announced that he had reached the North Pole before Peary, and while some still back Cook's claim, most believe Peary reached the pole first.