Only 100 years ago, no one had ever been to the South Pole. And, no one going to the south pole could count on any sort of rescue if their mission failed since that would be equally hazardous.
Now, there are flights across the south and north poles every day, and if an airplane were to go down over either pole, the onboard global positioning system would pinpoint the crash site so that the people could be rescued (weather and other factors permitting) within a day or two.
Changes happen so slowly that you hardly notice them. But, when you look at how much has changed over one very long lifetime, it's hard to even compare the life we lead now with the way people lived at the turn of the last century.