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Scott's Last Expedition Volume I by Captain R. F. Scott

Part 8 out of 10

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which made me hopeful of much better things, but these did not last
long. The crocks still go. Jehu seems even a little better than
yesterday, and will certainly go another march. Chinaman reported
bad the first half march, but bucked up the second. The dogs found
the surface heavy. To-morrow I propose to relieve them of a forage
bag. The sky was slightly overcast during the march, with radiating
cirro-stratus S.S.W.-N.N.E. Now very clear and bright again. Temp,
at night -14 deg., now 4 deg.. A very slight southerly breeze, from which
the walls protect the animals well. I feel sure that the long day's
rest in the sun is very good for all of them.

Our ponies marched very steadily last night. They seem to take the
soft crusts and difficult plodding surface more easily. The loss of
condition is not so rapid as noticed to One Ton Camp, except perhaps
in Victor, who is getting to look very gaunt. Nobby seems fitter and
stronger than when he started; he alone is ready to go all his feed
at any time and as much more as he can get. The rest feel fairly well,
but they are getting a very big strong ration. I am beginning to feel
more hopeful about them. Christopher kicked the bow of his sledge in
towards the end of the march. He must have a lot left in him though.

_Tuesday, November_ 21.--Camp 17. Lat. 80 deg. 35'. The surface decidedly
better and the ponies very steady on the march. None seem overtired,
and now it is impossible not to take a hopeful view of their prospect
of pulling through. (Temp. -14 deg., night.) The only circumstance to be
feared is a reversion to bad surfaces, and that ought not to happen on
this course. We marched to the usual lunch camp and saw a large cairn
ahead. Two miles beyond we came on the Motor Party in Lat. 80 deg. 32'. We
learned that they had been waiting for six days. They all look very
fit, but declare themselves to be very hungry. This is interesting as
showing conclusively that a ration amply sufficient for the needs of
men leading ponies is quite insufficient for men doing hard pulling
work; it therefore fully justifies the provision which we have made
for the Summit work. Even on that I have little doubt we shall soon
get hungry. Day looks very thin, almost gaunt, but fit. The weather
is beautiful--long may it so continue. (Temp. +6 deg., 11 A.M.)

It is decided to take on the Motor Party in advance for three days,
then Day and Hooper return. We hope Jehu will last three days; he will
then be finished in any case and fed to the dogs. It is amusing to
see Meares looking eagerly for the chance of a feed for his animals;
he has been expecting it daily. On the other hand, Atkinson and Oates
are eager to get the poor animal beyond the point at which Shackleton
killed his first beast. Reports on Chinaman are very favourable,
and it really looks as though the ponies are going to do what is
hoped of them.

_Wednesday, November_ 22.--Camp 18. Everything much the same. The
ponies thinner but not much weaker. The crocks still going along. Jehu
is now called 'The Barrier Wonder' and Chinaman 'The Thunderbolt.' Two
days more and they will be well past the spot at which Shackleton
killed his first animal. Nobby keeps his pre-eminence of condition and
has now the heaviest load by some 50 lbs.; most of the others are under
500 lbs. load, and I hope will be eased further yet. The dogs are in
good form still, and came up well with their loads this morning (night
temp. -14 deg.). It looks as though we ought to get through to the Glacier
without great difficulty. The weather is glorious and the ponies
can make the most of their rest during the warmest hours, but they
certainly lose in one way by marching at night. The surface is much
easier for the sledges when the sun is warm, and for about three hours
before and after midnight the friction noticeably increases. It is
just a question whether this extra weight on the loads is compensated
by the resting temperature. We are quite steady on the march now, and
though not fast yet get through with few stops. The animals seem to be
getting accustomed to the steady, heavy plod and take the deep places
less fussily. There is rather an increased condition of false crust,
that is, a crust which appears firm till the whole weight of the animal
is put upon it, when it suddenly gives some three or four inches. This
is very trying for the poor beasts. There are also more patches in
which the men sink, so that walking is getting more troublesome,
but, speaking broadly, the crusts are not comparatively bad and the
surface is rather better than it was. If the hot sun continues this
should still further improve. One cannot see any reason why the crust
should change in the next 100 miles. (Temp. + 2 deg..)

The land is visible along the western horizon in patches. Bowers
points out a continuous dark band. Is this the dolerite sill?

_Thursday, November_ 23.--Camp 19. Getting along. I think the
ponies will get through; we are now 150 geographical miles from
the Glacier. But it is still rather touch and go. If one or more
ponies were to go rapidly down hill we might be in queer street. The
surface is much the same I think; before lunch there seemed to be a
marked improvement, and after lunch the ponies marched much better,
so that one supposed a betterment of the friction. It is banking up
to the south (T. +9 deg.) and I'm afraid we may get a blizzard. I hope to
goodness it is not going to stop one marching; forage won't allow that.

_Friday, November 24._--Camp 20. There was a cold wind changing from
south to S.E. and overcast sky all day yesterday. A gloomy start to our
march, but the cloud rapidly lifted, bands of clear sky broke through
from east to west, and the remnants of cloud dissipated. Now the sun
is very bright and warm. We did the usual march very easily over a
fairly good surface, the ponies now quite steady and regular. Since
the junction with the Motor Party the procedure has been for the
man-hauling people to go forward just ahead of the crocks, the other
party following 2 or 3 hours later. To-day we closed less than usual,
so that the crocks must have been going very well. However, the fiat
had already gone forth, and this morning after the march poor old
Jehu was led back on the track and shot. After our doubts as to his
reaching Hut Point, it is wonderful to think that he has actually
got eight marches beyond our last year limit and could have gone
more. However, towards the end he was pulling very little, and on the
whole it is merciful to have ended his life. Chinaman seems to improve
and will certainly last a good many days yet. The rest show no signs
of flagging and are only moderately hungry. The surface is tiring for
walking, as one sinks two or three inches nearly all the time. I feel
we ought to get through now. Day and Hooper leave us to-night.

_Saturday, November 25._--Camp 21. The surface during the first
march was very heavy owing to a liberal coating of ice crystals; it
improved during the second march becoming quite good towards the end
(T.-2 deg.). Now that it is pretty warm at night it is obviously desirable
to work towards day marching. We shall start 2 hours later to-night
and again to-morrow night.

Last night we bade farewell to Day and Hooper and set out with the
new organisation (T.-8 deg.). All started together, the man-haulers,
Evans, Lashly, and Atkinson, going ahead with their gear on the
10-ft. sledge. Chinaman and James Pigg next, and the rest some
ten minutes behind. We reached the lunch camp together and started
therefrom in the same order, the two crocks somewhat behind, but
not more than 300 yards at the finish, so we all got into camp very
satisfactorily together. The men said the first march was extremely
heavy (T.-(-2 deg.).

The sun has been shining all night, but towards midnight light mist
clouds arose, half obscuring the leading parties. Land can be dimly
discerned nearly ahead. The ponies are slowly tiring, but we lighten
loads again to-morrow by making another depot. Meares has just come up
to report that Jehu made four feeds for the dogs. He cut up very well
and had quite a lot of fat on him. Meares says another pony will carry
him to the Glacier. This is very good hearing. The men are pulling
with ski sticks and say that they are a great assistance. I think of
taking them up the Glacier. Jehu has certainly come up trumps after
all, and Chinaman bids fair to be even more valuable. Only a few more
marches to feel safe in getting to our first goal.

_Sunday, November_ 26.--Camp 22. Lunch camp. Marched here fairly
easily, comparatively good surface. Started at 1 A.M. (midnight,
local time). We now keep a steady pace of 2 miles an hour, very good
going. The sky was slightly overcast at start and between two and three
it grew very misty. Before we camped we lost sight of the men-haulers
only 300 yards ahead. The sun is piercing the mist. Here in Lat. 81 deg.
35' we are leaving our 'Middle Barrier Depot,' one week for each re
unit as at Mount Hooper.

Camp 22.--Snow began falling during the second march; it is blowing
from the W.S.W., force 2 to 3, with snow pattering on the tent,
a kind of summery blizzard that reminds one of April showers at
home. The ponies came well on the second march and we shall start
2 hours later again to-morrow, i.e. at 3 A.M. (T.+13 deg.). From this
it will be a very short step to day routine when the time comes for
man-hauling. The sastrugi seem to be gradually coming more to the
south and a little more confused; now and again they are crossed with
hard westerly sastrugi. The walking is tiring for the men, one's feet
sinking 2 or 3 inches at each step. Chinaman and Jimmy Pigg kept up
splendidly with the other ponies. It is always rather dismal work
walking over the great snow plain when sky and surface merge in one
pall of dead whiteness, but it is cheering to be in such good company
with everything going on steadily and well. The dogs came up as we
camped. Meares says the best surface he has had yet.

_Monday, November_ 27.--Camp 23. (T. +8 deg., 12 P.M.; +2 deg., 3 A.M.; +13 deg.,
11 A.M.; +17 deg., 3 P.M.) Quite the most trying march we have had. The
surface very poor at start. The advance party got away in front but
made heavy weather of it, and we caught them up several times. This
threw the ponies out of their regular work and prolonged the march. It
grew overcast again, although after a summery blizzard all yesterday
there was promise of better things. Starting at 3 A.M. we did not
get to lunch camp much before 9. The second march was even worse. The
advance party started on ski, the leading marks failed altogether, and
they had the greatest difficulty in keeping a course. At the midcairn
building halt the snow suddenly came down heavily, with a rise of
temperature, and the ski became hopelessly clogged (bad fahrer,
as the Norwegians say). At this time the surface was unspeakably
heavy for pulling, but in a few minutes a south wind sprang up and a
beneficial result was immediately felt. Pulling on foot, the advance
had even greater difficulty in going straight until the last half
mile, when the sky broke slightly. We got off our march, but under
the most harassing circumstances and with the animals very tired. It
is snowing hard again now, and heaven only knows when it will stop.

If it were not for the surface and bad light, things would not be
so bad. There are few sastrugi and little deep snow. For the most
part men and ponies sink to a hard crust some 3 or 4 inches beneath
the soft upper snow. Tiring for the men, but in itself more even,
and therefore less tiring for the animals. Meares just come up and
reporting very bad surface. We shall start 1 hour later to-morrow,
i.e. at 4 A.M., making 5 hours' delay on the conditions of three days
ago. Our forage supply necessitates that we should plug on the 13
(geographical) miles daily under all conditions, so that we can only
hope for better things. It is several days since we had a glimpse
of land, which makes conditions especially gloomy. A tired animal
makes a tired man, I find, and none of us are very bright now after
the day's march, though we have had ample sleep of late.

_Tuesday, November_ 28.--Camp 24. The most dismal start
imaginable. Thick as a hedge, snow falling and drifting with keen
southerly wind. The men pulled out at 3.15 with Chinaman and James
Pigg. We followed at 4.20, just catching the party at the lunch camp at
8.30. Things got better half way; the sky showed signs of clearing and
the steering improved. Now, at lunch, it is getting thick again. When
will the wretched blizzard be over? The walking is better for ponies,
worse for men; there is nearly everywhere a hard crust some 3 to 6
inches down. Towards the end of the march we crossed a succession
of high hard south-easterly sastrugi, widely dispersed. I don't know
what to make of these.

Second march almost as horrid as the first. Wind blowing strong from
the south, shifting to S.E. as the snowstorms fell on us, when we
could see little or nothing, and the driving snow hit us stingingly
in the face. The general impression of all this dirty weather is that
it spreads in from the S.E. We started at 4 A.M., and I think I shall
stick to that custom for the present. These last four marches have
been fought for, but completed without hitch, and, though we camped
in a snowstorm, there is a more promising look in the sky, and if
only for a time the wind has dropped and the sun shines brightly,
dispelling some of the gloomy results of the distressing marching.

Chinaman, 'The Thunderbolt,' has been shot to-night. Plucky little
chap, he has stuck it out well and leaves the stage but a few days
before his fellows. We have only four bags of forage (each one 30
lbs.) left, but these should give seven marches with all the remaining
animals, and we are less than 90 miles from the Glacier. Bowers tells
me that the barometer was phenomenally low both during this blizzard
and the last. This has certainly been the most unexpected and trying
summer blizzard yet experienced in this region. I only trust it is
over. There is not much to choose between the remaining ponies. Nobby
and Bones are the strongest, Victor and Christopher the weakest,
but all should get through. The land doesn't show up yet.

_Wednesday, November_ 29.--Camp 25. Lat. 82 deg. 21'. Things much
better. The land showed up late yesterday; Mount Markham, a magnificent
triple peak, appearing wonderfully close, Cape Lyttelton and Cape
Goldie. We did our march in good time, leaving about 4.20, and getting
into this camp at 1.15. About 7 1/2 hours on the march. I suppose
our speed throughout averages 2 stat. miles an hour.

The land showed hazily on the march, at times looking remarkably
near. Sheety white snowy stratus cloud hung about overhead during
the first march, but now the sky is clearing, the sun very warm and
bright. Land shows up almost ahead now, our pony goal less than 70
miles away. The ponies are tired, but I believe all have five days'
work left in them, and some a great deal more. Chinaman made four feeds
for the dogs, and I suppose we can count every other pony as a similar
asset. It follows that the dogs can be employed, rested, and fed well
on the homeward track. We could really get though now with their help
and without much delay, yet every consideration makes it desirable
to save the men from heavy hauling as long as possible. So I devoutly
hope the 70 miles will come in the present order of things. Snippets
and Nobby now walk by themselves, following in the tracks well. Both
have a continually cunning eye on their driver, ready to stop the
moment he pauses. They eat snow every few minutes. It's a relief not
having to lead an animal; such trifles annoy one on these marches,
the animal's vagaries, his everlasting attempts to eat his head rope,
&c. Yet all these animals are very full of character. Some day I must
write of them and their individualities.

The men-haulers started 1 1/2 hours before us and got here a good
hour ahead, travelling easily throughout. Such is the surface
with the sun on it, justifying my decision to work towards day
marching. Evans has suggested the word 'glide' for the quality of
surface indicated. 'Surface' is more comprehensive, and includes
the crusts and liability to sink in them. From this point of view the
surface is distinctly bad. The ponies plough deep all the time, and the
men most of the time. The sastrugi are rather more clearly S.E.; this
would be from winds sweeping along the coast. We have a recurrence of
'sinking crusts'--areas which give way with a report. There has been
little of this since we left One Ton Camp until yesterday and to-day,
when it is again very marked. Certainly the open Barrier conditions are
different from those near the coast. Altogether things look much better
and everyone is in excellent spirits. Meares has been measuring the
holes made by ponies' hooves and finds an average of about 8 inches
since we left One Ton Camp. He finds many holes a foot deep. This
gives a good indication of the nature of the work. In Bowers' tent
they had some of Chinaman's undercut in their hoosh yesterday, and
say it was excellent. I am cook for the present. Have been discussing
pony snowshoes. I wish to goodness the animals would wear them--it
would save them any amount of labour in such surfaces as this.

_Thursday, November_ 30.--Camp 26. A very pleasant day for marching,
but a very tiring march for the poor animals, which, with the exception
of Nobby, are showing signs of failure all round. We were slower by
half an hour or more than yesterday. Except that the loads are light
now and there are still eight animals left, things don't look too
pleasant, but we should be less than 60 miles from our first point
of aim. The surface was much worse to-day, the ponies sinking to
their knees very often. There were a few harder patches towards the
end of the march. In spite of the sun there was not much 'glide' on
the snow. The dogs are reported as doing very well. They are going
to be a great standby, no doubt. The land has been veiled in thin
white mist; it appeared at intervals after we camped and I had taken
a couple of photographs.

_Friday, December_ 1.--Camp 27. Lat. 82 deg. 47'. The ponies are tiring
pretty rapidly. It is a question of days with all except Nobby. Yet
they are outlasting the forage, and to-night against some opinion I
decided Christopher must go. He has been shot; less regret goes with
him than the others, in remembrance of all the trouble he gave at the
outset, and the unsatisfactory way he has gone of late. Here we leave
a depot [31] so that no extra weight is brought on the other ponies;
in fact there is a slight diminution. Three more marches ought to
bring us through. With the seven crocks and the dog teams we _must_
get through I think. The men alone ought not to have heavy loads on
the surface, which is extremely trying.

Nobby was tried in snowshoes this morning, and came along splendidly
on them for about four miles, then the wretched affairs racked and had
to be taken off. There is no doubt that these snowshoes are _the_ thing
for ponies, and had ours been able to use them from the beginning they
would have been very different in appearance at this moment. I think
the sight of land has helped the animals, but not much. We started in
bright warm sunshine and with the mountains wonderfully clear on our
right hand, but towards the end of the march clouds worked up from the
east and a thin broken cumulo-stratus now overspreads the sky, leaving
the land still visible but dull. A fine glacier descends from Mount
Longstaff. It has cut very deep and the walls stand at an angle of at
least 50 deg.. Otherwise, although there are many cwms on the lower ranges,
the mountains themselves seem little carved. They are rounded massive
structures. A cliff of light yellow-brown rock appears opposite us,
flanked with black or dark brown rock, which also appears under the
lighter colour. One would be glad to know what nature of rock these
represent. There is a good deal of exposed rock on the next range also.

_Saturday, December_ 2.--Camp 28. Lat. 83 deg.. Started under very bad
weather conditions. The stratus spreading over from the S.E. last night
meant mischief, and all day we marched in falling snow with a horrible
light. The ponies went poorly on the first march, when there was little
or no wind and a high temperature. They were sinking deep on a wretched
surface. I suggested to Oates that he should have a roving commission
to watch the animals, but he much preferred to lead one, so I handed
over Snippets very willingly and went on ski myself. It was very easy
work for me and I took several photographs of the ponies plunging
along--the light very strong at 3 (Watkins actinometer). The ponies
did much better on the second march, both surface and glide improved;
I went ahead and found myself obliged to take a very steady pace to
keep the lead, so we arrived in camp in flourishing condition. Sad to
have to order Victor's end--poor Bowers feels it. He is in excellent
condition and will provide five feeds for the dogs. (Temp. + 17 deg..) We
must kill now as the forage is so short, but we have reached the 83rd
parallel and are practically safe to get through. To-night the sky is
breaking and conditions generally more promising--it is dreadfully
dismal work marching through the blank wall of white, and we should
have very great difficulty if we had not a party to go ahead and show
the course. The dogs are doing splendidly and will take a heavier
load from to-morrow. We kill another pony to-morrow night if we get
our march off, and shall then have nearly three days' food for the
other five. In fact everything looks well if the weather will only
give us a chance to see our way to the Glacier. Wild, in his Diary of
Shackleton's Journey, remarks on December 15, that it is the first day
for a month that he could not record splendid weather. With us a fine
day has been the exception so far. However, we have not lost a march
yet. It was so warm when we camped that the snow melted as it fell,
and everything got sopping wet. Oates came into my tent yesterday,
exchanging with Cherry-Garrard.

The lists now: Self, Wilson, Oates, and Keohane. Bowers, P.O. Evans,
Cherry and Crean.

Man-haulers: E. R. Evans, Atkinson, Wright, and Lashly. We have all
taken to horse meat and are so well fed that hunger isn't thought of.

_Sunday, December_ 3.--Camp 29. Our luck in weather is preposterous. I
roused the hands at 2.30 A.M., intending to get away at 5. It was
thick and snowy, yet we could have got on; but at breakfast the
wind increased, and by 4.30 it was blowing a full gale from the
south. The pony wall blew down, huge drifts collected, and the sledges
were quickly buried. It was the strongest wind I have known here in
summer. At 11 it began to take off. At 12.30 we got up and had lunch
and got ready to start. The land appeared, the clouds broke, and
by 1.30 we were in bright sunshine. We were off at 2 P.M., the land
showing all round, and, but for some cloud to the S.E., everything
promising. At 2.15 I saw the south-easterly cloud spreading up;
it blotted out the land 30 miles away at 2.30 and was on us before
3. The sun went out, snow fell thickly, and marching conditions became
horrible. The wind increased from the S.E., changed to S.W., where
it hung for a time, and suddenly shifted to W.N.W. and then N.N.W.,
from which direction it is now blowing with falling and drifting
snow. The changes of conditions are inconceivably rapid, perfectly
bewildering. In spite of all these difficulties we have managed to
get 11 1/2 miles south and to this camp at 7 P.M.-the conditions of
marching simply horrible.

The man-haulers led out 6 miles (geo.) and then camped. I think
they had had enough of leading. We passed them, Bowers and I ahead
on ski. We steered with compass, the drifting snow across our ski,
and occasional glimpse of south-easterly sastrugi under them, till
the sun showed dimly for the last hour or so. The whole weather
conditions seem thoroughly disturbed, and if they continue so when we
are on the Glacier, we shall be very awkwardly placed. It is really
time the luck turned in our favour--we have had all too little of
it. Every mile seems to have been hardly won under such conditions. The
ponies did splendidly and the forage is lasting a little better than
expected. Victor was found to have quite a lot of fat on him and the
others are pretty certain to have more, so that vwe should have no
difficulty whatever as regards transport if only the weather was kind.

_Monday, December_ 4.--Camp 29, 9 A.M. I roused the party at
6. During the night the wind had changed from N.N.W. to S.S.E.; it
was not strong, but the sun was obscured and the sky looked heavy;
patches of land could be faintly seen and we thought that at any rate
we could get on, but during breakfast the wind suddenly increased
in force and afterwards a glance outside was sufficient to show a
regular white floury blizzard. We have all been out building fresh
walls for the ponies--an uninviting task, but one which greatly adds
to the comfort of the animals, who look sleepy and bored, but not at
all cold. The dogs came up with us as we camped last night arid the
man-haulers arrived this morning as we finished the pony wall. So we
are all together again. The latter had great difficulty in following
our tracks, and say they could not have steered a course without
them. It is utterly impossible to push ahead in this weather, and
one is at a complete loss to account for it. The barometer rose from
29.4 to 29.9 last night, a phenomenal rise. Evidently there is very
great disturbance of atmospheric conditions. Well, one must stick it
out, that is all, and hope for better things, but it makes me feel
a little bitter to contrast such weather with that experienced by
our predecessors.

Camp 30.--The wind fell in the forenoon, at 12.30 the sky began to
clear, by 1 the sun shone, by 2 P.M. we were away, and by 8 P.M. camped
here with 13 miles to the good. The land was quite clear throughout
the march and the features easily recognised. There are several
uncharted glaciers of large dimensions, a confluence of three under
Mount Reid. The mountains are rounded in outline, very massive, with
small excrescent peaks and undeveloped 'cwms' (T. + 18 deg.). The cwms
are very fine in the lower foot-hills and the glaciers have carved
deep channels between walls at very high angles; one or two peaks on
the foot-hills stand bare and almost perpendicular, probably granite;
we should know later. Ahead of us is the ice-rounded, boulder-strewn
Mount Hope and the gateway to the Glacier. We should reach it easily
enough on to-morrow's march if we can compass 12 miles. The ponies
marched splendidly to-day, crossing the deep snow in the undulations
without difficulty. They must be in very much better condition than
Shackleton's animals, and indeed there isn't a doubt they would go
many miles yet if food allowed. The dogs are simply splendid, but came
in wanting food, so we had to sacrifice poor little Michael, who,
like the rest, had lots of fat on him. All the tents are consuming
pony flesh and thoroughly enjoying it.

We have only lost 5 or 6 miles on these two wretched days, but the
disturbed condition of the weather makes me anxious with regard to the
Glacier, where more than anywhere we shall need fine days. One has a
horrid feeling that this is a real bad season. However, sufficient
for the day is the evil thereof. We are practically through with
the first stage of our journey. Looking from the last camp towards
the S.S.E., where the farthest land can be seen, it seemed more
than probable that a very high latitude could be reached on the
Barrier, and if Amundsen journeying that way has a stroke of luck,
he may well find his summit journey reduced to 100 miles or so. In
any case it is a fascinating direction for next year's work if only
fresh transport arrives. The dips between undulations seem to be
about 12 to 15 feet. To-night we get puffs of wind from the gateway,
which for the moment looks uninviting.

Four Days' Delay

_Tuesday, December_ 5.--Camp 30. Noon. We awoke this morning to
a raging, howling blizzard. The blows we have had hitherto have
lacked the very fine powdery snow--that especial feature of the
blizzard. To-day we have it fully developed. After a minute or two in
the open one is covered from head to foot. The temperature is high, so
that what falls or drives against one sticks. The ponies--head, tails,
legs, and all parts not protected by their rugs--are covered with ice;
the animals are standing deep in snow, the sledges are almost covered,
and huge drifts above the tents. We have had breakfast, rebuilt the
walls, and are now again in our bags. One cannot see the next tent,
let alone the land. What on earth does such weather mean at this time
of year? It is more than our share of ill-fortune, I think, but the
luck may turn yet. I doubt if any party could travel in such weather
even with the wind, certainly no one could travel against it.

Is there some widespread atmospheric disturbance which will be felt
everywhere in this region as a bad season, or are we merely the
victims of exceptional local conditions? If the latter, there is food
for thought in picturing our small party struggling against adversity
in one place whilst others go smilingly forward in the sunshine. How
great may be the element of luck! No foresight--no procedure--could
have prepared us for this state of affairs. Had we been ten times
as experienced or certain of our aim we should not have expected
such rebuffs.

11 P.M.--It has blown hard all day with quite the greatest snowfall I
remember. The drifts about the tents are simply huge. The temperature
was + 27 deg. this forenoon, and rose to +31 deg. in the afternoon, at
which time the snow melted as it fell on anything but the snow,
and, as a consequence, there are pools of water on everything,
the tents are wet through, also the wind clothes, night boots, &c.;
water drips from the tent poles and door, lies on the floorcloth,
soaks the sleeping-bags, and makes everything pretty wretched. If a
cold snap follows before we have had time to dry our things, we shall
be mighty uncomfortable. Yet after all it would be humorous enough
if it were not for the seriousness of delay--we can't afford that,
and it's real hard luck that it should come at such a time. The wind
shows signs of easing down, but the temperature does not fall and
the snow is as wet as ever--not promising signs of abatement.

Keohane's rhyme!

The snow is all melting and everything's afloat, If this goes on
much longer we shall have to turn the _tent_ upside down and use it
as a boat.

_Wednesday, December_ 6.--Camp 30. Noon. Miserable, utterly
miserable. We have camped in the 'Slough of Despond.' The tempest
rages with unabated violence. The temperature has gone to 33 deg.;
everything in the tent is soaking. People returning from the outside
look exactly as though they had been in a heavy shower of rain. They
drip pools on the floorcloth. The snow is steadily climbing higher
about walls, ponies, tents, and sledges. The ponies look utterly
desolate. Oh! but this is too crushing, and we are only 12 miles from
the Glacier. A hopeless feeling descends on one and is hard to fight
off. What immense patience is needed for such occasions!

11 P.M.--At 5 there came signs of a break at last, and now one can
see the land, but the sky is still overcast and there is a lot of
snow about. The wind also remains fairly strong and the temperature
high. It is not pleasant, but if no worse in the morning we can get
on at last. We are very, very wet.

_Thursday, December_ 7.--Camp 30. The storm continues and the situation
is now serious. One small feed remains for the ponies after to-day,
so that we must either march to-morrow or sacrifice the animals. That
is not the worst; with the help of the dogs we could get on, without
doubt. The serious part is that we have this morning started our
summer rations, that is to say, the food calculated from the Glacier
depot has been begun. The first supporting party can only go on a
fortnight from this date and so forth. The storm shows no sign of
abatement and its character is as unpleasant as ever. The promise
of last night died away about 3 A.M., when the temperature and wind
rose again, and things reverted to the old conditions. I can find
no sign of an end, and all of us agree that it is utterly impossible
to move. Resignation to misfortune is the only attitude, but not an
easy one to adopt. It seems undeserved where plans were well laid and
so nearly crowned with a first success. I cannot see that any plan
would be altered if it were to do again, the margin for bad weather
was ample according to all experience, and this stormy December--our
finest month--is a thing that the most cautious organiser might not
have been prepared to encounter. It is very evil to lie here in a wet
sleeping-bag and think of the pity of it, whilst with no break in the
overcast sky things go steadily from bad to worse (T. 32 deg.). Meares has
a bad attack of snow blindness in one eye. I hope this rest will help
him, but he says it has been painful for a long time. There cannot
be good cheer in the camp in such weather, but it is ready to break
out again. In the brief spell of hope last night one heard laughter.

Midnight. Little or no improvement. The barometer is rising--perhaps
there is hope in that. Surely few situations could be more exasperating
than this of forced inactivity when every day and indeed one hour
counts. To be here watching the mottled wet green walls of our tent,
the glistening wet bamboos, the bedraggled sopping socks and loose
articles dangling in the middle, the saddened countenances of my
companions--to hear the everlasting patter of the falling snow
and the ceaseless rattle of the fluttering canvas--to feel the wet
clinging dampness of clothes and everything touched, and to know that
without there is but a blank wall of white on every side--these are
the physical surroundings. Add the stress of sighted failure of our
whole plan, and anyone must find the circumstances unenviable. But yet,
after all, one can go on striving, endeavouring to find a stimulation
in the difficulties that arise.

_Friday, December_ 8.--Camp 30. Hoped against hope for better
conditions, to wake to the mournfullest snow and wind as usual. We had
breakfast at 10, and at noon the wind dropped. We set about digging out
the sledges, no light task. We then shifted our tent sites. All tents
had been reduced to the smallest volume by the gradual pressure of
snow. The old sites are deep pits with hollowed-in wet centres. The
re-setting of the tent has at least given us comfort, especially
since the wind has dropped. About 4 the sky showed signs of breaking,
the sun and a few patches of land could be dimly discerned. The wind
shifted in light airs and a little hope revived. Alas! as I write
the sun has disappeared and snow is again falling.

Our case is growing desperate. Evans and his man-haulers tried to pull
a load this afternoon. They managed to move a sledge with four people
on it, pulling in ski. Pulling on foot they sank to the knees. The snow
all about us is terribly deep. We tried Nobby and he plunged to his
belly in it. Wilson thinks the ponies finished,_21_ but Oates thinks
they will get another march in spite of the surface, _if it comes
to-morrow_. If it should not, we must kill the ponies to-morrow and get
on as best we can with the men on ski and the dogs. But one wonders
what the dogs can do on such a surface. I much fear they also will
prove inadequate. Oh! for fine weather, if only to the Glacier. The
temperature remains 33 deg., and everything is disgustingly wet.

11 P.M.--The wind has gone to the north, the sky is really breaking at
last, the sun showing less sparingly, and the land appearing out of
the haze. The temperature has fallen to 26 deg., and the water nuisance
is already bating. With so fair a promise of improvement it would be
too cruel to have to face bad weather to-morrow. There is good cheer
in the camp to-night in the prospect of action. The poor ponies look
wistfully for the food of which so very little remains, yet they are
not hungry, as recent savings have resulted from food left in their
nosebags. They look wonderfully fit, all things considered. Everything
looks more hopeful to-night, but nothing can recall four lost days.

_Saturday, December_ 9.--Camp 31. I turned out two or three times in
the night to find the weather slowly improving; at 5.30 we all got up,
and at 8 got away with the ponies--a most painful day. The tremendous
snowfall of the late storm had made the surface intolerably soft,
and after the first hour there was no glide. We pressed on the poor
half-rationed animals, but could get none to lead for more than a few
minutes; following, the animals would do fairly well. It looked as
we could never make headway; the man-haulers were pressed into the
service to aid matters. Bowers and Cherry-Garrard went ahead with
one 10-foot sledge,--thus most painfully we made about a mile. The
situation was saved by P.O. Evans, who put the last pair of snowshoes
on Snatcher. From this he went on without much pressing, the other
ponies followed, and one by one were worn out in the second place. We
went on all day without lunch. Three or four miles (T. 23 deg.) found
us engulfed in pressures, but free from difficulty except the awful
softness of the snow. By 8 P.M. we had reached within a mile or so of
the slope ascending to the gap which Shackleton called the Gateway._22_
I had hoped to be through the Gateway with the ponies still in hand
at a very much earlier date and, but for the devastating storm, we
should have been. It has been a most serious blow to us, but things
are not yet desperate, if only the storm has not hopelessly spoilt
the surface. The man-haulers are not up yet, in spite of their light
load. I think they have stopped for tea, or something, but under
ordinary conditions they would have passed us with ease.

At 8 P.M. the ponies were quite done, one and all. They came on
painfully slowly a few hundred yards at a time. By this time I
was hauling ahead, a ridiculously light load, and yet finding the
pulling heavy enough. We camped, and the ponies have been shot. [32]
Poor beasts! they have done wonderfully well considering the terrible
circumstances under which they worked, but yet it is hard to have to
kill them so early. The dogs are going well in spite of the surface,
but here again one cannot get the help one would wish. (T. 19 deg..) I
cannot load the animals heavily on such snow. The scenery is most
impressive; three huge pillars of granite form the right buttress
of the Gateway, and a sharp spur of Mount Hope the left. The land is
much more snow covered than when we saw it before the storm. In spite
of some doubt in our outlook, everyone is very cheerful to-night and
jokes are flying freely around.

CHAPTER XVII

On the Beardmore Glacier

_Sunday, December_ 10.--Camp 32. [33] I was very anxious about getting
our loads forward over such an appalling surface, and that we have
done so is mainly due to the ski. I roused everyone at 8, but it
was noon before all the readjustments of load had been made and we
were ready to start. The dogs carried 600 lbs. of our weight besides
the depot (200 lbs.). It was greatly to my surprise when we--my own
party--with a 'one, two, three together' started our sledge, and we
found it running fairly easily behind us. We did the first mile at
a rate of about 2 miles an hour, having previously very carefully
scraped and dried our runners. The day was gloriously fine and we
were soon perspiring. After the first mile we began to rise, and for
some way on a steep slope we held to our ski and kept going. Then the
slope got steeper and the surface much worse, and we had to take off
our ski. The pulling after this was extraordinarily fatiguing. We sank
above our finnesko everywhere, and in places nearly to our knees. The
runners of the sledges got coated with a thin film of ice from which we
could not free them, and the sledges themselves sank to the crossbars
in soft spots. All the time they were literally ploughing the snow. We
reached the top of the slope at 5, and started on after tea on the
down grade. On this we had to pull almost as hard as on the upward
slope, but could just manage to get along on ski. We camped at 9.15,
when a heavy wind coming down the glacier suddenly fell on us; but
I had decided to camp before, as Evans' party could not keep up, and
Wilson told me some very alarming news concerning it. It appears that
Atkinson says that Wright is getting played out and Lashly is not so
fit as he was owing to the heavy pulling since the blizzard. I have
not felt satisfied about this party. The finish of the march to-day
showed clearly that something was wrong. They fell a long way behind,
had to take off ski, and took nearly half an hour to come up a few
hundred yards. True, the surface was awful and growing worse every
moment. It is a very serious business if the men are going to crack
up. As for myself, I never felt fitter and my party can easily hold
its own. P.O. Evans, of course, is a tower of strength, but Oates
and Wilson are doing splendidly also.

Here where we are camped the snow is worse than I have ever seen
it, but we are in a hollow. Every step here one sinks to the knees
and the uneven surface is obviously insufficient to support the
sledges. Perhaps this wind is a blessing in disguise, already it seems
to be hardening the snow. All this soft snow is an aftermath of our
prolonged storm. Hereabouts Shackleton found hard blue ice. It seems
an extraordinary difference in fortune, and at every step S.'s luck
becomes more evident. I take the dogs on for half a day to-morrow,
then send them home. We have 200 lbs. to add to each sledge load and
could easily do it on a reasonable surface, but it looks very much as
though we shall be forced to relay if present conditions hold. There
is a strong wind down the glacier to-night.

'_Beardmore Glacier_.--Just a tiny note to be taken back by the
dogs. Things are not so rosy as they might be, but we keep our spirits
up and say the luck must turn. This is only to tell you that I find
I can keep up with the rest as well as of old.'

_Monday, December_ 11.--Camp 33. A very good day from one point of
view, very bad from another. We started straight out over the glacier
and passed through a good deal of disturbance. We pulled on ski and the
dogs followed. I cautioned the drivers to keep close to their sledges
and we must have passed over a good many crevasses undiscovered by us,
thanks to ski, and by the dogs owing to the soft snow. In one only
Seaman Evans dropped a leg, ski and all. We built our depot [34]
before starting, made it very conspicuous, and left a good deal of
gear there. The old man-hauling party made heavy weather at first,
but when relieved of a little weight and having cleaned their runners
and re-adjusted their load they came on in fine style, and, passing
us, took the lead. Starting about 11, by 3 o'clock we were clear of
the pressure, and I camped the dogs, discharged our loads, and we put
them on our sledges. It was a very anxious business when we started
after lunch, about 4.30. Could we pull our full loads or not? My own
party got away first, and, to my joy, I found we could make fairly
good headway. Every now and again the sledge sank in a soft patch,
which brought us up, but we learned to treat such occasions with
patience. We got sideways to the sledge and hauled it out, Evans
(P.O.) getting out of his ski to get better purchase. The great thing
is to keep the sledge moving, and for an hour or more there were
dozens of critical moments when it all but stopped, and not a few in
it brought up altogether. The latter were very trying and tiring. But
suddenly the surface grew more uniform and we more accustomed to the
game, for after a long stop to let the other parties come up, I started
at 6 and ran on till 7, pulling easily without a halt at the rate of
about 2 miles an hour. I was very jubilant; all difficulties seemed
to be vanishing; but unfortunately our history was not repeated with
the other parties. Bowers came up about half an hour after us. They
also had done well at the last, and I'm pretty sure they will get
on all right. Keohane is the only weak spot, and he only, I think,
because blind (temporarily). But Evans' party didn't get up till
10. They started quite well, but got into difficulties, did just the
wrong thing by straining again and again, and so, tiring themselves,
went from bad to worse. Their ski shoes, too, are out of trim.

Just as I thought we were in for making a great score, this difficulty
overtakes us--it is dreadfully trying. The snow around us to-night
is terribly soft, one sinks to the knee at every step; it would be
impossible to drag sledges on foot and very difficult for dogs. Ski are
the thing, and here are my tiresome fellow-countrymen too prejudiced
to have prepared themselves for the event. The dogs should get back
quite easily; there is food all along the line. The glacier wind
sprang up about 7; the morning was very fine and warm. To-night there
is some stratus cloud forming--a hint no more bad weather in sight. A
plentiful crop of snow blindness due to incaution--the sufferers Evans,
Bowers, Keohane, Lashly, Oates--in various degrees.

This forenoon Wilson went over to a boulder poised on the glacier. It
proved to be a very coarse granite with large crystals of quartz in
it. Evidently the rock of which the pillars of the Gateway and other
neighbouring hills are formed.

_Tuesday, December_ 12.--Camp 34. We have had a hard day, and during
the forenoon it was my team which made the heaviest weather of the
work. We got bogged again and again, and, do what we would, the
sledge dragged like lead. The others were working hard but nothing
to be compared to us. At 2.30 I halted for lunch, pretty well cooked,
and there was disclosed the secret of our trouble in a thin film with
some hard knots of ice on the runners. Evans' team had been sent off
in advance, and we didn't--couldn't!--catch them, but they saw us
camp and break camp and followed suit. I really dreaded starting after
lunch, but after some trouble to break the sledge out, we went ahead
without a hitch, and in a mile or two recovered our leading place
with obvious ability to keep it. At 6 I saw the other teams were
flagging and so camped at 7, meaning to turn out earlier to-morrow
and start a better routine. We have done about 8 or perhaps 9 miles
(stat.)--the sledge-meters are hopeless on such a surface.

It is evident that what I expected has occurred. The whole of the
lower valley is filled with snow from the recent storm, and if we
had not had ski we should be hopelessly bogged. On foot one sinks to
the knees, and if pulling on a sledge to half-way between knee and
thigh. It would, therefore, be absolutely impossible to advance on
foot with our loads. Considering all things, we are getting better
on ski. A crust is forming over the soft snow. In a week or so I have
little doubt it will be strong enough to support sledges and men. At
present it carries neither properly. The sledges get bogged every now
and again, sinking to the crossbars. Needless to say, the hauling is
terrible when this occurs.

We steered for the Commonwealth Range during the forenoon till we
reached about the middle of the glacier. This showed that the unnamed
glacier to the S.W. raised great pressure. Observing this, I altered
course for the 'Cloudmaker' and later still farther to the west. We
must be getting a much better view of the southern side of the main
glacier than Shackleton got, and consequently have observed a number
of peaks which he did not notice. We are about 5 or 5 1/2 days behind
him as a result of the storm, but on this surface our sledges could
not be more heavily laden than they are, in fact we have not nearly
enough runner surface as it is. Moreover, the sledges are packed too
high and therefore capsize too easily. I do not think the glacier can
be so broad as S. shows it. Certainly the scenery is not nearly so
impressive as that of the Ferrar, but there are interesting features
showing up--a distinct banded structure on Mount Elizabeth, which we
think may well be a recurrence of the Beacon Sandstone--more banding
on the Commonwealth Range. During the three days we have been here the
wind has blown down the glacier at night, or rather from the S.W., and
it has been calm in the morning--a sort of nightly land-breeze. There
is also a very remarkable difference in temperature between day and
night. It was +33 deg. when we started, and without hard work we were
literally soaked through with perspiration. It is now +23 deg.. Evans'
party kept up much better to-day; we had their shoes into our tent
this morning, and P.O. Evans put them into shape again.

_Wednesday, December_ 13.--Camp 35. A most _damnably_ dismal day. We
started at eight--the pulling terribly bad, though the glide decidedly
good; a new crust in patches, not sufficient to support the ski, but
without possibility of hold. Therefore, as the pullers got on the
hard patches they slipped back. The sledges plunged into the soft
places and stopped dead. Evans' party got away first; we followed,
and for some time helped them forward at their stops, but this proved
altogether too much for us, so I forged ahead and camped at 1 P.M., as
the others were far astern. During lunch I decided to try the 10-feet
runners under the crossbars and we spent three hours in securing
them. There was no delay on account of the slow progress of the other
parties. Evans passed us, and for some time went forward fairly well up
a decided slope. The sun was shining on the surface by this time, and
the temperature high. Bowers started after Evans, and it was easy to
see the really terrible state of affairs with them. They made desperate
efforts to get along, but ever got more and more bogged--evidently the
glide had vanished. When we got away we soon discovered how awful the
surface had become; added to the forenoon difficulties the snow had
become wet and sticky. We got our load along, soon passing Bowers,
but the toil was simply awful. We were soaked with perspiration and
thoroughly breathless with our efforts. Again and again the sledge
got one runner on harder snow than the other, canted on its side,
and refused to move. At the top of the rise I found Evans reduced to
relay work, and Bowers followed his example soon after. We got our
whole load through till 7 P.M., camping time, but only with repeated
halts and labour which was altogether too strenuous. The other parties
certainly cannot get a full load along on the surface, and I much
doubt if we could continue to do so, but we must try again to-morrow.

I suppose we have advanced a bare 4 miles to-day and the aspect of
things is very little changed. Our height is now about 1,500 feet;
I had pinned my faith on getting better conditions as we rose, but
it looks as though matters were getting worse instead of better. As
far as the Cloudmaker the valley looks like a huge basin for the
lodgement of such snow as this. We can but toil on, but it is woefully
disheartening. I am not at all hungry, but pretty thirsty. (T. +15 deg..) I
find our summit ration is even too filling for the present. Two skuas
came round the camp at lunch, no doubt attracted by our 'Shambles'
camp.

_Thursday, December_ 14.--Camp 36. Indigestion and the soggy
condition of my clothes kept me awake for some time last night,
and the exceptional exercise gives bad attacks of cramp. Our lips
are getting raw and blistered. The eyes of the party are improving,
I am glad to say. We are just starting our march with no very hopeful
outlook. (T. + 13 deg..)

_Evening._ (Height about 2000 feet.) Evans' party started first this
morning; for an hour they found the hauling stiff, but after that,
to my great surprise, they went on easily. Bowers followed without
getting over the ground so easily. After the first 200 yards my own
party came on with a swing that told me at once that all would be
well. We soon caught the others and offered to take on more weight,
but Evans' pride wouldn't allow such help. Later in the morning we
exchanged sledges with Bowers, pulled theirs easily, whilst they made
quite heavy work with ours. I am afraid Cherry-Garrard and Keohane
are the weakness of that team, though both put their utmost into
the traces. However, we all lunched together after a satisfactory
morning's work. In the afternoon we did still better, and camped at
6.30 with a very marked change in the land bearings. We must have
come 11 or 12 miles (stat.). We got fearfully hot on the march,
sweated through everything and stripped off jerseys. The result is
we are pretty cold and clammy now, but escape from the soft snow and
a good march compensate every discomfort. At lunch the blue ice was
about 2 feet beneath us, now it is barely a foot, so that I suppose
we shall soon find it uncovered. To-night the sky is overcast and
wind has been blowing up the glacier. I think there will be another
spell of gloomy weather on the Barrier, and the question is whether
this part of the glacier escapes. There are crevasses about, one
about eighteen inches across outside Bowers' tent, and a narrower
one outside our own. I think the soft snow trouble is at an end,
and I could wish nothing better than a continuance of the present
surface. Towards the end of the march we were pulling our loads with
the greatest ease. It is splendid to be getting along and to find
some adequate return for the work we are putting into the business.

_Friday, December_ 15.--Camp 37. (Height about 2500. Lat. about 84 deg.
8'.) Got away at 8; marched till 1; the surface improving and snow
covering thinner over the blue ice, but the sky overcast and glooming,
the clouds ever coming lower, and Evans' is now decidedly the slowest
unit, though Bowers' is not much faster. We keep up and overhaul
either without difficulty. It was an enormous relief yesterday to
get steady going without involuntary stops, but yesterday and this
morning, once the sledge was stopped, it was very difficult to start
again--the runners got temporarily stuck. This afternoon for the first
time we could start by giving one good heave together, and so for the
first time we are able to stop to readjust footgear or do any other
desirable task. This is a second relief for which we are most grateful.

At the lunch camp the snow covering was less than a foot, and at this
it is a bare nine inches; patches of ice and hard neve are showing
through in places. I meant to camp at 6.30, but before 5.0 the sky came
down on us with falling snow. We could see nothing, and the pulling
grew very heavy. At 5.45 there seemed nothing to do but camp--another
interrupted march. Our luck is really very bad. We should have done
a good march to-day, as it is we have covered about 11 miles (stat.).

Since supper there are signs of clearing again, but I don't like the
look of things; this weather has been working up from the S.E. with
all the symptoms of our pony-wrecking storm. Pray heaven we are not
going to have this wretched snow in the worst part of the glacier
to come. The lower part of this glacier is not very interesting,
except from an ice point of view. Except Mount Kyffen, little bare
rock is visible, and its structure at this distance is impossible
to determine. There are no moraines on the surface of the glacier
either. The tributary glaciers are very fine and have cut very deep
courses, though they do not enter at grade. The walls of this valley
are extraordinarily steep; we count them at least 60 deg. in places. The
ice-falls descending over the northern sides are almost continuous one
with another, but the southern steep faces are nearly bare; evidently
the sun gets a good hold on them. There must be a good deal of melting
and rock weathering, the talus heaps are considerable under the
southern rock faces. Higher up the valley there is much more bare rock
and stratification, which promises to be very interesting, but oh! for
fine weather; surely we have had enough of this oppressive gloom.

_Saturday, December 16_.--Camp 38. A gloomy morning, clearing at noon
and ending in a gloriously fine evening. Although constantly anxious in
the morning, the light held good for travelling throughout the day,
and we have covered 11 miles (stat.), altering the aspect of the
glacier greatly. But the travelling has been very hard. We started
at 7, lunched at 12.15, and marched on till 6.30--over ten hours on
the march--the limit of time to be squeezed into one day. We began on
ski as usual, Evans' team hampering us a bit; the pulling very hard
after yesterday's snowfall. In the afternoon we continued on ski
till after two hours we struck a peculiarly difficult surface--old
hard sastrugi underneath, with pits and high soft sastrugi due to
very recent snowfalls. The sledges were so often brought up by this
that we decided to take to our feet, and thus made better progress,
but for the time with very excessive labour. The crust, brittle,
held for a pace or two, then let one down with a bump some 8 or 10
inches. Now and again one's leg went down a crack in the hard ice
underneath. We drew up a slope on this surface and discovered a long
icefall extending right across our track, I presume the same pressure
which caused Shackleton to turn towards the Cloudmaker. We made in
for that mountain and soon got on hard, crevassed, undulating ice
with quantities of soft snow in the hollows. The disturbance seems to
increase, but the snow to diminish as we approach the rocks. We shall
look for a moraine and try and follow it up to-morrow. The hills on
our left have horizontally stratified rock alternating with snow. The
exposed rock is very black; the brownish colour of the Cloudmaker has
black horizontal streaks across it. The sides of the glacier north
of the Cloudmaker have a curious cutting, the upper part less steep
than the lower, suggestive of different conditions of glacier-flow
in succeeding ages.

We must push on all we can, for we are now 6 days behind Shackleton,
all due to that wretched storm. So far, since we got amongst the
disturbances we have not seen such alarming crevasses as I had
expected; certainly dogs could have come up as far as this. At present
one gets terrible hot and perspiring on the march, and quickly cold
when halted, but the sun makes up for all evils. It is very difficult
to know what to do about the ski; their weight is considerable and yet
under certain circumstances they are extraordinarily useful. Everyone
is very satisfied with our summit ration. The party which has been
man-hauling for so long say they are far less hungry than they used
to be. It is good to think that the majority will keep up this good
feeding all through.

_Sunday, December_ 17.--Camp 39. Soon after starting we found ourselves
in rather a mess; bad pressure ahead and long waves between us and
the land. Blue ice showed on the crests of the waves; very soft snow
lay in the hollows. We had to cross the waves in places 30 feet from
crest to hollow, and we did it by sitting on the sledge and letting
her go. Thus we went down with a rush and our impetus carried us some
way up the other side; then followed a fearfully tough drag to rise
the next crest. After two hours of this I saw a larger wave, the crest
of which continued hard ice up the glacier; we reached this and got
excellent travelling for 2 miles on it, then rose on a steep gradient,
and so topped the pressure ridge. The smooth ice is again lost and
we have patches of hard and soft snow with ice peeping out in places,
cracks in all directions, and legs very frequently down. We have done
very nearly 5 miles (geo.).

Evening.--(Temp. -12 deg..) Height about 3500 above Barrier. After lunch
decided to take the risk of sticking to the centre of the glacier,
with good result. We travelled on up the more or less rounded ridge
which I had selected in the morning, and camped at 6.30 with 12 1/2
stat. miles made good. This has put Mount Hope in the background
and shows us more of the upper reaches. If we can keep up the pace,
we gain on Shackleton, and I don't see any reason why we shouldn't,
except that more pressure is showing up ahead. For once one can say
'sufficient for the day is the good thereof.' Our luck may be on
the turn--I think we deserve it. In spite of the hard work everyone
is very fit and very cheerful, feeling well fed and eager for more
toil. Eyes are much better except poor Wilson's; he has caught a very
bad attack. Remembering his trouble on our last Southern journey,
I fear he is in for a very bad time.

We got fearfully hot this morning and marched in singlets, which
became wringing wet; thus uncovered the sun gets at one's skin,
and then the wind, which makes it horribly uncomfortable.

Our lips are very sore. We cover them with the soft silk plaster
which seems about the best thing for the purpose.

I'm inclined to think that the summit trouble will be mostly due to the
chill falling on sunburned skins. Even now one feels the cold strike
directly one stops. We get fearfully thirsty and chip up ice on the
march, as well as drinking a great deal of water on halting. Our fuel
only just does it, but that is all we want, and we have a bit in hand
for the summit.

The pulling this afternoon was fairly pleasant; at first over hard
snow, and then on to pretty rough ice with surface snowfield cracks,
bad for sledges, but ours promised to come through well. We have
worn our crampons all day and are delighted with them. P.O. Evans,
the inventor of both crampons and ski shoes, is greatly pleased, and
certainly we owe him much. The weather is beginning to look dirty
again, snow clouds rolling in from the east as usual. I believe it
will be overcast to-morrow.

_Monday, December_ 18.--Camp 40. Lunch nearly 4000 feet above
Barrier. Overcast and snowing this morning as I expected, land showing
on starboard hand, so, though it was gloomy and depressing, we could
march, and did. We have done our 8 stat. miles between 8.20 and 1
P.M.; at first fairly good surface; then the ice got very rugged
with sword-cut splits. We got on a slope which made matters worse. I
then pulled up to the left, at first without much improvement,
but as we topped a rise the surface got much better and things look
quite promising for the moment. On our right we have now a pretty
good view of the Adams Marshall and Wild Mountains and their very
curious horizontal stratification. Wright has found, amongst bits
of wind-blown debris, an undoubted bit of sandstone and a bit of
black basalt. We must get to know more of the geology before leaving
the glacier finally. This morning all our gear was fringed with ice
crystals which looked very pretty.

Afternoon.--(Night camp No. 40, about 4500 above
Barrier. T. -11 deg.. Lat. about 84 deg. 34'.) After lunch got on some very
rough stuff within a few hundred yards of pressure ridge. There
seemed no alternative, and we went through with it. Later, the
glacier opened out into a broad basin with irregular undulations,
and we on to a better surface, but later on again this improvement
nearly vanished, so that it has been hard going all day, but we
have done a good mileage (over 14 stat.). We are less than five
days behind S. now. There was a promise of a clearance about noon,
but later more snow clouds drifted over from the east, and now it is
snowing again. We have scarcely caught a gimpse of the eastern side
of the glacier all day. The western side has not been clear enough to
photograph at the halts. It is very annoying, but I suppose we must
be thankful when we can get our marches off. Still sweating horribly
on the march and very thirsty at the halts.

_Tuesday, December 19_.--Lunch, rise 650. Dist. 8 1/2 geo. Camp
41. Things are looking up. Started on good surface, soon came to very
annoying criss-cross cracks. I fell into two and have bad bruises
on knee and thigh, but we got along all the time until we reached
an admirable smooth ice surface excellent for travelling. The last
mile, neve predominating and therefore the pulling a trifle harder, we
have risen into the upper basin of the glacier. Seemingly close about
us are the various land masses which adjoin the summit: it looks as
though we might have difficulties in the last narrows. We are having
a long lunch hour for angles, photographs, and sketches. The slight
south-westerly wind came down the glacier as we started, and the sky,
which was overcast, has rapidly cleared in consequence.

Night. Height about 5800. Camp 41. We stepped off this afternoon at the
rate of 2 miles or more an hour, with the very satisfactory result of
17 (stat.) miles to the good for the day. It has not been a strain,
except perhaps for me with my wounds received early in the day. The
wind has kept us cool on the march, which has in consequence been
very much pleasanter; we are not wet in our clothes to-night, and
have not suffered from the same overpowering thirst as on previous
days. (T. -11 deg..) (Min. -5 deg..) Evans and Bowers are busy taking angles;
as they have been all day, we shall have material for an excellent
chart. Days like this put heart in one.

_Wednesday, December 20_.--Camp 42. 6500 feet about. Just got off
our last best half march--10 miles 1150 yards (geo.), over 12 miles
stat. With an afternoon to follow we should do well to-day; the wind
has been coming up the valley. Turning this book [35] seems to have
brought luck. We marched on till nearly 7 o'clock after a long lunch
halt, and covered 19 1/2 geo. miles, nearly 23 (stat.), rising 800
feet. This morning we came over a considerable extent of hard snow,
then got to hard ice with patches of snow; a state of affairs which has
continued all day. Pulling the sledges in crampons is no difficulty at
all. At lunch Wilson and Bowers walked back 2 miles or so to try and
find Bowers' broken sledgemeter, without result. During their absence
a fog spread about us, carried up the valleys by easterly wind. We
started the afternoon march in this fog very unpleasantly, but later
it gradually lifted, and to-night it is very fine and warm. As the fog
lifted we saw a huge line of pressure ahead; I steered for a place
where the slope looked smoother, and we are camped beneath the spot
to-night. We must be ahead of Shackleton's position on the 17th. All
day we have been admiring a wonderful banded structure of the rock;
to-night it is beautifully clear on Mount Darwin.

I have just told off the people to return to-morrow night: Atkinson,
Wright, Cherry-Garrard, and Keohane. All are disappointed--poor Wright
rather bitterly, I fear. I dread this necessity of choosing--nothing
could be more heartrending. I calculated our programme to start from
85 deg. 10' with 12 units of food [36] and eight men. We ought to be in
this position to-morrow night, less one day's food. After all our
harassing trouble one cannot but be satisfied with such a prospect.

_Thursday, December_ 21.--Camp 43. Lat. 85 deg. 7'. Long. 163 deg. 4'. Height
about 8000 feet. Upon Glacier Depot. Temp. -2 deg.. We climbed the ice
slope this morning and found a very bad surface on top, as far as
crevasses were concerned. We all had falls into them, Atkinson and
Teddy Evans going down the length of their harness. Evans had rather
a shake up. The rotten ice surface continued for a long way, though
I crossed to and fro towards the land, trying to get on better ground.

At 12 the wind came from the north, bringing the inevitable [mist]
up the valley and covering us just as we were in the worst of
places. We camped for lunch, and were obliged to wait two and a half
hours for a clearance. Then the sun began to struggle through and
we were off. We soon got out of the worst crevasses and on to a long
snow slope leading on part of Mount Darwin. It was a very long stiff
pull up, and I held on till 7.30, when, the other team being some way
astern, I camped. We have done a good march, risen to a satisfactory
altitude, and reached a good place for our depot. To-morrow we start
with our fullest summit load, and the first march should show us the
possibilities of our achievement. The temperature has dropped below
zero, but to-night it is so calm and bright that one feels delightfully
warm and comfortable in the tent. Such weather helps greatly in all
the sorting arrangements, &c., which are going on to-night. For me
it is an immense relief to have the indefatigable little Bowers to
see to all detail arrangements of this sort.

We have risen a great height to-day and I hope it will not be necessary
to go down again, but it looks as though we must dip a bit even to
go to the south-west.

'December 21, 1911. Lat. 85 deg. S. We are struggling on, considering all
things, against odds. The weather is a constant anxiety, otherwise
arrangements are working exactly as planned.

'For your own ear also, I am exceedingly fit and can go with the best
of them.

'It is a pity the luck doesn't come our way, because every detail of
equipment is right.

'I write this sitting in our tent waiting for the fog to clear--an
exasperating position as we are in the worst crevassed region. Teddy
Evans and Atkinson were down to the length of their harness this
morning, and we have all been half-way down. As first man I get first
chance, and it's decidedly exciting not knowing which step will give
way. Still all this is interesting enough if one could only go on.

'Since writing the above I made a dash for it, got out of the valley
out of the fog and away from crevasses. So here we are practically
on the summit and up to date in the provision line. We ought to
get through.'

CHAPTER XVIII

The Summit Journey to the Pole

A FRESH MS. BOOK

_On the Flyleaf_.--Ages: Self 43, Wilson 39, Evans (P.O.) 37, Oates
32, Bowers 28. Average 36.

_Friday, December 22_.--Camp 44, about 7100
feet. T. -1 deg.. Bar. 22.3. This, the third stage of our journey, is
opening with good promise. We made our depot this morning, then said
an affecting farewell to the returning party, who have taken things
very well, dear good fellows as they are._23_

Then we started with our heavy loads about 9.20, I in some
trepidation--quickly dissipated as we went off and up a slope at a
smart pace. The second sledge came close behind us, showing that
we have weeded the weak spots and made the proper choice for the
returning party.

We came along very easily and lunched at 1, when the sledge-meter
had to be repaired, and we didn't get off again till 3.20, camping at
6.45. Thus with 7 hours' marching we covered 10 1/2 miles (geo.) (12
stat.).

Obs.: Lat. 85 deg. 13 1/2'; Long. 161 deg. 55'; Var. 175 deg. 46' E.

To-morrow we march longer hours, about 9 I hope. Every day the loads
will lighten, and so we ought to make the requisite progress. I
think we have climbed about 250 feet to-day, but thought it more
on the march. We look down on huge pressure ridges to the south and
S.E., and in fact all round except in the direction in which we go,
S.W. We seem to be travelling more or less parallel to a ridge which
extends from Mt. Darwin. Ahead of us to-night is a stiffish incline
and it looks as though there might be pressure behind it. It is very
difficult to judge how matters stand, however, in such a confusion
of elevations and depressions. This course doesn't work wonders in
change of latitude, but I think it is the right track to clear the
pressures--at any rate I shall hold it for the present.

We passed one or two very broad (30 feet) bridged crevasses with
the usual gaping sides; they were running pretty well in N. and
S. direction. The weather has been beautifully fine all day as it was
last night. (Night Temp. -9 deg..) This morning there was an hour or so of
haze due to clouds from the N. Now it is perfectly clear, and we get a
fine view of the mountain behind which Wilson has just been sketching.

_Saturday, December_ 23.--Lunch. Bar. 22.01. Rise 370? Started at 8,
steering S.W. Seemed to be rising, and went on well for about 3 hours,
then got amongst bad crevasses and hard waves. We pushed on to S.W.,
but things went from bad to worse, and we had to haul out to the
north, then west. West looks clear for the present, but it is not
a very satisfactory direction. We have done 8 1/2' (geo.), a good
march. (T. -3 deg.. Southerly wind, force 2.) The comfort is that we are
rising. On one slope we got a good view of the land and the pressure
ridges to the S.E. They seem to be disposed 'en echelon' and gave me
the idea of shearing cracks. They seemed to lessen as we ascend. It
is rather trying having to march so far to the west, but if we keep
rising we must come to the end of the obstacles some time.

_Saturday night_.--Camp 45. T. -3 deg.. Bar. 21.61. ?Rise. Height about
7750. Great vicissitudes of fortune in the afternoon march. Started
west up a slope--about the fifth we have mounted in the last
two days. On top, another pressure appeared on the left, but less
lofty and more snow-covered than that which had troubled us in the
morning. There was temptation to try it, and I had been gradually
turning in its direction. But I stuck to my principle and turned west
up yet another slope. On top of this we got on the most extraordinary
surface--narrow crevasses ran in all directions. They were quite
invisible, being covered with a thin crust of hardened neve without a
sign of a crack in it. We all fell in one after another and sometimes
two together. We have had many unexpected falls before, but usually
through being unable to mark the run of the surface appearances
of cracks, or where such cracks are covered with soft snow. How a
hardened crust can form over a crack is a real puzzle--it seems to
argue extremely slow movement. Dead reckoning, 85 deg. 22' 1'' S., 159 deg.
31' E.

In the broader crevasses this morning we noticed that it was the
lower edge of the bridge which was rotten, whereas in all in the
glacier the upper edge was open.

Near the narrow crevasses this afternoon we got about 10 minutes on
snow which had a hard crust and loose crystals below. It was like
breaking through a glass house at each step, but quite suddenly at
5 P.M. everything changed. The hard surface gave place to regular
sastrugi and our horizon levelled in every direction. I hung on
to the S.W. till 6 P.M., and then camped with a delightful feeling
of security that we had at length reached the summit proper. I am
feeling very cheerful about everything to-night. We marched 15 miles
(geo.) (over 17 stat.) to-day, mounting nearly 800 feet and all in
about 8 1/2 hours. My determination to keep mounting irrespective of
course is fully justified and I shall be indeed surprised if we have
any further difficulties with crevasses or steep slopes. To me for the
first time our goal seems really in sight. We can pull our loads and
pull them much faster and farther than I expected in my most hopeful
moments. I only pray for a fair share of good weather. There is a cold
wind now as expected, but with good clothes and well fed as we are, we
can stick a lot worse than we are getting. I trust this may prove the
turning-point in our fortunes for which we have waited so patiently.

_Sunday, December_ 24.--Lunch. Bar. 21.48. ?Rise 160 feet. Christmas
Eve. 7 1/4 miles geo. due south, and a rise, I think, more than shown
by barometer. This in five hours, on the surface which ought to be a
sample of what we shall have in the future. With our present clothes it
is a fairly heavy plod, but we get over the ground, which is a great
thing. A high pressure ridge has appeared on the 'port bow.' It seems
isolated, but I shall be glad to lose sight of such disturbances. The
wind is continuous from the S.S.E., very searching. We are now marching
in our wind blouses and with somewhat more protection on the head.

Bar. 21.41. Camp 46. Rise for day ?about 250 ft. or 300 ft. Hypsometer,
8000 ft.

The first two hours of the afternoon march went very well. Then the
sledges hung a bit, and we plodded on and covered something over 14
miles (geo.) in the day. We lost sight of the big pressure ridge,
but to-night another smaller one shows fine on the 'port bow,' and the
surface is alternately very hard and fairly soft; dips and rises all
round. It is evident we are skirting more disturbances, and I sincerely
hope it will not mean altering course more to the west. 14 miles in
4 hours is not so bad considering the circumstances. The southerly
wind is continuous and not at all pleasant in camp, but on the march
it keeps us cool. (T. -3 deg..) The only inconvenience is the extent to
which our faces get iced up. The temperature hovers about zero.

We have not struck a crevasse all day, which is a good sign. The
sun continues to shine in a cloudless sky, the wind rises and falls,
and about us is a scene of the wildest desolation, but we are a very
cheerful party and to-morrow is Christmas Day, with something extra
in the hoosh.

_Monday, December_ 25. CHRISTMAS.--Lunch. Bar. 21.14. Rise 240
feet. The wind was strong last night and this morning; a light snowfall
in the night; a good deal of drift, subsiding when we started, but
still about a foot high. I thought it might have spoilt the surface,
but for the first hour and a half we went along in fine style. Then
we started up a rise, and to our annoyance found ourselves amongst
crevasses once more--very hard, smooth neve between high ridges at
the edge of crevasses, and therefore very difficult to get foothold
to pull the sledges. Got our ski sticks out, which improved matters,
but we had to tack a good deal and several of us went half down. After
half an hour of this I looked round and found the second sledge halted
some way in rear--evidently someone had gone into a crevasse. We saw
the rescue work going on, but had to wait half an hour for the party
to come up, and got mighty cold. It appears that Lashly went down
very suddenly, nearly dragging the crew with him. The sledge ran on
and jammed the span so that the Alpine rope had to be got out and
used to pull Lashly to the surface again. Lashly says the crevasse
was 50 feet deep and 8 feet across, in form U, showing that the word
'unfathomable' can rarely be applied. Lashly is 44 to-day and as hard
as nails. His fall has not even disturbed his equanimity.

After topping the crevasse ridge we got on a better surface and came
along fairly well, completing over 7 miles (geo.) just before 1
o'clock. We have risen nearly 250 feet this morning; the wind was
strong and therefore trying, mainly because it held the sledge;
it is a little lighter now.

Night. Camp No. 47. Bar. 21.18. T. -7 deg.. I am so replete that I can
scarcely write. After sundry luxuries, such as chocolate and raisins
at lunch, we started off well, but soon got amongst crevasses, huge
snowfields roadways running almost in our direction, and across hidden
cracks into which we frequently fell. Passing for two miles or so along
between two roadways, we came on a huge pit with raised sides. Is
this a submerged mountain peak or a swirl in the stream? Getting
clear of crevasses and on a slightly down grade, we came along at a
swinging pace--splendid. I marched on till nearly 7.30, when we had
covered 15 miles (geo.) (17 1/4 stat.). I knew that supper was to
be a 'tightener,' and indeed it has been--so much that I must leave
description till the morning.

Dead reckoning, Lat. 85 deg. 50' S.; Long. 159 deg. 8' 2'' E. Bar. 21.22.

Towards the end of the march we seemed to get into better condition;
about us the surface rises and falls on the long slopes of vast mounds
or undulations--no very definite system in their disposition. We
camped half-way up a long slope.

In the middle of the afternoon we got another fine view of the
land. The Dominion Range ends abruptly as observed, then come two
straits and two other masses of land. Similarly north of the wild
mountains is another strait and another mass of land. The various
straits are undoubtedly overflows, and the masses of land mark the
inner fringe of the exposed coastal mountains, the general direction of
which seems about S.S.E., from which it appears that one could be much
closer to the Pole on the Barrier by continuing on it to the S.S.E. We
ought to know more of this when Evans' observations are plotted.

I must write a word of our supper last night. We had four courses. The
first, pemmican, full whack, with slices of horse meat flavoured with
onion and curry powder and thickened with biscuit; then an arrowroot,
cocoa and biscuit hoosh sweetened; then a plum-pudding; then cocoa
with raisins, and finally a dessert of caramels and ginger. After
the feast it was difficult to move. Wilson and I couldn't finish
our share of plum-pudding. We have all slept splendidly and feel
thoroughly warm--such is the effect of full feeding.

_Tuesday, December_ 26.--Lunch. Bar. 21.11. Four and three-quarters
hours, 6 3/4 miles (geo.). Perhaps a little slow after plum-pudding,
but I think we are getting on to the surface which is likely to
continue the rest of the way. There are still mild differences of
elevation, but generally speaking the plain is flattening out; no
doubt we are rising slowly.

Camp 48. Bar. 21.02. The first two hours of the afternoon march went
well; then we got on a rough rise and the sledge came badly. Camped
at 6.30, sledge coming easier again at the end.

It seems astonishing to be disappointed with a march of 15
(stat.) miles, when I had contemplated doing little more than 10 with
full loads.

We are on the 86th parallel. Obs.: 86 deg. 2' S.; 160 deg. 26' E. The
temperature has been pretty consistent of late, -10 deg. to -12 deg. at night,
-3 deg. in the day. The wind has seemed milder to-day--it blows anywhere
from S.E. to south. I had thought to have done with pressures,
but to-night a crevassed slope appears on our right. We shall pass
well clear of it, but there may be others. The undulating character
of the plain causes a great variety of surface, owing, of course,
to the varying angles at which the wind strikes the slopes. We were
half an hour late starting this morning, which accounts for some loss
of distance, though I should be content to keep up an average of 13'
(geo.).

_Wednesday, December_ 27.--Lunch. Bar. 21.02. The wind light this
morning and the pulling heavy. Everyone sweated, especially the second
team, which had great difficulty in keeping up. We have been going up
and down, the up grades very tiring, especially when we get amongst
sastrugi which jerk the sledge about, but we have done 7 1/4 miles
(geo.). A very bad accident this morning. Bowers broke the only
hypsometer thermometer. We have nothing to check our two aneroids.

Night camp 49. Bar. 20.82. T. -6.3 deg.. We marched off well after
lunch on a soft, snowy surface, then came to slippery hard sastrugi
and kept a good pace; but I felt this meant something wrong, and on
topping a short rise we were once more in the midst of crevasses and
disturbances. For an hour it was dreadfully trying--had to pick a road,
tumbled into crevasses, and got jerked about abominably. At the summit
of the ridge we came into another 'pit' or 'whirl,' which seemed the
centre of the trouble--is it a submerged mountain peak? During the
last hour and a quarter we pulled out on to soft snow again and moved
well. Camped at 6.45, having covered 13 1/3 miles (geo.). Steering the
party is no light task. One cannot allow one's thoughts to wander as
others do, and when, as this afternoon, one gets amongst disturbances,
I find it is very worrying and tiring. I do trust we shall have no more
of them. We have not lost sight of the sun since we came on the summit;
we should get an extraordinary record of sunshine. It is monotonous
work this; the sledgemeter and theodolite govern the situation.

_Thursday, December_ 28.--Lunch. Bar. 20.77. I start cooking again
to-morrow morning. We have had a troublesome day but have completed our
13 miles (geo.). My unit pulled away easy this morning and stretched
out for two hours--the second unit made heavy weather. I changed
with Evans and found the second sledge heavy--could keep up, but the
team was not swinging with me as my own team swings. Then I changed
P.O. Evans for Lashly. We seemed to get on better, but at the moment
the surface changed and we came up over a rise with hard sastrugi. At
the top we camped for lunch. What was the difficulty? One theory was
that some members of the second party were stale. Another that all was
due to the bad stepping and want of swing; another that the sledge
pulled heavy. In the afternoon we exchanged sledges, and at first
went off well, but getting into soft snow, we found a terrible drag,
the second party coming quite easily with our sledge. So the sledge
is the cause of the trouble, and talking it out, I found that all is
due to want of care. The runners ran excellently, but the structure
has been distorted by bad strapping, bad loading, this afternoon and
only managed to get 12 miles (geo.). The very hard pulling has occurred
on two rises. It appears that the loose snow is blown over the rises
and rests in heaps on the north-facing slopes. It is these heaps
that cause our worst troubles. The weather looks a little doubtful,
a good deal of cirrus cloud in motion over us, radiating E. and W. The
wind shifts from S.E. to S.S.W., rising and falling at intervals; it
is annoying to the march as it retards the sledges, but it must help
the surface, I think, and so hope for better things to-morrow. The
marches are terribly monotonous. One's thoughts wander occasionally to
pleasanter scenes and places, but the necessity to keep the course,
or some hitch in the surface, quickly brings them back. There have
been some hours of very steady plodding to-day; these are the best
part of the business, they mean forgetfulness and advance.

_Saturday, December_ 30.--Bar. 20.42. Lunch. Night camp
52. Bar. 20.36. Rise about 150. A very trying, tiring march, and only
11 miles (geo.) covered. Wind from the south to S.E., not quite so
strong as usual; the usual clear sky.

We camped on a rise last night, and it was some time before we
reached the top this morning. This took it out of us as the second
party dropped. I went on 6 l/2 miles (when the second party was some
way astern) and lunched. We came on in the afternoon, the other party
still dropping, camped at 6.30--they at 7.15. We came up another rise
with the usual gritty snow towards the end of the march. For us the
interval between the two rises, some 8 miles, was steady plodding work
which we might keep up for some time. To-morrow I'm going to march
half a day, make a depot and build the 10-feet sledges. The second
party is certainly tiring; it remains to be seen how they will manage
with the smaller sledge and lighter load. The surface is certainly
much worse than it was 50 miles back. (T. -10 deg..) We have caught up
Shackleton's dates. Everything would be cheerful if I could persuade
myself that the second party were quite fit to go forward.

_Sunday, December_ 31.--New Year's Eve. 20.17. Height about
9126. T. -10 deg.. Camp 53. Corrected Aneroid. The second party depoted
its ski and some other weights equivalent to about 100 lbs. I sent
them off first; they marched, but not very fast. We followed and
did not catch them before they camped by direction at 1.30. By this
time we had covered exactly 7 miles (geo.), and we must have risen a
good deal. We rose on a steep incline at the beginning of the march,
and topped another at the end, showing a distance of about 5 miles
between the wretched slopes which give us the hardest pulling, but
as a matter of fact, we have been rising all day.

We had a good full brew of tea and then set to work stripping the
sledges. That didn't take long, but the process of building up the
10-feet sledges now in operation in the other tent is a long job. Evans
(P.O.) and Crean are tackling it, and it is a very remarkable piece
of work. Certainly P.O. Evans is the most invaluable asset to our
party. To build a sledge under these conditions is a fact for special
record. Evans (Lieut.) has just found the latitude--86 deg. 56' S., so
that we are pretty near the 87th parallel aimed at for to-night. We
lose half a day, but I hope to make that up by going forward at much
better speed.

This is to be called the '3 Degree Depot,' and it holds a week's
provisions for both units.

There is extraordinarily little mirage up here and the refraction
is very small. Except for the seamen we are all sitting in a double
tent--the first time we have put up the inner lining to the tent;
it seems to make us much snugger.

10 P.M.--The job of rebuilding is taking longer than I expected,
but is now almost done. The 10-feet sledges look very handy. We had
an extra drink of tea and are now turned into our bags in the double
tent (five of us) as warm as toast, and just enough light to write
or work with. Did not get to bed till 2 A.M.

Obs.: 86 deg. 55' 47'' S.; 165 deg. 5' 48'' E.; Var. 175 deg. 40'E. Morning
Bar. 20.08.

_Monday, January_ 1, 1912.--NEW YEAR'S DAY. Lunch. Bar. 20.04. Roused
hands about 7.30 and got away 9.30, Evans' party going ahead on
foot. We followed on ski. Very stupidly we had not seen to our ski
shoes beforehand, and it took a good half-hour to get them right;
Wilson especially had trouble. When we did get away, to our surprise
the sledge pulled very easily, and we made fine progress, rapidly
gaining on the foot-haulers.

Night camp 54. Bar. 19.98. Risen about 150 feet. Height about 9600
above Barrier. They camped for lunch at 5 1/2 miles and went on easily,
completing 11.3 (geo.) by 7.30. We were delayed again at lunch camp,
Evans repairing the tent, and I the cooker. We caught the other
party more easily in the afternoon and kept alongside them the last
quarter of an hour. It was surprising how easily the sledge pulled;
we have scarcely exerted ourselves all day.

We have been rising again all day, but the slopes are less
accentuated. I had expected trouble with ski and hard patches, but we
found none at all. (T. -14 deg..) The temperature is steadily falling,
but it seems to fall with the wind. We are _very_ comfortable in
our double tent. Stick of chocolate to celebrate the New Year. The
supporting party not in very high spirits, they have not managed
matters well for themselves. Prospects seem to get brighter--only
170 miles to go and plenty of food left.

_Tuesday, January 2_.--T. -17 deg.. Camp 55. Height about 9980. At
lunch my aneroid reading over scale 12,250, shifted hand to read
10,250. Proposed to enter heights in future with correction as
calculated at end of book (minus 340 feet). The foot party went off
early, before 8, and marched till 1. Again from 2.35 to 6.30. We
started more than half an hour later on each march and caught the
others easy. It's been a plod for the foot people and pretty easy
going for us, and we have covered 13 miles (geo.).

T. -11 deg.: Obs. 87 deg. 20' 8'' S.; 160 deg. 40' 53'' E.; Var. 180 deg.. The sky
is slightly overcast for the first time since we left the glacier;
the sun can be seen already through the veil of stratus, and blue sky
round the horizon. The sastrugi have all been from the S.E. to-day,
and likewise the wind, which has been pretty light. I hope the clouds
do not mean wind or bad surface. The latter became poor towards
the end of the afternoon. We have not risen much to-day, and the
plain seems to be flattening out. Irregularities are best seen by
sastrugi. A skua gull visited us on the march this afternoon--it was
evidently curious, kept alighting on the snow ahead, and fluttering
a few yards as we approached. It seemed to have had little food--an
extraordinary visitor considering our distance from the sea.

_Wednesday, January_ 3.--Height: Lunch, 10,110; Night, 10,180. Camp
56. T.-17 deg.. Minimum -18.5 deg.. Within 150 miles of our goal. Last night I
decided to reorganise, and this morning told off Teddy Evans, Lashly,
and Crean to return. They are disappointed, but take it well. Bowers is
to come into our tent, and we proceed as a five man unit to-morrow. We
have 5 1/2 units of food--practically over a month's allowance for five
people--it ought to see us through. We came along well on ski to-day,
but the foot-haulers were slow, and so we only got a trifle over 12
miles (geo.). Very anxious to see how we shall manage to-morrow; if we
can march well with the full load we shall be practically safe, I take
it. The surface was very bad in patches to-day and the wind strong.

'Lat. 87 deg. 32'. A last note from a hopeful position. I think it's going
to be all right. We have a fine party going forward and arrangements
are all going well.'

_Thursday, January_ 4.--T. -17 deg., Lunch T. -16.5 deg.. We were naturally
late getting away this morning, the sledge having to be packed and
arrangements completed for separation of parties. It is wonderful
to see how neatly everything stows on a little sledge, thanks to
P.O. Evans. I was anxious to see how we could pull it, and glad to
find we went easy enough. Bowers on foot pulls between, but behind,
Wilson and myself; he has to keep his own pace and luckily does not
throw us out at all.

The second party had followed us in case of accident, but as soon as
I was certain we could get along we stopped and said farewell. Teddy
Evans is terribly disappointed but has taken it very well and behaved
like a man. Poor old Crean wept and even Lashly was affected. I was
glad to find their sledge is a mere nothing to them, and thus, no
doubt, they will make a quick journey back._24_ Since leaving them
we have marched on till 1.15 and covered 6.2 miles (geo.). With full
marching days we ought to have no difficulty in keeping up our average.

Night camp 57. T. -16 deg.. Height 10,280.--We started well on the
afternoon march, going a good speed for 1 1/2 hours; then we came
on a stratum covered with loose sandy snow, and the pulling became
very heavy. We managed to get off 12 1/2 miles (geo.) by 7 P.M.,
but it was very heavy work.

In the afternoon the wind died away, and to-night it is flat calm;
the sun so warm that in spite of the temperature we can stand about
outside in the greatest comfort. It is amusing to stand thus and
remember the constant horrors of our situation as they were painted
for us: the sun is melting the snow on the ski, &c. The plateau
is now very flat, but we are still ascending slowly. The sastrugi
are getting more confused, predominant from the S.E. I wonder what
is in store for us. At present everything seems to be going with
extraordinary smoothness, and one can scarcely believe that obstacles
will not present themselves to make our task more difficult. Perhaps
the surface will be the element to trouble us.

_Friday, January_ 5.--Camp 58. Height: morning, 10,430; night,
10,320. T. -14.8 deg.. Obs. 87 deg. 57', 159 deg. 13'. Minimum T. -23.5; T. -21 deg.. A
dreadfully trying day. Light wind from the N.N.W. bringing detached
cloud and constant fall of ice crystals. The surface, in consequence,
as bad as could be after the first hour. We started at 8.15, marched
solidly till 1.15, covering 7.4 miles (geo.), and again in the
afternoon we plugged on; by 7 P.M. we had done 12 l/2 miles (geo.),
the hardest we have yet done on the plateau. The sastrugi seemed to
increase as we advanced and they have changed direction from S.W. to
S. by W. In the afternoon a good deal of confusing cross sastrugi,
and to-night a very rough surface with evidences of hard southerly
wind. Luckily the sledge shows no signs of capisizing yet. We sigh
for a breeze to sweep the hard snow, but to-night the outlook is
not promising better things. However, we are very close to the 88th
parallel, little more than 120 miles from the Pole, only a march from
Shackleton's final camp, and in a general way 'getting on.'

We go little over a mile and a quarter an hour now--it is a big strain
as the shadows creep slowly round from our right through ahead to our
left. What lots of things we think of on these monotonous marches! What
castles one builds now hopefully that the Pole is ours. Bowers took
sights to-day and will take them every third day. We feel the cold
very little, the great comfort of our situation is the excellent
drying effect of the sun. Our socks and finnesko are almost dry each
morning. Cooking for five takes a seriously longer time than cooking
for four; perhaps half an hour on the whole day. It is an item I had
not considered when re-organising.

_Saturday, January_ 6.--Height 10,470. T. -22.3 deg.. Obstacles
arising--last night we got amongst sastrugi--they increased in height
this morning and now we are in the midst of a sea of fish-hook waves
well remembered from our Northern experience. We took off our ski
after the first 1 1/2 hours and pulled on foot. It is terribly heavy
in places, and, to add to our trouble, every sastrugus is covered with
a beard of sharp branching crystals. We have covered 6 1/2 miles, but
we cannot keep up our average if this sort of surface continues. There
is no wind.

Camp 59. Lat. 88 deg. 7'. Height 10,430-10,510. Rise of
barometer? T.-22.5 deg.. Minimum -25.8 deg.. Morning. Fearfully hard pull
again, and when we had marched about an hour we discovered that a
sleeping-bag had fallen off the sledge. We had to go back and carry
it on. It cost us over an hour and disorganised our party. We have
only covered 10 1/2 miles (geo.) and it's been about the hardest pull
we've had. We think of leaving our ski here, mainly because of risk
of breakage. Over the sastrugi it is all up and down hill, and the
covering of ice crystals prevents the sledge from gliding even on the
down-grade. The sastrugi, I fear, have come to stay, and we must be
prepared for heavy marching, but in two days I hope to lighten loads
with a depot. We are south of Shackleton's last camp, so, I suppose,
have made the most southerly camp.

_Sunday, January_ 7.--Height 10,560. Lunch. Temp. -21.3 deg.. The
vicissitudes of this work are bewildering. Last night we decided to
leave our ski on account of the sastrugi. This morning we marched
out a mile in 40 min. and the sastrugi gradually disappeared. I
kept debating the ski question and at this point stopped, and after
discussion we went back and fetched the ski; it cost us 1 1/2 hours
nearly. Marching again, I found to my horror we could scarcely move
the sledge on ski; the first hour was awful owing to the wretched
coating of loose sandy snow. However, we persisted, and towards the
latter end of our tiring march we began to make better progress, but
the work is still awfully heavy. I must stick to the ski after this.

Afternoon. Camp 60 deg.. T. -23 deg.. Height 10,570. Obs.: Lat. 88 deg. 18' 40''
S.; Long. 157 deg. 21' E.; Var. 179 deg. 15' W. Very heavy pulling still,
but did 5 miles (geo.) in over four hours.

This is the shortest march we have made on the summit, but there
is excuse. Still, there is no doubt if things remained as they are
we could not keep up the strain of such marching for long. Things,
however, luckily will not remain as they are. To-morrow we depot a
week's provision, lightening altogether about 100 lbs. This afternoon
the welcome southerly wind returned and is now blowing force 2 to
3. I cannot but think it will improve the surface.

The sastrugi are very much diminished, and those from the south seem
to be overpowering those from the S.E. Cloud travelled rapidly over
from the south this afternoon, and the surface was covered with sandy
crystals; these were not so bad as the 'bearded' sastrugi, and oddly
enough the wind and drift only gradually obliterate these striking
formations. We have scarcely risen at all to-day, and the plain looks
very flat. It doesn't look as though there were more rises ahead, and
one could not wish for a better surface if only the crystal deposit
would disappear or harden up. I am awfully glad we have hung on to the
ski; hard as the marching is, it is far less tiring on ski. Bowers has
a heavy time on foot, but nothing seems to tire him. Evans has a nasty
cut on his hand (sledge-making). I hope it won't give trouble. Our
food continues to amply satisfy. What luck to have hit on such an
excellent ration. We really are an excellently found party.

_Monday, January_ 8.--Camp 60. Noon. T. -19.8 deg.. Min. for night
-25 deg.. Our first summit blizzard. We might just have started after
breakfast, but the wind seemed obviously on the increase, and so has
proved. The sun has not been obscured, but snow is evidently falling
as well as drifting. The sun seems to be getting a little brighter
as the wind increases. The whole phenomenon is very like a Barrier
blizzard, only there is much less snow, as one would expect, and at
present less wind, which is somewhat of a surprise.

Evans' hand was dressed this morning, and the rest ought to be
good for it. I am not sure it will not do us all good as we lie so
very comfortably, warmly clothed in our comfortable bags, within our
double-walled tent. However, we do not want more than a day's delay at
most, both on account of lost time and food and the snow accumulation
of ice. (Night T. -13.5 deg..) It has grown much thicker during the day,
from time to time obscuring the sun for the first time. The temperature
is low for a blizzard, but we are very comfortable in our double tent
and the cold snow is not sticky and not easily carried into the tent,
so that the sleeping-bags remain in good condition. (T. -3 deg..) The
glass is rising slightly. I hope we shall be able to start in the
morning, but fear that a disturbance of this sort may last longer
than our local storm.

It is quite impossible to speak too highly of my companions. Each
fulfils his office to the party; Wilson, first as doctor, ever on the
lookout to alleviate the small pains and troubles incidental to the
work, now as cook, quick, careful and dexterous, ever thinking of some
fresh expedient to help the camp life; tough as steel on the traces,
never wavering from start to finish.

Evans, a giant worker with a really remarkable headpiece. It is
only now I realise how much has been due to him. Our ski shoes and
crampons have been absolutely indispensable, and if the original
ideas were not his, the details of manufacture and design and the
good workmanship are his alone. He is responsible for every sledge,
every sledge fitting, tents, sleeping-bags, harness, and when one
cannot recall a single expression of dissatisfaction with any one of
these items, it shows what an invaluable assistant he has been. Now,
besides superintending the putting up of the tent, he thinks out and
arranges the packing of the sledge; it is extraordinary how neatly
and handily everything is stowed, and how much study has been given to
preserving the suppleness and good running qualities of the machine. On
the Barrier, before the ponies were killed, he was ever roaming round,
correcting faults of stowage.

Little Bowers remains a marvel--he is thoroughly enjoying himself. I
leave all the provision arrangement in his hands, and at all times
he knows exactly how we stand, or how each returning party should
fare. It has been a complicated business to redistribute stores at
various stages of re-organisation, but not one single mistake has
been made. In addition to the stores, he keeps the most thorough
and conscientious meteorological record, and to this he now adds
the duty of observer and photographer. Nothing comes amiss to him,
and no work is too hard. It is a difficulty to get him into the tent;
he seems quite oblivious of the cold, and he lies coiled in his bag
writing and working out sights long after the others are asleep.

Of these three it is a matter for thought and congratulation that
each is sufficiently suited for his own work, but would not be
capable of doing that of the others as well as it is done. Each is
invaluable. Oates had his invaluable period with the ponies; now he is
a foot slogger and goes hard the whole time, does his share of camp
work, and stands the hardship as well as any of us. I would not like
to be without him either. So our five people are perhaps as happily
selected as it is possible to imagine.

_Tuesday, January_ 9.--Camp 61. RECORD. Lat. 88 deg. 25'. Height 10,270
ft. Bar. risen I think. T. -4 deg.. Still blowing, and drifting when we
got to breakfast, but signs of taking off. The wind had gradually
shifted from south to E.S.E. After lunch we were able to break camp
in a bad light, but on a good surface. We made a very steady afternoon
march, covering 6 1/2, miles (geo.). This should place us in Lat. 88 deg.
25', beyond the record of Shackleton's walk. All is new ahead. The
barometer has risen since the blizzard, and it looks as though we
were on a level plateau, not to rise much further.

Obs.: Long. 159 deg. 17' 45'' E.; Var. 179 deg. 55' W.; Min. Temp. -7.2 deg..

More curiously the temperature continued to rise after the blow
and now, at -4 deg., it seems quite warm. The sun has only shown very
indistinctly all the afternoon, although brighter now. Clouds are
still drifting over from the east. The marching is growing terribly
monotonous, but one cannot grumble as long as the distance can be
kept up. It can, I think, if we leave a depot, but a very annoying
thing has happened. Bowers' watch has suddenly dropped 26 minutes;
it may have stopped from being frozen outside his pocket, or he may
have inadvertently touched the hands. Any way it makes one more chary
of leaving stores on this great plain, especially as the blizzard
tended to drift up our tracks. We could only just see the back track
when we started, but the light was extremely poor.

_Wednesday, January_ 10.--Camp 62. T. -11 deg.. Last depot 88 deg. 29' S.; 159 deg.
33' E.; Var. 180 deg.. Terrible hard march in the morning; only covered 5.1
miles (geo.). Decided to leave depot at lunch camp. Built cairn and
left one week's food together with sundry articles of clothing. We
are down as close as we can go in the latter. We go forward with
eighteen days' food. Yesterday I should have said certain to see us
through, but now the surface is beyond words, and if it continues we
shall have the greatest difficulty to keep our march long enough. The
surface is quite covered with sandy snow, and when the sun shines it
is terrible. During the early part of the afternoon it was overcast,
and we started our lightened sledge with a good swing, but during
the last two hours the sun cast shadows again, and the work was
distressingly hard. We have covered only 10.8 miles (geo.).

Only 85 miles (geo.) from the Pole, but it's going to be a stiff
pull _both ways_ apparently; still we do make progress, which is
something. To-night the sky is overcast, the temperature (-11 deg.) much
higher than I anticipated; it is very difficult to imagine what is
happening to the weather. The sastrugi grow more and more confused,
running from S. to E. Very difficult steering in uncertain light
and with rapidly moving clouds. The clouds don't seem to come from
anywhere, form and disperse without visible reason. The surface seems
to be growing softer. The meteorological conditions seem to point to an
area of variable light winds, and that plot will thicken as we advance.

_Thursday, January_ 11.--Lunch. Height 10,540. T. -15 deg. 8'. It was
heavy pulling from the beginning to-day, but for the first two and
a half hours we could keep the sledge moving; then the sun came out
(it had been overcast and snowing with light south-easterly breeze)
and the rest of the forenoon was agonising. I never had such pulling;
all the time the sledge rasps and creaks. We have covered 6 miles,
but at fearful cost to ourselves.

Night camp 63. Height 10,530. Temp. -16.3 deg.. Minimum -25.8 deg.. Another
hard grind in the afternoon and five miles added. About 74 miles from
the Pole--can we keep this up for seven days? It takes it out of
us like anything. None of us ever had such hard work before. Cloud
has been coming and going overhead all day, drifting from the S.E.,
but continually altering shape. Snow crystals falling all the time;
a very light S. breeze at start soon dying away. The sun so bright
and warm to-night that it is almost impossible to imagine a minus
temperature. The snow seems to get softer as we advance; the sastrugi,
though sometimes high and undercut, are not hard--no crusts, except
yesterday the surface subsided once, as on the Barrier. It seems
pretty certain there is no steady wind here. Our chance still holds
good if we can put the work in, but it's a terribly trying time.

_Friday, January_ 12.--Camp 64. T. -17.5 deg.. Lat. 88 deg. 57'. Another heavy
march with snow getting softer all the time. Sun very bright, calm at
start; first two hours terribly slow. Lunch, 4 3/4 hours, 5.6 miles
geo.; Sight Lat. 88 deg. 52'. Afternoon, 4 hours, 5.1 miles--total 10.7.

In the afternoon we seemed to be going better; clouds spread over
from the west with light chill wind and for a few brief minutes we
tasted the delight of having the sledge following free. Alas! in a few
minutes it was worse than ever, in spite of the sun's eclipse. However,
the short experience was salutary. I had got to fear that we were
weakening badly in our pulling; those few minutes showed me that
we only want a good surface to get along as merrily as of old. With
the surface as it is, one gets horribly sick of the monotony and can
easily imagine oneself getting played out, were it not that at the
lunch and night camps one so quickly forgets all one's troubles and
bucks up for a fresh effort. It is an effort to keep up the double
figures, but if we can do so for another four marches we ought to
get through. It is going to be a close thing.

At camping to-night everyone was chilled and we guessed a cold snap,
but to our surprise the actual temperature was higher than last
night, when we could dawdle in the sun. It is most unaccountable
why we should suddenly feel the cold in this manner; partly the
exhaustion of the march, but partly some damp quality in the air, I
think. Little Bowers is wonderful; in spite of my protest he _would_
take sights after we had camped to-night, after marching in the soft
snow all day where we have been comparatively restful on ski.

_Night position_.--Lat. 88 deg. 57' 25'' S.; Long. 160 deg. 21' E.; Var. 179 deg.
49' W. Minimum T. -23.5 deg..

Only 63 miles (geo.) from the Pole to-night. We ought to do the
trick, but oh! for a better surface. It is quite evident this is a
comparatively windless area. The sastrugi are few and far between,
and all soft. I should imagine occasional blizzards sweep up from
the S.E., but none with violence. We have deep tracks in the snow,
which is soft as deep as you like to dig down.

_Saturday, January_ 13.--Lunch Height 10,390. Barometer low? lunch
Lat. 89 deg. 3' 18''. Started on some soft snow, very heavy dragging and
went slow. We could have supposed nothing but that such conditions
would last from now onward, but to our surprise, after two hours
we came on a sea of sastrugi, all lying from S. to E., predominant
E.S.E. Have had a cold little wind from S.E. and S.S.E., where the sky
is overcast. Have done 5.6 miles and are now over the 89th parallel.

Night camp 65.--Height 10,270. T. -22.5 deg., Minimum -23.5 deg.. Lat. 89 deg.
9'S. very nearly. We started very well in the afternoon. Thought we
were going to make a real good march, but after the first two hours
surface crystals became as sandy as ever. Still we did 5.6 miles geo.,
giving over 11 for the day. Well, another day with double figures
and a bit over. The chance holds.

It looks as though we were descending slightly; sastrugi remain as in
forenoon. It is wearisome work this tugging and straining to advance a
light sledge. Still, we get along. I did manage to get my thoughts off
the work for a time to-day, which is very restful. We should be in a
poor way without our ski, though Bowers manages to struggle through
the soft snow without tiring his short legs.

Only 51 miles from the Pole to-night. If we don't get to it we
shall be d----d close. There is a little southerly breeze to-night;
I devoutly hope it may increase in force. The alternation of soft
snow and sastrugi seem to suggest that the coastal mountains are not
so very far away.

_Sunday, January_ 14.--Camp 66. Lunch T. -18 deg., Night T. -15 deg.. Sun
showing mistily through overcast sky all day. Bright southerly wind
with very low drift. In consequence the surface was a little better,
and we came along very steadily 6.3 miles in the morning and 5.5 in
the afternoon, but the steering was awfully difficult and trying;
very often I could see nothing, and Bowers on my shoulders directed
me. Under such circumstances it is an immense help to be pulling
on ski. To-night it is looking very thick. The sun can barely be
distinguished, the temperature has risen, and there are serious
indications of a blizzard. I trust they will not come to anything;
there are practically no signs of heavy wind here, so that even if
it blows a little we may be able to march. Meanwhile we are less than
40 miles from the Pole.

Again we noticed the cold; at lunch to-day (Obs.: Lat. 89 deg. 20' 53''
S.) all our feet were cold, but this was mainly due to the bald state
of our finnesko. I put some grease under the bare skin and found
it made all the difference. Oates seems to be feeling the cold and
fatigue more than the rest of us, but we are all very fit. It is a
critical time, but we ought to pull through. The barometer has fallen
very considerably and we cannot tell whether due to ascent of plateau
or change of weather. Oh! for a few fine days! So close it seems and
only the weather to baulk us.

_Monday, January_ 15.--Lunch camp, Height 9,950. Last depot. During
the night the air cleared entirely and the sun shone in a perfectly
clear sky. The light wind had dropped and the temperature fallen to
-25 deg., minimum -27 deg.. I guessed this meant a hard pull, and guessed
right. The surface was terrible, but for 4 3/4 hours yielded 6 miles
(geo.). We were all pretty well done at camping, and here we leave our
last depot--only four days' food and a sundry or two. The load is now
very light, but I fear that the friction will not be greatly reduced.

_Night, January_ 15.--Height 9920. T. -25 deg.. The sledge came
surprisingly lightly after lunch--something from loss of weight,
something, I think, from stowage, and, most of all perhaps, as a
result of tea. Anyhow we made a capital afternoon march of 6.3 miles,
bringing the total for the day to over 12 (12.3). The sastrugi again
very confused, but mostly S.E. quadrant; the heaviest now almost east,
so that the sledge continually bumps over ridges. The wind is from
the W.N.W. chiefly, but the weather remains fine and there are no
sastrugi from that direction.

Camp 67. Lunch obs.: Lat. 89 deg. 26' 57''; Lat. dead reckoning, 89 deg. 33'
15'' S.; Long. 160 deg. 56' 45'' E.; Var. 179 deg. E.

It is wonderful to think that two long marches would land us at the
Pole. We left our depot to-day with nine days' provisions, so that it
ought to be a certain thing now, and the only appalling possibility
the sight of the Norwegian flag forestalling ours. Little Bowers
continues his indefatigable efforts to get good sights, and it is
wonderful how he works them up in his sleeping-bag in our congested
tent. (Minimum for night -27.5 deg..) Only 27 miles from the Pole. We
_ought_ to do it now.

_Tuesday, January_ 16.--Camp 68. Height 9760. T. -23.5 deg.. The worst
has happened, or nearly the worst. We marched well in the morning and
covered 7 1/2 miles. Noon sight showed us in Lat. 89 deg. 42' S., and we
started off in high spirits in the afternoon, feeling that to-morrow
would see us at our destination. About the second hour of the March
Bowers' sharp eyes detected what he thought was a cairn; he was uneasy
about it, but argued that it must be a sastrugus. Half an hour later
he detected a black speck ahead. Soon we knew that this could not be
a natural snow feature. We marched on, found that it was a black flag
tied to a sledge bearer; near by the remains of a camp; sledge tracks
and ski tracks going and coming and the clear trace of dogs' paws--many
dogs. This told us the whole story. The Norwegians have forestalled
us and are first at the Pole. It is a terrible disappointment,
and I am very sorry for my loyal companions. Many thoughts come and
much discussion have we had. To-morrow we must march on to the Pole
and then hasten home with all the speed we can compass. All the day
dreams must go; it will be a wearisome return. We are descending in
altitude--certainly also the Norwegians found an easy way up.

_Wednesday, January_ 17.--Camp 69. T. -22 deg. at start. Night -21 deg.. The
Pole. Yes, but under very different circumstances from those
expected. We have had a horrible day--add to our disappointment a
head wind 4 to 5, with a temperature -22 deg., and companions labouring
on with cold feet and hands.

We started at 7.30, none of us having slept much after the shock of our
discovery. We followed the Norwegian sledge tracks for some way; as far
as we make out there are only two men. In about three miles we passed
two small cairns. Then the weather overcast, and the tracks being
increasingly drifted up and obviously going too far to the west, we
decided to make straight for the Pole according to our calculations. At
12.30 Evans had such cold hands we camped for lunch--an excellent
'week-end one.' We had marched 7.4 miles. Lat. sight gave 89 deg. 53'
37''. We started out and did 6 1/2 miles due south. To-night little
Bowers is laying himself out to get sights in terrible difficult
circumstances; the wind is blowing hard, T. -21 deg., and there is that
curious damp, cold feeling in the air which chills one to the bone in
no time. We have been descending again, I think, but there looks to be
a rise ahead; otherwise there is very little that is different from
the awful monotony of past days. Great God! this is an awful place
and terrible enough for us to have laboured to it without the reward
of priority. Well, it is something to have got here, and the wind
may be our friend to-morrow. We have had a fat Polar hoosh in spite
of our chagrin, and feel comfortable inside--added a small stick of
chocolate and the queer taste of a cigarette brought by Wilson. Now
for the run home and a desperate struggle. I wonder if we can do it.

_Thursday morning, January_ 18.--Decided after summing up all
observations that we were 3.5 miles away from the Pole--one mile
beyond it and 3 to the right. More or less in this direction Bowers
saw a cairn or tent.

We have just arrived at this tent, 2 miles from our camp, therefore
about 1 1/2 miles from the Pole. In the tent we find a record of five
Norwegians having been here, as follows:

Roald Amundsen
Olav Olavson Bjaaland

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