1. Sitrep No 28 as at 0810 hrs GMT 11 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 17.2 nm!
3. Total Distance Covered : 337.3 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.05 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 30
7. Distance to RV: 356.49 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 453.49 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.88 nm
A heavy day. We started away at 7:40 A.M. and tried to keep alongside the land, but the ice of the glacier sloped so much that we had to go on to the ridge, where the sledges could run without side slipping. This slipping cuts the runners very badly. We crossed the medial moraine, and found rock there with what looked like plant impressions. We collected some specimens.
In the afternoon we found the surface better, as the cracks were nearly all filled up with water turned to ice. We camped for lunch on rubbly ice. After lunch we rounded some pressure ridges fairly easily, and then pulled up a long ice slope with many sharp points. All the afternoon we were passing over ice in which the cracks had been closed up, and we began to have great hopes that the end of the glacier was in sight, and that we would soon be able to put in some good marches on the plateau.
At 5 P.M. we found more cracks and a mass of pressure ice ahead and land appeared as the clouds ahead lifted. I cannot tell what it means, but the position makes us anxious. The sledges will not stand much more of this ice work, and' we are still 340 geographical miles away from the Pole. Thank God the weather is fine still. We camped at 6 P.M. on hard ice between two crevasses. There was no snow to pack round the tents, so we had to put the sledges and the provision bags on the snow cloths. We made the floor level inside by chipping away the points of ice with our ice axes. We were very hungry after hoosh tonight.
Awkward features about the glacier are the little pits filled with mud, of which I collected a small sample (These pits are known as ciyoconite holes). It seems to be ground down rock material, but what the action has been I cannot tell. The hot sun, beating down on this mud, makes it gradually sink into the body of the glacier, leaving a rotten ice covering through which we often break. It is like walking over a cucumber frame, and sometimes the boulders that have sunk down through the ice can be seen 3 to 4 ft. below the surface. The ice that has formed above the sunken rocks is more clear than the ordinary glacier ice. We are 3700 ft. up, and made 8 miles 900 yards to the good today. We have the satisfaction of feeling that we are getting south, and perhaps tomorrow may see the end of all our difficulties. Difficulties are just things to overcome after all. Every one is very fit.
This is the story of the “Farthest South” expedition, told by its leader. After enduring biting winds, short rations and crevasse-ridden glaciers for over a year, Shackleton’s party faced a desperate forced march to return to their ship, The Nimrod, or face being marooned on the ice.
Taken from Sir Ernest Shackleton’s own compelling chronicle of his first Antarctic expedition, written on his return in 1909.
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