13.5 nm covered today, - the team had their weekly lie in and travelled an hour less than they normally do! Listen to Henry Adam's report today describing how his colleagues at Birketts don't believe he is re-creating his great-grandfather's journey as fully as he could be, and hear how you can never judge what the day will bring - bad mornings can change into good afternoon's and vice versa.
Today's high temperatures meant that the team could have gone further but they were slowed down by the heat (-2 ° C)
1. Sitrep No 22 as at 0750 hrs GMT 05 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 13.5 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 242.3 nm
4. Hours travelled: 6
5. Daily Average to Date: 11.01 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 36
7. Distance to RV: 451.49 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 548.49 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.54 nm
Broke camp sharp at 8 A.M. and proceeded south down an icy slope to the main glacier. The ice was too slippery for the pony, so Wild took him by a circuitous route to the bottom on snow. At the end of our ice slope, down which the sledge skidded rapidly, though we had put on rope brakes and hung on to it as well as we could, there was a patch of soft snow running parallel with the glacier, which here trended about southwest by south.
Close ahead of us were the massed up, fantastically shaped and split masses of pressure across which it would have been impossible for us to have gone, but, fortunately, it was not necessary even to try, for close into the land was a snow slope free from all crevasses, and along this gentle rise we made our way. After a time this snow slope gave place to blue ice, with numberless cracks and small crevasses across which it was quite impossible for the pony to drag the sledge without a serious risk of a broken leg in one of the many holes, the depth of which we could not ascertain. We therefore unharnessed Socks, and Wild took him over this bit of ground very carefully, whilst we others first hauled our sledge and then the pony sledge across to a patch of snow under some gigantic granite pillars over 2000 ft. in height, and here, close to some thaw water, we made our lunch camp. I was still badly snow blind, so stayed in camp whilst Marshall and Adams went on to spy out a good route to follow after lunch was over. When they returned they informed me that there was more cracked-up blue ice ahead, and that the main pressure of the glacier came in very close to the pillar of granite that stood before us, but that beyond that there appeared to be a snow slope and good going.
The most remarkable thing they reported was that as they were walking along a bird, brown in color .with a white line under each wing, flew just over their heads and disappeared to the south. It is, indeed, strange to hear of such an incident in latitude 83° 40' South. They were sure it was not a skua gull, which is the only bird I could think of that would venture down here, and the gull might have been attracted by the last dead pony, for when in latitude 80° 30' South, on my last southern trip, a skua gull arrived shortly after we had killed a dog.
After lunch we started again, and by dint of great exertions managed, at 6 P.M., to camp after getting both sledges and then the pony over another couple of miles of crevassed blue ice. We then went on and had a look ahead, and saw that we are going to have a tough time tomorrow to get along at all. I can see that it will, at least, mean relaying three or four times across nearly half a mile of terribly crevassed ice, covered in places with treacherous snow, and razor edged in other places, all of it sloping down toward the rock debris-strewn shore on the cliff side.
We are camped under a wonderful pillar of granite that has been arounded by the winds into a perfectly symmetrical shape, and is banded by lines of gneiss. There is just one little patch of snow for our tents, and even that bridges some crevasses. Providence will look over us tonight, for we can do nothing more. One feels that at any moment some great piece of rock may come hurtling down, for all around us are pieces of granite, ranging from the size of a hazelnut to great boulders twenty to forty tons in weight, and on one snow slope is the fresh track of a fallen rock. Still we can do no better, for it is impossible to spread a tent on the blue ice, and we cannot get any further tonight. We are leaving a depot here. My eyes are my only trouble, for their condition makes it impossible for me to pick out the route or do much more than pull. The distance covered today was 9 miles with 4 miles relay.
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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