The Gateway is Reached
The team have finally left the ice shelf and are camped at the beginning of the Beardmore Glacier. The first stage of the journey is now complete, and the second will be more technically trying. Making their way through a crevasse field today, the ice gave way where Will had just been - the team will have to rope up a lot more than they did on the ice shelf which is sure to have an impact on their daily average nm achieved.
The photo below shows Mount Hope and the Gateway to the Beardmore Glacier. Run your mouse over the photo to see the relevant features highlighted.
Shackleton's photo taken from a similiar position is below.
1. Sitrep No 31 as at 0925 hrs GMT 14 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 15.7 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 382.1 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.33 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 27
7. Distance to RV: 311.69 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 408.69 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.54 nm
This has been one of our hardest day's work so far. We have been steering all day about south southwest up the glacier, mainly in the bed of an ancient moraine, which is full of holes through which the stones and boulders have melted down long years ago. It has been snowing all day with a high temperature, and this has made everything very wet. We have ascended over 1000 ft. today, our altitude at 6 P.M. being 5600 ft. above sea level, so the mountains to the west must be from 10,000 to 15,000 ft. in height, judging from their comparative elevation. My knee is better today.
We have had a heavy pull and many falls on the slippery ice. Just before camping, Adams went through some snow, but held up over an awful chasm. Our sledges are much the worse for wear, and the one with the broken bow constantly strikes against the hard, sharp ice, pulling us up with a jerk and often flinging us down. At this high altitude the heavy pulling is very trying, especially as we slip on the snow covering the blue ice. There has evidently been an enormous glaciation here, and now it is dwindling away. Even the mountains show signs of this. Tonight our hopes are high that we are nearly at the end of the rise and that soon we will reach our longed for plateau. Then southward indeed! Food is the determining factor with us. We did 7 1/2 miles today.
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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