Today the team spent the morning scrambling up Mount Hope in order to bid farewell to the Ross Ice Shelf behind them, and to see the route laid out in front of them.
Negotiating crevasses and blue ice, each of the team went in thigh deep into crevasses today, but their drills are good and in 5 and a half hours they were able to achieve 10.5 nm. The team have sent in some photos today, which are shown below.
Campsite on Night 33 with Mount Kyffin in the background.
Below is a map showing some detail of the Beardmore Glacier, and also showing Shackleton's route. Henry Worsley refers to several of the key features portrayed on this map in his daily report. Click on the map to enlarge it.
1. Sitrep No 33 as at 0950 hrs GMT 16 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 10.5 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 393.89 nm
4. Hours travelled: 5.5
5. Daily Average to Date: 11.94 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 25
7. Distance to RV: 299.89 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 396.89 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.00 nm
We started at 7 A.M., having had breakfast at 5:30 A.M. It was snowing slightly for the first few hours, and then the weather cleared. The surface was hard and the going good. We camped at noon and took sights for latitude, and ascertained that our position was 84° 50' South. Ahead of us we could see a long slope, icy and crevassed, but we did 13 miles 1650 yards for the day. We camped at 5:30 P.M., and got ready our depot gear.
We have decided to travel as lightly as possible, taking only the clothes we are wearing, and we will leave four days' food, which I calculate should get us back to the last depot on short ration. We have now traversed nearly one hundred miles of crevassed ice, and risen 6000 ft. on the largest glacier in the world. One more crevassed slope, and we will be on the plateau, please God. We are all fit and well. The temperature tonight is plus 15°F, and the wind is blowing freshly from the southwest.
There are splendid ranges of mountains to the west southwest, and we have an extended view of glacier and mountains. Ahead of us lie three sharp peaks, connected up and forming an island in what is apparently inland ice or the head of the glacier. The peaks lie due south of us. To the eastward and westward of this island the ice bears down from the inland ice sheet, and joins the head of the glacier proper. To the westward the mountains along the side of the glacier are all of the bluff type, and the lines of stratification can be seen plainly. Still further to the westward, behind the frontal range, lie sharper peaks, some of them almost perfect cones. The trend of the land from the "Cloudmaker" is about south southwest. We are traveling up the west side of the glacier. On the other side, to the east, there is a break in the bluff mountains, and the land beyond runs away more to the southeast. The valley is filled with pressure ice, which seems to have come from the inland ice sheet. The mountains to the southeast also show lines of stratification.
I hope that the photographs will be clear enough to give an idea of the character of this land. These mountains are not beautiful in the ordinary acceptance of the term, but they are magnificent in their stern and rugged grandeur. No foot has ever trod on their mighty sides, and until we reached this frozen land no human eyes had seen their forms.
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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