1. Sitrep No 35 as at 0908 hrs GMT 18 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 16.4 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 425.4 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.15 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 23
7. Distance to RV: 268.39 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 365.39 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.67 nm
Almost up: The altitude tonight is 7400 ft. above sea level. This has been one of our hardest days, but worth it, for we are just on the plateau at last. We started at 7:30 A.M., relaying the sledges, and did 6 miles 600 yards, which means nearly 19 miles for the day of actual traveling. All the morning we worked up loose, slippery ice, hauling the sledges up one at a time by means of the alpine rope, then pulling in harness on the less stiff rises. We camped for lunch at 12:45 P.M. on the crest of a rise close to the pressure and in the midst of crevasses, into one of which I managed to fall, also Adams. Whilst lunch was preparing I got some rock from the land, quite different to the sandstone of yesterday.
The mountains are all different just here. The land on our left shows beautifully clear stratified lines, and on the west side sandstone stands out, greatly weathered. All the afternoon we relayed up a long snow slope, and we were hungry and tired when we reached camp. We have been saving food to make it spin out, and that increases our hunger; each night we all dream of foods. We save two biscuits per man per day, also pemmican and sugar, eking out our food with pony maize, which we soak in water to make it less hard. All this means that we have now five weeks' food, while we are about 300 geographical miles from the Pole, with the same distance back to the last depot we left yesterday, so we must march on short food to reach our goal.
The temperature is plus 16°F tonight, but a cold wind all the morning cut our faces and broken lips. We keep crevasses with us still, but I think that tomorrow will see the end of this. When we passed the main slope today, more mountains appeared to the west of south, some with sheer cliffs and others rounded off, ending in long snow slopes. I judge the southern limit of the mountains to the west to be about latitude 86° South.
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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