1. Sitrep No 36 as at 0845 hrs GMT 19 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 10.1 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 435.5 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.10 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 22
7. Distance to RV: 258.29 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 335.29 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.74 nm
Not on the plateau level yet, though we are tonight 7888 ft. up, and still there is another rise ahead of us. We got breakfast at 5 A.M. and started at 7 A.M. sharp, taking on one sledge. Soon we got to the top of a ridge, and went back for the second sledge, then hauled both together all the rest of the day. The weight was about 200 lb. per man, and we kept going until 6 P.M., with a stop of one hour for lunch. We got a meridian altitude at noon, and found that our latitude was 85° 5' South.
We seem unable to get rid of the crevasses, and we have been falling into them and steering through them all day in the face of a cold southerly wind, with a temperature varying from plus 15° to plus 9°F. The work was very heavy, for we were going uphill all day, and our sledge runners, which have been suffering from the sharp ice and rough traveling, are in a bad way. Soft snow in places greatly retarded our progress, but we have covered our ten miles, and now are camped on good snow between two crevasses. I really think that tomorrow will see us on the plateau proper.
This glacier must be one of the largest, if not the largest, in the world. The sastrugi seem to point mainly to the south, so we may expect head winds all the way to the Pole. Marshall has a cold job tonight, taking the angles of the new mountains to the west, some of which appeared today. After dinner we examined the sledge runners and turned one sledge end for end, for it had been badly torn while we were coming up the glacier, and in the soft snow it clogged greatly.
We are still favored with splendid weather, and that is a great comfort to us, for it would be almost impossible under other conditions to travel amongst these crevasses, which are caused by the congestion of the ice between the headlands when it was flowing from the plateau down between the mountains. Now there is comparatively little movement, and many of the crevasses have become snow-filled. Tonight we are 290 geographical miles from the Pole. We are thinking of our Christmas dinner. We will be full that day, anyhow.
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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