Day 38

Daily Distance:
Total Distance:
84° 36' / 168° 17'

Read the Journal Entry for Day 38

Shackleton Centenary Expedition

Latest Expedition Update:

Day 39, 22 December Distance travelled: 461.1 nmi Temperature: -21 °C Conditions: Very sunny, no cloud, wind picked up in the last hour Read Journal Entry
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Day 38 December 21, 2008

A southern summer solstice today for the team wasn't able to mitigate the fact that it has been their toughest day yet. They are spending more time fixing and changing crampons and less time travelling, however they are still making good headway through the toughest terrain they have faced yet.

Camped tonight in the middle of a crevasse field, they think they have another 5 or 6 days on the glacier.


1. Sitrep No 38 as at 0920 hrs GMT 21 Dec 08

2. Distance Covered Today : 8.5 nm

3. Total Distance Covered : 452.8 nm

4. Hours travelled: 7

5. Daily Average to Date: 11.92 nm

6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 20

7. Distance to RV: 240.99 nm

8. Distance to Pole: 337.99 nm

9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.05 nm

For a detailed map of the Beardmore Glacier, and the team's progress on it click here.

December 21st, 1908

Midsummer Day, with 28° of frost! We have frostbitten fingers and ears, and a strong blizzard wind has been blowing from the south all day, all due to the fact that we have climbed to an altitude of over 8000 ft. above sea level. From early morning we have been striving to the south, but six miles is the total distance gained, for from noon, or rather from lunch at 1 P.M., we have been hauling the sledges up, one after the other, by standing pulls across crevasses and over great pressure ridges. When we had advanced one sledge some distance, we put up a flag on a bamboo to mark its position, and then roped up and returned for the other.

The wind, no doubt, has a great deal to do with the low temperature, and we feel the cold, as we are going on short commons. The altitude adds to the difficulties, but we are getting south all the time. We started away from camp at 6:45 A.M. today, and except for an hour's halt at lunch, worked on until 6 P.M. Now we are camped in a filled-up crevasse, the only place where snow to put around the tents can be obtained, for all the rest of the ground we are on is either neve or hard ice. We little thought that this particular pressure ridge was going to be such an obstacle; it looked quite ordinary, even a short way off, but we have now decided to trust nothing to eyesight, for the distances are so deceptive up here.

It is a wonderful sight to look down over the glacier from the great altitude we are at, and to see the mountains stretching away east and west, some of them over 15,000 ft. in height. We are very hungry now, and it seems as cold almost as the spring sledging. Our beards are masses of ice all day long. Thank God we are fit and well and have had no accident, which is a mercy, seeing that we have covered over 130 miles of crevassed ice.

Day 38 Report

  1. Day 38 Report
  2. Day 38 Sitrep

Day 38: Overview

Distance covered:
8.5 nm
15 mph
Clear sky, very sunny

The Heart of the Antarctic

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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