1. Sitrep No 41 as at 0950 hrs GMT 24 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 13.3 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 489.8 nm
4. Hours travelled: 8
5. Daily Average to Date: 11.95 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 17
7. Distance to RV: 203.99 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 300.99 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 12.00 nm
For a detailed map of the Beardmore Glacier, and the team's progress on it click here.
A much better day for us; indeed, the brightest we have had since entering our Southern Gateway. We started off at 7 A.M. across waves and undulations of ice, with some one or other of our little party falling through the thin crust of snow every now and then. At 10:30 A.M. I decided to steer more to the west, and we soon got on to a better surface, and covered 5 miles 250 yards in the forenoon. After lunch, as the surface was distinctly improving, we discarded the second sledge, and started our afternoon's march with one sledge.
It has been blowing freshly from the south and drifting all day, and this, with over 40° of frost, has coated our faces with ice. We get superficial frost bites every now and then. During the afternoon the surface improved greatly, and the cracks and crevasses disappeared, but we are still going uphill,.and from the summit of one ridge saw some new land, which runs south southeast down to,latitude 86° South. We camped at 6 P.M., very tired and with cold feet. We have only the clothes we stand up in now, as we depoted everything else, and this continued rise means lower temperatures than I had anticipated.
Tonight we are 9095 ft. above sea level, and the way before us is still rising. I trust that it will soon level out, for it is hard work pulling at this altitude. So far there is no sign of the very hard surface that Captain Scott speaks of in connection with his journey on the Northern Plateau. There seem to be just here regular layers of snow, not much wind swept, but we will see better the surface conditions in a few days. Tomorrow will be Christmas Day, and our thoughts turn to home and all the attendant joys of the time. One longs to hear "the hansoms slurring through the London mud." Instead of that, we are lying in a little tent, isolated high on the roof of the end of the world, far, indeed, from the ways trodden of men. Still, our thoughts can fly across the wastes of ice and snow and across the oceans to those whom we are striving for and who are thinking of us now. And, thank God, we are nearing our goal. The distance covered today was 11 miles 250 yards.
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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