If a great snow plain, rising every seven miles in a steep ridge, can be called a plateau, then we are on it at last, with an altitude above the sea of 9820 ft. We started at 7 A.M. and marched till noon, encountering at 11 A.M. a steep snow ridge which pretty well cooked us, but we got the sledge up by noon and camped. We are pulling 150 lb. per man. In the afternoon we had good going till 5 P.M. and then another ridge as difficult as the previous one, so that our backs and legs were in a bad way when we reached the top at 6 P.M., having done 14 miles 930 yards for the day.
Thank heaven it has been a fine day, with little wind. The temperature is minus 9°F. This surface is most peculiar, showing layers of snow with little sastrugi all pointing south southeast. Short food make us think of plum puddings, and hard half-cooked maize gives us indigestion, but we are getting south. The latitude is 86° 19' South tonight. Our thoughts are with the people at home a great deal.
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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