An even tougher day than yesterday, with total whiteout conditions, with visibility down to about 20 yards, making navigation challenging.
A light snow flurry, combined with low temperatures (-35c) meant that the pulks are not gliding so well over the surface. The team therefore put in an extra half hour today in order to keep the daily distance up to the required amount to make the RV at the 97 mile point.
1. Sitrep No 46 as at 0745 hrs GMT 29 Dec 08
2. Distance Covered Today : 14.6 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 549.2 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7.5
5. Daily Average to Date: 11.94nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 11
7. Distance to RV: 144.59 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 241.59 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 13.14 nm
10. Altitude: 8635 Ft ASL
Yesterday I wrote that we hoped to do fifteen miles today, but such is the variable character of this surface that one cannot prophesy with any certainty an hour ahead. A strong southerly wind, with from 44° to 49° of frost, combined with the effect of short rations, made our distance 12 miles 600 yards instead. We have reached an altitude of 10,310 ft., and an uphill gradient gave us one of the most severe pulls for ten hours that would be possible. It looks serious, for we must-increase the food if we are to get on at all, and we must risk a depot at seventy miles off the Pole and dash for it then.
Our sledge is badly strained, and on the abominably bad surface of soft snow is dreadfully hard to move. I have been suffering from a bad headache all day, and Adams also was worried by the cold. I think that these headaches are a form of mountain sickness, due to our high altitude. The others have bled from the nose, and that must relieve them. Physical effort is always trying at a high altitude, and we are straining at the harness all day, sometimes slipping in the soft snow that overlies the hard sastrugi. My head is very bad. The sensation is as though the nerves were being twisted up with a corkscrew and then pulled out. Marshall took our temperatures tonight, and we are all at about 94°, but in spite of this we are getting south. We are only 198 miles off our goal now.
If the rise would stop the cold would not matter, but it is hard to know what is man's limit. We have only 150 lb. per man to pull, but it is more severe work than the 250 1b. per man up the glacier was. The Pole is hard to get.
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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