As the goal of the RV at the 97 mile point from the South Pole nears, the challenge increases.
Henry Worsley describes in the daily report how the mighty, untameable continent that is the Antarctic is giving the team a clear message - that the team had had any easy time on the Ice Shelf; on the Glacier, the team had been tested and found wanting, but were resourceful and persistent and were rewarded with good weather; but now that they are on the high plateau Antarctica will make the team work for every mile to achieve their goal.
A gale force wind in their face all day, reducing wind chill temperatures to -52c, this was the most demanding day yet, and the conditions were more difficult than the two days in November that had kept them in their tent. Despite the temptation to give up and pitch their tent, they continued and achieved 12.3 nm.
Please note that Henry's report runs out early as the satellite line is lost, but the gist of it is clear, and you can hear the fatigue in his voice.
1. Sitrep No 53 as at 0910 hrs GMT 05 Jan 09
2. Distance Covered Today : 12.3 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 647.1 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7.5
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.21 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 4
7. Distance to RV: 46.69 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 143.69 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.67 nm
10. Altitude: 9881 Ft ASL
Today's report is dedicated to gold sponsor Big Yellow.
Today headwind and drift again, with 50° of frost, and a terrible surface. We have been marching through 8 in. of snow, covering sharp sastrugi, which plays havoc with our feet, but we have done 13 1/3 geographical miles, for we increased our food, seeing that it was absolutely necessary to do this to enable us to accomplish anything. I realize that the food we have been having has not been sufficient to keep up our strength, let alone supply the wastage caused by exertion, and now we must try to keep warmth in us, though our strength is being used up. Our temperatures at 5 A.M. were 94°F.
We got away at 7 A.M. sharp and marched till noon, then from 1 P.M. sharp till 6 P.M. All being in one tent makes our camp work slower, for we are so cramped for room, and we get up at 4:40 A.M. so as to get away by 7 A.M. Two of us have to stand outside the tent at night until things are squared up inside, and we find it cold work. Hunger grips us hard, and the food supply is very small. My head still gives me great trouble. I began by wishing that my worst enemy had it instead of myself, but now I don't wish even my worst enemy to have such a headache; still, it is no use talking about it. Self is a subject that most of us are fluent on. We find the utmost difficulty in carrying through the day, and we can only go for two or three more days. Never once has the temperature been above zero since we got on to the plateau, though this is the height of summer. We have done our best, and we thank God for having allowed us to get so far.
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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