A storm meant that the team did not commence their day's march until 4pm. But such is their focus to make the 97 mile point on the centenary day (Friday 9th January) they cracked on for 7.5 hours and clocked up an excellent 13.5 nm to keep them on track.
If you have any doubt about the team's drive, listen to Henry Worsley's report as he describes their determination to make their date with history. To understand the scale of the task that they are close to achieving, it is best done by way of comparison to Shackleton's 1908-9 expedition and Robert Swan's 1985-6 expedition. Because of the delay to Worsley's team getting to the start point, they effectively set off 11 days behind Shackleton and Swan. If Shackleton, Swan and Worsley all set off on the same day, by today after 54 days, Swan had travelled 628 statute miles, Shackleton 645 miles, but Worsley and team have covered 760 in the same time. By any measure that is a remarkable achievement. I know Henry W well enough to be sure that the team will make their date with destiny on the 9th January!
1. Sitrep No 54 as at 1330 hrs GMT 06 Jan 09
2. Distance Covered Today : 13.5 nm
3. Total Distance Covered : 660.6 nm
4. Hours travelled: 7.5
5. Daily Average to Date: 12.23 nm
6. Days to RV on Jan 9 at 97 Mile Point: 3
7. Distance to RV: 33.19 nm
8. Distance to Pole: 130.19 nm
9. Required Daily Average to achieve RV: 11.06 nm
10. Altitude: 10090 Ft ASL
Today's report is dedicated to gold sponsor New Star Asset Management
This must be our last outward march with the sledge and camp equipment. Tomorrow we must leave camp with some food, and push as far south as possible, and then plant the flag. Today's story is 57° of frost, with a strong blizzard and high drift; yet we marched 13 1/4 geographical miles through soft snow, being helped by extra food. This does not mean full rations, but a bigger ration than we have been having lately. The pony maize is all finished. The most trying day we have yet spent, our fingers and faces being frostbitten continually. Tomorrow we will rush south with the flag. We are at 88° 7' South tonight. It is our last outward march. Blowing hard tonight. I would fail to explain my feelings if I tried to write them down, now that the end has come. There is only one thing that lightens the disappointment, and that is the feeling that we have done all we could. It is the forces of nature that have prevented us from going right through. I cannot write more.
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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