February 26, 2011

Sunday, 26 February 1911


Upon hearing the news of Amundsen, Gran wrote, "I felt as if the glacier had opened under me and a thousand thoughts rushed into my head. Was I to compete with my own compatriots, with my own flag? No, it was not pleasant to contemplate." [1]

Bowers called it "Amundsen's little game". "Trigger was so genuinely upset at the behaviour of his countryman that one could not help feeling sorry for him & the awkward position it put him." [2]

"I believe, from what I have seen," Gran went on in his diary, "that Amundsen's chances are better than ours. First, he is one degree further south than we are and, secondly, his speed is far superior to ours.... If we reach the Pole, then Amundsen will reach the Pole and weeks earlier."


The Norwegians reached their depot at 80° easily. This time, they had two sextants and a theodolite for an astronomic fix on their location: these gave a mean reading of 70° 59', a little over a mile (about 1.8 km) off.

Amundsen had decided on a careful marking of the depots. Ten black pennants on short sticks were laid out a half-mile on either side, making a transverse line of ten miles across their route; each pennant was marked with a number giving the distance and bearing of the depot.


[1] Tryggve Gran, diary, 26 February, 1911, quoted in The Norwegian With Scott : Tryggve Gran's Antarctic Diary 1910-1913 ([Greenwich] : National Maritime Museum, 1984), p.63.
[2] H.R. Bowers, undated letter, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.369-370.

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