April 10, 2011

Monday, 10 April 1911


The last depot party, under Johansen, arrived back at Framheim, three days later than expected. The delay had been caused by a thick fog which led them to wander into a maze of crevasses that collapsed underneath them. Two dogs had been lost -- Johansen's leading dogs -- but it was a blessing in disguise as it demonstrated the advantages of the Greenland fan harness. With the Alaskan single-trace harness, the whole team would have been dragged down.

The temperatures had been ten to fifteen degrees higher than before, with fog most of the way. They had missed the depot by a mile and a half, but had run into one of their marker flags to the west and had no difficulty tracing their way back to the depot.

They had rebuilt the depot at 80°, adding a ton of seal meat, 165 litres of paraffin, and other supplies, totalling almost two tons. Johansen had also arranged the six seal carcasses standing on end around the cairn of cases and snow blocks, to prevent the snow from drifting up around them and to save the trouble of having to dig them out later.

There were now depots at 80, 81, and 82 degrees, with the route marked every mile to 80°.

"Tomorrow," Amundsen wrote, "we celebrate the end of the autumn's work, and truly we can celebrate it with a good conscience." [1]


[1] Roald Amundsen, [diary, 11 April, 1911], quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.359.

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