Four days before the planned start of the Polar journey, Hassel wrote in his diary, "If only we could delay the start until November 1st. But if one wants to be first at the Pole, there is no choice." 
For the past week, temperatures had stayed below 50 degrees C. of frost, and one afternoon as far as -57.
"In such weather," Johansen wrote, "a sledge journey would be fatal. It would be worst for the dogs. These days they go about lifting their feet gingerly. They lie in the snowdrifts and roll up in a ball with their noses between their paws to keep warm."
The dogs were getting restless, too. "We have to keep watch over them all day," Johansen added. "They fight and bite each other on the ears." 
 Roald Amundsen Bildearkiv, Nasjonalbiblioteket.
 Sverre Hassel, diary, 20 August, 1911, published as Dagboksnotater fra Sydpolen (Skien : Vågemot Miniforlag, 1997), p.4.
 Hjalmar Johansen, diary, 20 August 1911, published as Dagbok fra Sydpolen (Skien : Vågemot Miniforlag, 2007), p.14.