November 26, 2011

Sunday, 26 November 1911


"We now keep a steady pace of 2 miles an hour," Scott noted, "very good going." [1]

Here at 81° 35' they left their Middle Barrier depot, with one week's rations for each returning unit. This reduced the weight on their sledges by 200 lbs. (90.7 kg).

"The sastrugi," added Scott, "seem to be gradually coming more to the south and a little more confused; now and again they are crossed with hard westerly sastrugi. The walking is tiring for the men, one's feet sinking 2 or 3 inches at each step. Chinaman and Jimmy Pigg kept up splendidly with the other ponies. It is always rather dismal work walking over the great snow plain when sky and surface merge in one pall of dead whiteness, but it is cheering to be in such good company with everything going on steadily and well. The dogs came up as we camped. Meares says the best surface he has had yet."

The Second Western Geological Party -- Taylor, Debenham, Gran, and Forde -- arrived at Granite Harbour to begin their work in the Mackay Glacier area.


At three in the morning, a break in the weather came, allowing them to jump out of their sleeping bags and get their bearings. By eight they were off again, with sticky going.

After fifteen miles in heavy drift, they reached level ground and 86° S. "Smooth lies the Plateau before us," wrote Amundsen, "flat as a drawing room floor. We have thus won a victory. Dragged ourselves through storm and drift and are lying now on the Plateau in sunshine ... extremely pleased with the prospects.... [Now] the road to the Pole is clear -- may we soon be there." [2]

Amundsen here took up his position as forerunner, to give the dogs something to follow.


[1] R.F. Scott, diary, 26 November, 1911, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition : the Journals, v.1.
[2] Roald Amundsen, diary, [27 November, 1911], quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.453.

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