December 22, 2011

Friday, 22 December 1911


Wilson's sketch of the view at the lunch camp of 19th December, showing Mt. Deakin to the left, Keltie Glacier, and part of Mt. Kinsey on the extreme right. He made a number of sketches, often panoramas like this one. [1]

On the flyleaf of his new journal for the summit journey, Scott noted, "Ages: Self 43, Wilson 39, Evans (P.O.) 37, Oates 32, Bowers 28. Average 36." [2]

"We started with our heavy loads about 9.20," he wrote, "I in some trepidation -- quickly dissipated as we went off and up a slope at a smart pace. The second sledge came close behind us, showing that we have weeded the weak spots and made the proper choice for the returning party."

Their 7 1/2 hours for the day, with a long break at lunch to mend a broken sledge-meter, covered 12 miles (19.3 km).

"To-morrow we march longer hours, about 9 I hope. Every day the loads will lighten, and so we ought to make the requisite progress. I think we have climbed about 250 feet to-day, but thought it more on the march.... The weather has been beautifully fine all day as it was last night. (Night Temp. -9°.) This morning there was an hour or so of haze due to clouds from the N. Now it is perfectly clear, and we get a fine view of the mountain behind which Wilson has just been sketching."

Here they made their Upper Glacier depot, at 85°13'. Bowers noted that they left here "two half-weekly units for return of the two parties, also all crampons and glacier gear, such as ice-axes, crowbar, spare Alpine rope, etc., personal gear, medical, and in fact everything we could dispense with. I left my old finnesko, wind trousers and some other spare gear in a bag for going back." [3] The cairn was marked with two spare 10-ft. sledge runners and a black flag.

The two parties now consisted of Scott, Wilson, Oates, and P.O. Evans on one sledge, and Lt. Evans, Bowers, Lashly, and Crean on the other.

"It was a sad job saying good-bye," wrote Cherry in his diary. "It was thick, snowing and drifting clouds when we started back after making the depôt, and the last we saw of them as we swung the sledge north was a black dot just disappearing over the next ridge and a big white pressure wave ahead of them.... Scott said some nice things when we said good-bye. Anyway he has only to average seven miles a day to get to the Pole on full rations -- it's practically a cert for him. I do hope he takes Bill and Birdie. The view over the ice-falls and pressure by the Mill Glacier from the top of the ice-falls is one of the finest things I have ever seen. Atch is doing us proud." [4]


"Bitter this morning," wrote Amundsen. "SE'ly breeze and biting cold. Almost overcast. Very difficult to see the terrain. Bj[aaland] therefore soon lost our tracks. Luckily it eased and cleared up." [5]

Despite the poor visibility, they found that they were in fact heading directly for their next cairn.


[1] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, ch.X.
[2] R.F. Scott, Summit Journey diary, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition, v.1. Since this note is undated, it is not clear when Scott decided on the members of the polar party.
[3] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, ch.XI.
[4] Apsley Cherry-Garrard, diary, 22 December, 1911, quoted in his The Worst Journey in the World, ch.XII.
[5] Roald Amundsen, diary, 23 December, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.201.

No comments:

Post a Comment