December 12, 2011

Tuesday, 12 December 1911


"Lost one hour on Owner's sledge today," Wright noted tersely. "Looks bad but Teddy and Lashly had pulled all the way from Corner Camp. Teddy a quitter." [1]

A five-hour march produced no more than a half-mile's distance.


The going was superb, hard crust over which skis and sledges glided easily. "Our finest day up here," Amundsen wrote, "calm most of the day, with burning sunshine." [2] They had done their fifteen miles, to 89°45', over hard snow crust, excellent for skiing.

But tension was high among the Norwegians, and every nerve was taut. As they were making camp, Hassel called out, "Do you see that black thing over there?" "Can it be Scott?" Bjaaland went over to investigate. "Mirage," he called out laconically, "dog turds." [3]

"The Captain is in a good mood and is unusually pleasant to me. Had a fine dream the other night. A girl, a little angel came to me with food and flowers, among them a big red rose." [4]


[1] Charles Wright, diary, 12 December, 1911, quoted by David Crane in Scott of the Antarctic (New York : Knopf, c2005), p.473.
[2] Roald Amundsen, diary, 13 December 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.484.
[3] Olav Bjaaland, personal communication with Roland Huntford, quoted by Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.485.
[4] Olav Bjaaland, diary, 13 December, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.180.

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