A blizzard halted their progress. "After a minute or two in the open," Scott wrote, "one is covered from head to foot. The temperature is high, so that what falls or drives against one sticks. The ponies -- head, tails, legs, and all parts not protected by their rugs -- are covered with ice; the animals are standing deep in snow, the sledges are almost covered, and huge drifts above the tents. We have had breakfast, rebuilt the walls, and are now again in our bags. One cannot see the next tent, let alone the land. What on earth does such weather mean at this time of year?" 
Suddenly-warm temperatures -- + 27° to 31° -- meant that the snow melted as it fell, soaking everything, tents, clothes, boots, and sleeping-bags.
"Is there some widespread atmospheric disturbance which will be felt everywhere in this region as a bad season, or are we merely the victims of exceptional local conditions?" Scott wrote in frustration, as Wilson read "In Memoriam" and Silas Wright was buried in Little Dorrit. "If the latter, there is food for thought in picturing our small party struggling against adversity in one place whilst others go smilingly forward in the sunshine. How great may be the element of luck! No foresight -- no procedure -- could have prepared us for this state of affairs. Had we been ten times as experienced or certain of our aim we should not have expected such rebuffs."
Bowers, though, remained cheerfully optimistic. At most, he wrote, "the delay will mean nothing worse than a little short commons on our return journey, a trifling matter." 
The fog still kept their visibility to almost nil. "H[elmer] H[anssen] has to drive ahead with his dog team. Hass. and I, who otherwise would take turns in going ahead [on ski], cannot do so in this kind of weather, since we would simply come a cropper on the sastrugi. Some of these are quite big -- but nothing to make a song and dance about. With a little exhortation, the dogs take the sledges over with flying colours. If we had to pull ourselves, it would have been a dangerous job." 
"The Devil's own sastrugi terrain," wrote Bjaaland with feeling, "up to 6-7 feet high. H[anssen] and W[isting] upset their loads. Put 20 nautical miles behind us, it wears you out going and fussing with the dogs all day, scanty dinner and ditto chocolate. 10800 ft. asl [above sea level, 3292 m]." 
 R.F. Scott, diary, 5 December, 1911, quoted in Scott's Last Expedition : the Journals, v.1.
 H.R. Bowers, diary, [date not given], quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.462.
 Roald Amundsen, diary, 6 December, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.166.
 Olav Bjaaland, diary, 6 December, 1911, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.166. Twenty nautical miles equal 23 statute miles, or 3704 km.