January 29, 2012

Monday, 29 January 1912


After a march of nearly twenty miles, Wilson found that his leg was overstrained, and for several days he could only hobble alongside the sledge without pulling. "400 miles about to go," he wrote, "before meeting the dogs with ship's news." [1]


In the evening, Amundsen closed the door of the hut behind him and went down to the ship. "It was a heavy moment to leave Framheim," he wrote in his diary. "A more splendid or cosy winter quarters no one has had. When we departed, Lindstrøm had scoured it from top to bottom and it was shining like a new pin. We don't want to be accused of untidiness or dirt if anyone should happen to go there and look." [2]

"It was quite curious," he wrote later, "to see how several of the old veterans seemed at home again on the Fram’s deck. Wisting’s brave dog, the old Colonel, with his two adjutants, Suggen and Arne, at once took possession of the places where they had stood for so many a long day on the voyage south -- on the starboard side of the mainmast; the two twins, Mylius and Ring, Helmer Hanssen’s special favourites, began their games away in the corner of the fore-deck to port, as though nothing had happened. To look at those two merry rascals no one would have thought they had trotted at the head of the whole caravan both to and from the Pole. One solitary dog could be seen stalking about, lonely and reserved, in a continual uneasy search. This was the boss of Bjaaland’s team. He was unaffected by any advances; no one could take the place of his fallen comrade and friend, Frithjof, who had long ago found a grave in the stomachs of his companions many hundreds of miles across the Barrier." [3]

Fram cast off in a fog, leaving, as Bjaaland put it, "these regions and Framheim with all their splendour to anyone who wants them.... Farewell then, Framheim, your ice and snow and seal and crows and everything. You were temperamental and unpleasant and cold now and then but better than I expected." [4]

"The place that had been our residence for a year we left without a backwards glance," wrote Hassel. "The fog was too dense. But I doubt if any of us regretted that." [5]


[1] E.A. Wilson, diary, 29 January, 1912, quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.521.
[2] Roald Amundsen, diary, 30 January, 1912, quoted by Roland Huntford in Race for the South Pole : the expedition diaries of Scott and Amundsen (London : Continuum, c2010), p.267.
[3] Roald Amundsen, The South Pole, ch.14.
[4] Olav Bjaaland, diary, [30 January, 1912?], quoted by Roland Huntford in Scott and Amundsen (New York : Putnam, 1980, c1979), p.529.
[5] Sverre Hassel, diary, 31 January, 1912, quoted by Tor Bomann-Larsen in Roald Amundsen (Stroud, Gloucestershire : Sutton, c2006, c1995), p.110.

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