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Scott's Last Expedition

Thursday, April 13th 1911

Started from Hut Point 9 A.M. Tuesday. Party consisted of self, Bowers, P.O. Evans, Taylor, one tent; Evans, Gran, Crean, Debenham, and Wright, second tent. Left Wilson in charge at Hut Point with Meares, Forde, Keohane, Oates, Atkinson, and Cherry-Garrard. All gave us a pull up the ski slope; it had become a point of honour to take this slope without a ‘breather.’ I find such an effort trying in the early morning, but had to go through with it.

Weather fine; we marched past Castle Rock, east of it; the snow was soft on the slopes, showing the shelter afforded – continued to traverse the ridge for the first time – found quite good surface much wind swept – passed both cones on the ridge on the west side. Caught a glimpse of fast ice in the Bays either side of Glacier as expected, but in the near Bay its extent was very small. Evidently we should have to go well along the ridge before descending, and then the problem would be how to get down over the cliffs. On to Hulton Rocks 7 1/2 miles from the start – here it was very icy and wind swept, inhospitable – the wind got up and light became bad just at the critical moment, so we camped and had some tea at 2 P.M. A clearance half an hour later allowed us to see a possible descent to the ice cliffs, but between Hulton Rocks and Erebus all the slope was much cracked and crevassed. We chose a clear track to the edge of the cliffs, but could find no low place in these, the lowest part being 24 feet sheer drop. Arriving here the wind increased, the snow drifting off the ridge – we had to decide quickly; I got myself to the edge and made standing places to work the rope; dug away at the cornice, well situated for such work in harness. Got three people lowered by the Alpine rope – Evans, Bowers, and Taylor – then sent down the sledges, which went down in fine style, fully packed – then the remainder of the party. For the last three, drove a stake hard down in the snow and used the rope round it, the men being lowered by people below – came down last myself. Quite a neat and speedy bit of work and all done in 20 minutes without serious frostbite – quite pleased with the result.

We found pulling to Glacier Tongue very heavy over the surface of ice covered with salt crystals, and reached Glacier Tongue about 5.30; found a low place and got the sledges up the 6 ft. wall pretty easily. Stiff incline, but easy pulling on hard surface – the light was failing and the surface criss-crossed with innumerable cracks; several of us fell in these with risk of strain, but the north side was well snow-covered and easy, with a good valley leading to a low ice cliff – here a broken piece afforded easy descent. I decided to push on for Cape Evans, so camped for tea at 6. At 6.30 found darkness suddenly arrived; it was very difficult to see anything – we got down on the sea ice, very heavy pulling, but plodded on for some hours; at 10 arrived close under little Razor Back Island, and not being able to see anything ahead, decided to camp and got to sleep at 11.30 in no very comfortable circumstances.
The wind commenced to rise during night. We found a roaring blizzard in the morning. We had many alarms for the safety of the ice on which the camp was pitched. Bowers and Taylor climbed the island; reported wind terrific on the summit – sweeping on either side but comparatively calm immediately to windward and to leeward. Waited all day in hopes of a lull; at 3 I went round the island myself with Bowers, and found a little ice platform close under the weather side; resolved to shift camp here. It took two very cold hours, but we gained great shelter, the cliffs rising almost sheer from the tents. Only now and again a whirling wind current eddied down on the tents, which were well secured, but the noise of the wind sweeping over the rocky ridge above our heads was deafening; we could scarcely hear ourselves speak. Settled down for our second night with little comfort, and slept better, knowing we could not be swept out to sea, but provisions were left only for one more meal.

During the night the wind moderated and we could just see outline of land.

I roused the party at 7 A.M. and we were soon under weigh, with a desperately cold and stiff breeze and frozen clothes; it was very heavy pulling, but the distance only two miles. Arrived off the point about ten and found sea ice continued around it. It was a very great relief to see the hut on rounding it and to hear that all was well.
Another pony, Hackenschmidt, and one dog reported dead, but this certainly is not worse than expected. All the other animals are in good form.

Delighted with everything I see in the hut. Simpson has done wonders, but indeed so has everyone else, and I must leave description to a future occasion.

Captain Scott and group taken on return of the Southern Party
“Captain Scott and group taken on return of the Southern Party”
Captain Scott
“Captain Scott”
Captain Scott
“Captain Scott”
Lieutenant Evans
“Lieutenant Evans”
F.E. Debenham
“F.E. Debenham”
Mr F.E. Debenham
“Mr F.E. Debenham”
Lieutenant Bowers
“Lieutenant Bowers”
Lieut Bowers
“Lieut Bowers”
Mr Griffith Taylor
“Mr Griffith Taylor”
C.S. Wright
“C.S. Wright”
Mr C. S. Wright
“Mr C. S. Wright”
Mr T Gran
“Mr T Gran”
Evans and Crean
“Evans and Crean”
Petty Officer Evans and Crean
“Petty Officer Evans and Crean”
Evans and Crean
“Evans and Crean”
Petty Officer Evans and Crean
“Petty Officer Evans and Crean”
Dr E.A. Wilson
“Dr E.A. Wilson”
Dr. E. A. Wilson
“Dr. E. A. Wilson”
Dr E.A. Wilson on return from Southern Journey
“Dr E.A. Wilson on return from Southern Journey”
Dr E.A. Wilson on return from Southern Journey
“Dr E.A. Wilson on return from Southern Journey”
Land’s End and adjoining glacier
“Land’s End and adjoining glacier”

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