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Scott's Last Expedition

Monday, April 17th 1911

Started from C. Evans with two 10 ft. sledges.

Party 1. Self, Lashly, Day, Demetri.
,, 2. Bowers, Nelson, Crean, Hooper.

We left at 8 A.M., taking our personal equipment, a week’s provision of sledging food, and butter, oatmeal, flour, lard, chocolate, &c., for the hut.

Two of the ponies hauled the sledges to within a mile of the Glacier Tongue; the wind, which had been north, here suddenly shifted to S.E., very biting. (The wind remained north at C. Evans during the afternoon, the ponies walked back into it.) Sky overcast, very bad light. Found the place to get on the glacier, but then lost the track-crossed more or less direct, getting amongst many cracks. Came down in bay near the open water – stumbled over the edge to an easy drift. More than once on these trips I as leader have suddenly disappeared from the sight of the others, affording some consternation till they got close enough to see what has happened. The pull over sea ice was very heavy and in face of strong wind and drift. Every member of the party was frostbitten about the face, several with very cold feet. Pushed on after repairs. Found drift streaming off the ice cliff, a new cornice formed and our rope buried at both ends. The party getting cold, I decided to camp, have tea, and shift foot gear. Whilst tea was preparing, Bowers and I went south, then north, along the cliffs to find a place to ascend – nearly everywhere ascent seemed impossible in the vicinity of Hulton Rocks or north, but eventually we found an overhanging cornice close to our rope.

After lunch we unloaded a sledge, which, held high on end by four men, just reached the edge of the cornice. Clambering up over backs and up sledge I used an ice-axe to cut steps over the cornice and thus managed to get on top, then cut steps and surmounted the edge of the cornice. Helped Bowers up with the rope; others followed – then the gear was hauled up piecemeal. For Crean, the last man up, we lowered the sledge over the cornice and used a bowline in the other end of the rope on top of it. He came up grinning with delight, and we all thought the ascent rather a cunning piece of work. It was fearfully cold work, but everyone working with rare intelligence, we eventually got everything up and repacked the sledge; glad to get in harness again. Then a heavy pull up a steep slope in wretched light, making detour to left to avoid crevasses. We reached the top and plodded on past the craters as nearly as possible as on the outward route. The party was pretty exhausted and very wet with perspiration. Approaching Castle Rock the weather and light improved. Camped on Barrier Slope north of Castle Rock about 9 P.M. Night cold but calm, -38º during night; slept pretty well.

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