New Year’s Eve. 20.17. Height about 9126. T. -10º. Camp 53. Corrected Aneroid. The second party depoted its ski and some other weights equivalent to about 100 lbs. I sent them off first; they marched, but not very fast. We followed and did not catch them before they camped by direction at 1.30. By this time we had covered exactly 7 miles (geo.), and we must have risen a good deal. We rose on a steep incline at the beginning of the march, and topped another at the end, showing a distance of about 5 miles between the wretched slopes which give us the hardest pulling, but as a matter of fact, we have been rising all day.
We had a good full brew of tea and then set to work stripping the sledges. That didn’t take long, but the process of building up the 10-feet sledges now in operation in the other tent is a long job. Evans (P.O.) and Crean are tackling it, and it is a very remarkable piece of work. Certainly P.O. Evans is the most invaluable asset to our party. To build a sledge under these conditions is a fact for special record. Evans (Lieut.) has just found the latitude – 86º 56′ S., so that we are pretty near the 87th parallel aimed at for to-night. We lose half a day, but I hope to make that up by going forward at much better speed.
This is to be called the ‘3 Degree Depot,’ and it holds a week’s provisions for both units.
There is extraordinarily little mirage up here and the refraction is very small. Except for the seamen we are all sitting in a double tent – the first time we have put up the inner lining to the tent; it seems to make us much snugger.
10 P.M. – The job of rebuilding is taking longer than I expected, but is now almost done. The 10-feet sledges look very handy. We had an extra drink of tea and are now turned into our bags in the double tent (five of us) as warm as toast, and just enough light to write or work with. Did not get to bed till 2 A.M.
Obs.: 86º 55′ 47” S.; 165º 5′ 48” E.; Var. 175º 40’E. Morning Bar. 20.08.