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Scott's Last Expedition

Friday, December 15th 1911

Camp 37. (Height about 2500. Lat. about 84º 8′.) Got away at 8; marched till 1; the surface improving and snow covering thinner over the blue ice, but the sky overcast and glooming, the clouds ever coming lower, and Evans’ is now decidedly the slowest unit, though Bowers’ is not much faster. We keep up and overhaul either without difficulty. It was an enormous relief yesterday to get steady going without involuntary stops, but yesterday and this morning, once the sledge was stopped, it was very difficult to start again – the runners got temporarily stuck. This afternoon for the first time we could start by giving one good heave together, and so for the first time we are able to stop to readjust footgear or do any other desirable task. This is a second relief for which we are most grateful.
At the lunch camp the snow covering was less than a foot, and at this it is a bare nine inches; patches of ice and hard nÈvÈ are showing through in places. I meant to camp at 6.30, but before 5.0 the sky came down on us with falling snow. We could see nothing, and the pulling grew very heavy. At 5.45 there seemed nothing to do but camp – another interrupted march. Our luck is really very bad. We should have done a good march to-day, as it is we have covered about 11 miles (stat.).

Since supper there are signs of clearing again, but I don’t like the look of things; this weather has been working up from the S.E. with all the symptoms of our pony-wrecking storm. Pray heaven we are not going to have this wretched snow in the worst part of the glacier to come. The lower part of this glacier is not very interesting, except from an ice point of view. Except Mount Kyffen, little bare rock is visible, and its structure at this distance is impossible to determine. There are no moraines on the surface of the glacier either. The tributary glaciers are very fine and have cut very deep courses, though they do not enter at grade. The walls of this valley are extraordinarily steep; we count them at least 60º in places. The ice-falls descending over the northern sides are almost continuous one with another, but the southern steep faces are nearly bare; evidently the sun gets a good hold on them. There must be a good deal of melting and rock weathering, the talus heaps are considerable under the southern rock faces. Higher up the valley there is much more bare rock and stratification, which promises to be very interesting, but oh! for fine weather; surely we have had enough of this oppressive gloom.

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