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Scott's Last Expedition

Thursday, December 21st 1911

Camp 43. Lat. 85º 7′. Long. 163º 4′. Height about 8000 feet. Upon Glacier Depot. Temp. -2º. We climbed the ice slope this morning and found a very bad surface on top, as far as crevasses were concerned. We all had falls into them, Atkinson and Teddy Evans going down the length of their harness. Evans had rather a shake up. The rotten ice surface continued for a long way, though I crossed to and fro towards the land, trying to get on better ground.

At 12 the wind came from the north, bringing the inevitable [mist] up the valley and covering us just as we were in the worst of places. We camped for lunch, and were obliged to wait two and a half hours for a clearance. Then the sun began to struggle through and we were off. We soon got out of the worst crevasses and on to a long snow slope leading on part of Mount Darwin. It was a very long stiff pull up, and I held on till 7.30, when, the other team being some way astern, I camped. We have done a good march, risen to a satisfactory altitude, and reached a good place for our depot. To-morrow we start with our fullest summit load, and the first march should show us the possibilities of our achievement. The temperature has dropped below zero, but to-night it is so calm and bright that one feels delightfully warm and comfortable in the tent. Such weather helps greatly in all the sorting arrangements, &c., which are going on to-night. For me it is an immense relief to have the indefatigable little Bowers to see to all detail arrangements of this sort.

We have risen a great height to-day and I hope it will not be necessary to go down again, but it looks as though we must dip a bit even to go to the south-west.

‘December 21, 1911. Lat. 85º S. We are struggling on, considering all things, against odds. The weather is a constant anxiety, otherwise arrangements are working exactly as planned.

‘For your own ear also, I am exceedingly fit and can go with the best of them.

‘It is a pity the luck doesn’t come our way, because every detail of equipment is right.

‘I write this sitting in our tent waiting for the fog to clear – an exasperating position as we are in the worst crevassed region. Teddy Evans and Atkinson were down to the length of their harness this morning, and we have all been half-way down. As first man I get first chance, and it’s decidedly exciting not knowing which step will give way. Still all this is interesting enough if one could only go on.

‘Since writing the above I made a dash for it, got out of the valley out of the fog and away from crevasses. So here we are practically on the summit and up to date in the provision line. We ought to get through.’

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