Friday, December 17, 2010

17 December, 1911

Camp 39

Soon after starting we found ourselves in rather a mess; bad pressure ahead and long waves between us and the land. Blue ice showed on the crests of the waves; very soft snow lay in the hollows. We had to cross the waves in places 30 feet from crest to hollow, and we did it by sitting on the sledge and letting her go. Thus we went down with a rush and our impetus carried us some way up the other side; then followed by a fearfully tough drag to rise to the next crest. After two hours of this I saw a larger wave, the crest of which contained hard ice up the glacier; we reached this and got excellent traveling for 2 miles on it.


Height: about 3500 above the Barrier.

After lunch we decided to take the risk of sticking to the center of the glacier, with good result. If we keep up the pace, we gain on Shackleton, and I don't see any reason we shouldn't. For once one can say "Sufficient for the day is the good thereof." Our luck may be on the turn -- I think we deserve it. In spite of the hard work everyone is very fit and cheerful, feeling well fed and eager for more toil. Eyes are much better except poor Wilson's; he has caught a very bad attack. Remembering our trouble on our last Southern journey, I fear he is in for a very bad time.

We got fearfully hot this morning and marched in singlets, which became wringing wet; thus uncovered the sun gets at one's skin, and then the wind, which makes it horribly uncomfortable.

Our lips are very sore. We cover them with the soft silk plaster which seems about the best thing for the purpose.

I'm inclined to think that the summit trouble will be mostly due to the chill falling on sunburned skins. Even now one feels the cold strike directly one stops. We get fearfully thirsty and chip up ice on the march, as well as drinking a great deal of water on halting. Our fuel only just does it, but that is all we want, and we have a bit in hand for the summit.

The pulling this morning was fairly pleasant. We have worn our crampons all day and are delighted with them. P.O. Evans, the inventor of both crampons and ski shoes, is greatly pleased, and certainly we owe him much. The weather is beginning to look dirty again, snow clouds rolling in from the east as usual. I believe it will be overcast tomorrow.

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