Friday, December 10, 2010

9 December, 1911

Camp 31, Shambles Camp

We were up at 5:30 this morning, and at 8 got away with the ponies -- a most painful day. The tremendous snowfall of the late storm had made the surface intolerably soft, and after the first hour there was no glide. We pressed on the poor half-rationed animals, but could get none to lead for more than a few minutes. The man-haulers were pressed into service to help matters. P.O. Evans got the last pair of pony snowshoes on Snatcher. Finally the ponies followed him.

We went on all day without lunch. By 8PM we got to what Shackleton called The Gateway. I had hoped to get through it with the ponies still in hand at a very much earlier date, and but for the devastating, we should have been. It has been a most serious blow to us. Things are not yet desperate in only the storm has not hopelessly spoiled the surface. I think the manhaulers have stopped for tea or something, because under ordinary circumstances they would have passed us with ease.

At 8pm the ponies were quite done, one and all. They came on painfully slow, a few hundred yards at a time. They had to be lashed on. Snippets half fell down a crevasse and had to be pulled out. By this time I was hauling ahead, a ridiculously light load, and yet finding the pulling heavy enough.

We camped, and the ponies have been shot.

Poor beasts! It is hard to have to kill them so early. Thanked Titus.

The dogs are going well in spite of the surface, but here again one cannot get the help one would wish. I cannot load the animals heavily on such snow.

The scenery is most impressive; three huge pillars of granite form the right buttress of The Gateway, with a sharp spur of Mount Hope to the left. In spite of some doubt about our outlook, everyone is very cheerful tonight and jokes are flying freely about.

Cherry appears to be reading Dante's Inferno. Charming.

Blood everywhere.

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