Tuesday, January 18, 2011

18 January, 1912

Decided we were 3.5 miles away from the Pole -- one mile beyond it and 3 to the right. More or less in this direction, Bowers saw a cairn or tent.

We have just arrived at this tent. It it we found a record of five Norwegians having been here:

Roald Amundsen
Olav Olavson Bjaaland
Hilmer Hanssen
Sverre H. Hassel
Oscar Wisting

16 December, 1911

Their tent is fine — a small compact affair supported by a single bamboo. They have called it "Polheim" meaning Pole Home. A note from Amundsen, which I keep, asks me to forward a letter to King Haakon.

Look: it has a flag with the name of their ship, "Fram" on it.

The following articles have been left in the tent: 3 half bags of reindeer containing a miscellaneous assortment of mitts and sleeping socks, very various in description, a sextant, a Norwegian artificial horizon and a hypsometer without boiling point thermometers, a sextant and hypsometer of English make.

I left a note to say I had visited the tent with companions. Bowers is photographing and Wilson is sketching.

We built out Pole camp and put up our poor slighted Union Jack, and photographed ourselves—mighty cold work all of it.

From left: Oates, Bowers(seated) , Me, Wilson (seated) , Evans. 

Less than a 1/2 mile south we saw stuck up an old underrunner of a sledge. This we commandeered as a yard for a floorcloth sail. I imagine it was intended to mark the exact spot of the Pole as near as the Norwegians could fix it. A note attached talked of the tent as being 2 miles from the Pole. Wilson keeps the note.

There is no doubt that  our predecessors have made thoroughly sure of their mark and fully carried out their programme. I think the Pole is about 9500 feet in height; this is remarkable, considering that in Latitude 88 degrees we were about 10,500 feet.

We carried the Union Jack about 3/4 of a mile north with us and left it on a piece of stick as near as we could fix it. I fancy the Norwegians arrived at the Pole on the 15th December, and left on the 17th, ahead of a date quoted by me in London as ideal, viz. Dec. 22. It looks as though the Norwegian party expected colder weather on the summit than they got; it could scarcely be otherwise from Shackleton;s account. Well, we have turned out back now on the goal of our ambition and must face 800 miles of solid dragging—and goodbye to most of the day-dreams!

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