December 4-5, 1911: Amundsen at the summit

From “To the South Pole”:

“In Lat. 87 degrees S.–according to dead reckoning–we saw the last of the land to the north-east.  The atmosphere was then apparently as clear as could be, and we felt certain that our view covered all the land there was to be seen from that spot.  We were deceived again on this occasion, as will be seen later.  Our distance that day (December 4) was close upon twenty-five miles.  Height above the sea, 10,100 feet.

“The weather did not continue fine for long.  Next day (December 5) there was a gale from the north, and once more the whole plain was a mass of drifting snow, which blinded us and made things worse, but a feeling of security had come over us and helped us to advance rapidly and without hesitation, although we could see nothing.

“That day we encountered new surface conditions–big, hard snow-waves (sastrugi).  These were anything but pleasant to work among, especially when one could not see them. . . .Three or four paces was often the most we managed to do before falling down.  The sastrugi were very high, and often abrupt; if one came on them unexpectedly, one required to be fore than an acrobat to keep on one’s feet.”

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