December 17, 1911: Working up the Beardmore Glacier

From Cherry-Garrard’s Diary:

“Sunday, 17 December.  Nearly 11 miles.  Temp. 12.5 degrees.  3500 feet.

“We have had an exciting day–this morning was just like the scenic railway at Earls Court.  We got straight on to the big pressrue waves, and headed for the humpy rock at the base of the cloudmaker.  It was a hard plug up the waves, very often standing pulls, and all that we could do for a course was a very varied direction.  Going down the other side was the exciting part: all we could do was to set the sledge straight, hang on to the straps, give her a little push and rush down the slope, which was sometimes so sheer that the sledge was in the air.

“Sometimes there was no chance to brake the sledge, and we all had to get on to the top, and we rushed down with the wind whistling in our ears.  After three hours of this it levelled out again a bit, and we took the top of a wave, and ran south along it on blue ice:  enormous pressure to our right, largely I think caused by the Keltie Glacier.  Then we ascended a rise, snowy and crevassed, and camped after doing just under five miles, with big pressure ahead.”

From Birdie Bowers sledging diary for the same day”

“. . .the remainder of the march was a pleasure instead of a desperate struggle.  It finished up on fields of blue rippled ice with sharp knife edges, and snow patches few and far between.  We are all [12 men in three tents of 4 each] camped on a small snow patch in the middle of a pale blue rippled sea, about 36oo feet above sea level and past the Cloudmaker, which means that we are half-way up the glacier.”



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