December 29, 1911: Downhill now for Amundsen

–from his account “To the South Pole”–

“On December 29 we went downhill more and more, and it was indeed tough work being a ski-runner.  The drivers stood so jauntily by the side of their sledges, letting themselves be carried over the plain at a phenomenal pace.  The surface consisted of sastrugi, alternating with smooth stretches like ice.  Heaven help me, how we ski-runners had to struggle to keep up!

“It was all very well for Bjaaland; he had flown faster on even worse ground.  But for me and Hassel it was different.  I saw Hassel put out now an arm, now a leg, and make the most desperate efforts to keep on his feet.  Fortunately I could not see myself; if I had been able to, I am sure I should have been in fits of laughter.”

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