January 17, 1912: Scott reaches the South Pole

–from his diary–

Wednesday, January 17.  Camp 69.  T. -22 at the start.  Night -21.  The Pole.  yes, but under very different circumstances from those expected.  We have had a horrible day–add to our disappointment a head wind 4 to 5, with a temperature -22, and companions labouring on with cold feet and hands.

“We started at 7.30, none of us having slept much after the shock of our discovery.  We followed the Norwegian sledge tracks for some way; as far as we make out there are only two men.  In about three miles we passed two small cairns.  Then the weather overcast, and the tracks being increasingly drifted up and obviously going too far to the west, we decided to make straight for the Pole according to our calculations.

“At 12.30 Evans had such cold hands we camped for lunch–an excellent ‘week-end one.’ . . .the wind is blowing hard, T. -21, and there is that curious damp, cold feeling in the air which chills one to the bone in not time.

“Great God! this is an awful place and terrible enought for us to have laboured to it without the reward of priority.  Well, it is something to have got here, and the wind may be our friend to-morrow.  We have had a fat Polar hoosh in spite of our chagrin, and feel comfortable inside–added a small stick of chocolate and the queer taste of a cigarette brought by Wilson.

“Now for the run home and a desperate struggle.  I wonder if we can do it.”

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