February 7, 1912: Scott’s Western Geological Party headed out of the mountains

[The Western Geological Party have been in the field since November 2 1911, mapping and surveying the mountains and valleys of the mainland across McMurdo Sound to the west of Cape Evans.  Now they are working their way down the coast, looking for the Terran Nova (returned from winter quarters in New Zealand) to pick them up as planned.]

–from Tryggve Gran’s diary, published as “The Norwegian with Scott”

“7 February.  Splendid weather all day.  We have been toiling up and down with good hard going on the northern slopes, but soft snow on the southern slopes and on the crests.  Our two scientists move with the greatest caution [because of crevasses].  Our last night was disturbed.   Forde was moaning from pain and is snow-blind.  Taylor couldn’t sleep because he was frozen.  This evening it’s Taylor’s turn to be snowblind, and I am beginning to wonder when something will happen to me.  Mind you, I had my share of problems the first half of the expedition.

“McMurdo Sound is now navigable along the coastline for a couple of kilometres from the shore.  If  Terra Nova is all right, they must surely pick us up in a day or two.  The ship should now be probing along the coastline; it is 11 whole days since we last saw her.”

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