December 4, 1912: An ascent of Mount Erebus

–from Frank Debenham’s account The Quiet Land

[Debenham, along with others at Cape Evans, had undertaken the second-ever ascent of Mt. Erebus, the smoking volcano that overlooks Ross Island and the northern Barrier]

“4.12.12.  Lunch Camp about 2000 ft up.  Got up at 6.30 this morning and wasted no time in getting out.  Surface very good at first and pulling easy, but at 1200 ft we ran into a belt of stratus cloud which effectually hid all objects of interest.  On raching 2000 ft we came through the cloud into bright sunshine, and we are now able to see the tips of the Western Mts over it.

“4.12.12.  Night Camp about 4200 ft up.  Very stiff pull from lunchtime but we stopped early as the stratus below us blocks out all landmarks and I can’t carry on surveying.  Shortly after lunch we sighted Mts. Nansen and Melbourne and now we can see Cape Jones [about 300 miles distant].  Glorious view of stratus billows filling the Sound and Western Mt. tops showing beyond.”

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