Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, March 7, 1915: “We are struggling along at a mile an hour. . .”

–from Shackleton’s account “South”–

[quoting Mackintosh’s diary]

“‘We are struggling along at a mile an hour,’ wrote Mackintosh on the 5th. ‘It is a very hard pull, the surface being very sticky. Pinkey [the last remaining dog] still accompanies us. We hope we can get him in. He is getting all he wants to eat. So he ought.’

“The conditions of travel changed the next day. A southerly wind made possible the use of the sail, and the trouble was to prevent the sledge bounding ahead over rough sastrugi and capsizing. The handling of ropes and the sail caused many frost-bites, and occasionally the men were dragged along the surface by the sledge. The remaining dog collapsed during the afternoon and had to be left behind. Mackintosh did not feel that he could afford to reduce the pace. The sledge-meter had got out of order, so the distance covered in the day was not recorded. The wind increased during the night, and by the morning of the 7th was blowing with blizzard force. The party did not move again until the 8th.”

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