Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, January 24th-March 25th: “The distance travelled was about 280 miles.”

–from Ernest Joyce’s account “The South Polar Trail”–

“During the period from the time of leaving the ‘Aurora.’ January 24th to March 25th, was one of hardships. The Skipper [Mackintosh] and party joined up with my party at the Bluff; having taken 17 days to cover a distance of 80 miles; he had lost three dogs on the journey. The parties were then reorganized. The Padre, Gaze, Jack, returning north with five dogs, and Mackintosh, [Ernest] Wild and myself, with nine dogs, trekking south to lay the depot at 80 degrees south, according to the plan made out by Shackleton.

“From February 24th to March 25th is a tale of terrible hardships through frostbites, blizzards, food shortage and low temperatures. The collapse of the dogs through working them too quickly after being cooped up in the ‘Aurora,’ and in conjunction with the constant lay-ups in blizzards and low temperatures, the strain was too much for them. One could not expect otherwise.

“The other parties under Cope, owing to the breakdown of the motor sledge, did not advance very far. The motor-sledge was a useless toy; and was abandoned at Hut Point after covering about four miles.

“The southern party was out on the Barrier for 60 days, 13 days out of that blizzarding. The temperature was very low, at times below -60-92 degrees of frost. The distance travelled was about 280 miles.”

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