Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, April 1915: Prisoners in the Discovery Hut

[Having returned from the Barrier, the field parties were now stranded at Hut Point until the sea ice should form, and allow a retreat to the larger, better equipped hut at Cape Evans]

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

“The position in the Discovery Hut is, there are only three sleeping bags. Watch and watch will have to be kept until the other sleeping-bags are brought from Pram Point. When in our possession later, we weighed them, and found them to be 25 to 30 pounds. The average weight of a sleeping-bag is 10 pounds, the extra weight being the accumulation of ice that is caused by the heat of the body. . . .

“It is remarkable how difficulties are overcome. What with the dirt, blubber, and grease, our frostbites give us a very unpleasant time, no sleep for days on account of the throbbing from the blisters. A part of Wild’s big toe had to be amputated, the top of an ear came off. A could of weeks elapsed before our faces straightened out again. Very painful to laugh, in spite of odds, and the good management of Cope, who was working under extreme difficulties, we were soon about again. No soap, no towel, no wash, no shave. The blubber stove throws out its reeking fumes when it is replenished.”

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