Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, June 26, 1915: “Mackintosh called a meeting for discussion of future plans. . .”

–from R. W. Richards’ account–

“On 26 June Mackintosh called a meeting for discussion of future plans; of course unofficial discussions of aspects of the outlook facing us had taken place on many occasions before then. All were agreed that the one object that must be attained, no matter what else was sacrificed, was to place food depots for the six men of Shackleton’s party at least as far south as the Beardmore Glacier and every 60 miles northward from there. At that time I think most of us were confident that he would cross the continent, and that his party would be utterly dependent on our food depots for their survival.

“We knew that there were some major difficulties to be overcome before these depots would be established. These may be listed under the following heads:

Sledging equipment. This was for the most part old and left behind by Scott’s [Terra Nova] party. . . .

Clothing: We had only the original issue of clothing which was made when we arrived in the Antarctic, and, owing to the hard usage to which it was subjected during the winter, it was not in the best condition to withstand a long sledging season. We found a certain amount of discarded underclothing at Cape Royds and Cape Evans, but footgear and windproof clothing were a problem. . . .

Food. This was adequately provided by stores left by Scott. . . . The only sledging food from our own ship [now helplessly captured in the sea ice and drifting away to the north] was a very small quantity of sledging rations specially designed for the expedition.

Manpower. There were nine men only available to do the necessary hauling.”

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