Shackleton’s Ross Sea Party, January 26, 1916: “. . . and then we saw the Great Beardmore Glacier. . .”

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

“January 26th, Wednesday. Up at 5 o’clock. Then a talk during breakfast. Arriving at the conclusion to keep the tent pitched. The weather being clear and no clouds, we decided to investigate and search for a passage through. Skipper, Richy, and self roped together, I taking the lead. We came across very wide crevasses, and by appearances, no bottom. Navigating around these, had several drops, and many shudders in consequence, Skipper and Richy hauling me out. To the west, we came on to a high pressure mound.

“All around us was such a scene similar to that in a pantomime, but beyond realization in life. We seemed to be in the centre of a vortex of ice, churned into caves, all of blue appearance, dark and light. Then again we appeared to be standing on a mountain, the pressure 3 to 400 feet. . . .

“When almost at the ice-foot ascending the gap] Richy’s sharp eyes spotted something to the west, which we made for. I turned out to be one of Captain Scott’s depots—two sledges lashed on end, with about four feet showing. We then knew we were on the right trek. We climbed the small glacier between Mr. Hope and the mainland, and then we saw the Great Beardmore Glacier stretching away to the south. A glorious spectacle, a mighty silence, a fitting recompense amidst our trials.

“We trekked back to camp, finding a trail for the sledge. Eventually we arrived, where a good feed was awaiting us. We had travelled 12 miles and arrived at 3 o’clock, after 9 hours’ trek. Skipper very exhausted.”

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