Roald Amundsen's diary from his South Pole Expedition
During his expedition to the South Pole in 1911, Roald Amundsen wrote a diary. Follow him from day to day 100 years later. You may also read an online version of Amundsen's orginial diary.
So we arrived, and were able to raise our flag at the geographical South Pole – King Håkon VII’s Vidda. Thanks be to God!
Fine weather all morning. Clouded over after we had taken the altitude, and snow showers arrived from the SE.
Our best day up here. It has been calm for most of the day – with burning sunshine. The going and terrain have been the same.
Lovely weather. Almost calm and partly clear. Ca. –25°. Same fine going and terrain.
Fine weather again. Light SSE’ly breeze and −28°. Sometimes quite clear. Sometimes a passing patch of mist. A lovely big ring round the sun.
−28°. Breeze from the south and crystal clear. It has been a little cool to go up wind, but nothing to make a fuss over.
Haved stayed put today, rested, and prepared for the final onslaught. We have put down a depot here to lighten the sledges. HH keeps his sledge unchanged, while the two others have been lightened.
One of our big days. It did not seem exactly favourable in the morning – thick and with no visibility as usual. But the wind had dropped during the night. What little remained, came from NE.
Same weather. Heavy snowfall. Sky and horizon melt into each other. Can see absolutely nothing at all.
Have travelled absolutely blind all day. In such conditions, HH has to drive ahead with his dog team. Hass. and I, who otherwise would take turns in going ahead, cannot do so in this kind of weather, since we would simply come a cropper on the sastrugi.
Have gone completely blind all day. Breeze from N. with thick drift, and greater, more constant snowfall than I have yet seen in these regions.
We have been lucky, as usual. The wind backed – after having blown at storm force from the SE – to N. and eased and cleared up. We lost no time in turning out and setting off. We first had to cross the Devil's ballroom. Shiny bare ice with snow-filled crevasses here and there.
Had really decided on a rest day. But when the wind eased during the a.m., we agreed to give it a try.
The 'vidda' over which we are now traveling resembles a frozen sea – a domed cupola if ice. Covered by quite small, covered crevasses. A few minor sastrugi here and there. Excellent conditions for a skater, but unfortunately unsuitable for our dogs and ourselves.
How often has it not happened to me, that a day that one had expected nothing at all of – brought a great deal. – Gale from SE during the night and in the morning more drift and almost no visibility. Admittedly I had decided on a rest day for the doggies. But – in a little lull – we all agreed nonetheless to set off and try.
The fog finally relented in the course of the night. Lovely, fine morning. Sparkling sunshine and clear. The huge new land lay there bathed in the rays of the morning sun – a wonderful fairy tale in blue and white.
Fog, fog and fog again, and in addition fine crystals that make the going impossible. Poor beasts, they have struggled hard to get the sledges forward today
Fairly violent gusts of wind from the N. quarter during the night. As usual we were on our way around 8 ‘oclock. But the weather was not of the best kind. Fog and snow. A little sun now and then.
There was a short clear interval in the small hours at 3 o’clock, and we went out to investigate the conditions. We were on a slope with a fairly steep gradient along our course.
Instead of improving, the Nor’Easter assumed the force of a storm in the course of the night. It eased somewhat in the morning, but nonetheless was a heavy gale with thick drift when we turned out at 8 o’clock.
Had to stay put today as well. Same gale from NE with heavy, thick drift.
The gale had veered NE’ly and eased by morning.
The gale has lasted all day.
We had violent gusts of wind during the night. Quite calm until the small hours. Gale from ESE true until midday with thick drift.
So we won through. We are on the polar plateau at 10,000 ft. altitude.
HH & Bj. had found an excellent route up the glacier. There were many crevasses and chasms, but we found good bridges everywhere.
Continued the climb. The first short sharp slopes led us to the uppermost pass between the closest coastal mountains. They are about 4,000 ft. high.
Started our climb this morning. It began ESE ¼E. The dogs have done work today that has surpassed my greatest expectations.
An eventful day. We soon reached the wave mentioned yesterday. It was very high – 300 ft. according to the barometer.
Fine weather all day. Light SE’ly breeze –24° and absolutely clear. It nonetheless feels quite sharp in our faces, and we cannot avoid little spots of frostbite here and there.
The same fog persisted this morning, but luckily it retreated in the face of a light SE’ly breeze. Once more we had the most glorious view.
Heard no noise in the ice during the night. No cracks in sight. Unfortunately the little light N’ly breeze managed to force the fog in.
Same glorious weather. Faint breeze from the NNE quarter.
Fine weather. Gentle breath of air from NW. Partly clear, partly overcast. The sky’s appearance changes very quickly. A few moments, and everything has altered.
Magnificent going today over huge, smooth surface. The dogs have actually galloped. A few small sastrugi, but flat for the most part.
In port today. Had a storm from the S. during the night. It blew well. Eased towards the small hours. Got a meridian sight.
Same fine weather. Yesterday we saw some wisps of cloud in the SW quarter, but thought little of it.
Same wonderful weather, terrain and skiing. We are running like greyhounds over the endless flat snow plain, only broken now and then by a long, gentle wave formation running E-W.
An absolutely wonderful day. Fine weather -19°. Clear with a light airs from SSE.
Better weather cannot be found. Absolutely calm. Burning sunshine and lovely warmth ca. –14°. The doggies are lying stretched out and enjoying themselves.
At 4 a.m. the sun came out for a moment and we were not slow in getting out of our sleeping bags.
The S’ly wind eased during the night. Towards morning, it backed N’ly and the weather closed in.
Stiff breeze with thick drift. The going has been extraordinarily heavy, and the dogs have struggled hard to move the sledges forward.
Light breeze from SSE – 34½°. To begin with, it seemed quite cold, but one gets used to anything.
Set off in thick fog. We had an eventful march.
A wonderful rest day at 81°. Calm and clear.
Gale during the night with thick drift. Eased during the morning. We turned out as usual at 6 o'clock and were ready to start around 8.
Brilliant weather. Light n'ly breeze. Cleared up –19°. Snow a little looser today.
SE gale with thick drift during the night, continuing all day. Have been forced to stay put.
Continued in the same glorious weather. Dead calm – Clear. Flat – fine without a single sastruga. Wonderful going.
N’ly breeze. Clear. Wonderful for travelling.
Spent the day at rest. Dogs bursting with health. Tomorrow we go on further south.
Pure mess during the night. N’ly wind and snow.
Overcast and thick when we started at 8 a.m. After a little while it cleared overhead but the whole horizon remained thick.
Thick fog. Stiff breeze from SE. Snowing and snowdrift. It was not a good day for travelling.
Gale during the night from E., eased somewhat during the forenoon. Set off at 10 a.m.
At long last we managed to get off.