Monday 20 Nov. [Actually November 19]
HH & Bj. had found an excellent route up the glacier. There were many crevasses and chasms, but we found good bridges everywhere.
The glacier – Folgefonni – was fairly steep in a number of places, and relaying with double teams had to be resorted to.
We got a good photo of one of these ‘claw drives’. (no. 9 Film 3).
We don’t hear a sound from the glacier. It is certainly quite still. On the other hand, there have been heavy stone falls from Olavshøi the whole afternoon – a veritable cannonade.
We have our camp on a shattered ledge on the opposite side. We came here at 2 p.m. and halted in order to find a way out of the terribly chaotic crevasses that surround us. Enormous blocks of ice, mighty abysses and huge crevasses blocked the way everywhere. It seemed really rather difficult to find any route ahead, but after a trip of five hours, HH Bj. and myself were able to find a reasonably acceptable pass at the head of the glacier. This pass went between Olavshøi and a lesser mountain at the head. We now have our camp site at about 6,000 ft. above sea level. The pass just discovered presumably lies at 8,000ft.
Through the pass we could just about glimpse the summit of a mountain – with the same ridge-like appearance of Håkonshallen – sticking up out of the snow. Conditions seemed quite decent. Not a crevasse or unevenness to be seen. Presumably it is the plateau, and we will be up there tomorrow evening. ‘Fain would I know, what I once may see over the mountains high’ someone burst out here the other day. ‘Oh well’, someone else answered, ‘Only snow will meet the eye.’ It came out drily, and caused roars of mirth.
The temperature has fallen to –20° this evening. But so far the heat between the mountains the last few days has been sheer discomfort. Calm, absolutely calm, crystal clear and boiling hot all day. Our dogs are in splendid working condition but hungry as wolves. They gnaw and chew everywhere.
Olavshøi seems to be the only 8,000 ft. to consist of granite. From 8–15,000 feet the mountains consist of horizontal strata and seem quite crumbling. All the bare summits give the same crumbled impression.
This transcript comes from “Race for the South Pole - The Expedition Diaries of Scott and Amundsen” by Roland Huntford. It appears by courtesy of the author and The Continuum International Publishing Group Ltd.