Tuesday 21 November [Actually November 20]
So we won through. We are on the polar plateau at 10,000 ft. altitude.
It has been a hard day’s work – for the dogs most of all. But they have also – 24 of our brave companions – had the bitter wage – death. On arrival at 8 o’clock this evening, these were shot and the entrails taken out. We will skin them tomorrow. We have 18 – the best – left. We have divided these into three teams, six in each.
It was a sheer marvel of work that the dogs accomplished today. Seventeen nautical miles and 5000 ft. climb. Come and say that dogs cannot be used here. In four days we have reached the plateau from the coast – 44 nautical miles – 10,600 ft. It was a wonderful piece of work.
We found a pass – the only approach to the plateau here – between A and B ranges together with Olavsfjell. It was a splendid climb. Quite a smooth snow wall, which almost without interruption ran right down and gently merged with Folgefonni. The plateau seems quite flat, but intersected with rock-hard, knife-edged sastrugi SE-NW.
The mountains through which we have travelled, run as a long, ridged scar in the plateau. We are lying on a ridge in D range. This ridge has received the name of the Butcher’s shop. We will stay here for two days to feed up the doggies. Many of them have already tucked into the entrails of their comrades.
Many of the mountains running NW have come into view up here. The Great Bee Mountain is the SE’most of the chain that we have yet seen.
It is quite clear. A light, bitter breeze from SE –26.5°.
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.