Tuesday 28 Nov. [Actually November 27]
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.
At 86°3' S. Lat. we had – in a little break in the fog – a glimpse of a mountain summit NW by W by compass (ESE true). We could not see it for long – nor much of it either. But it revealed not a little black/yellow colours. Presumably this summit is the S’most of our mountain ranges, Presumably it might be ca. 10 miles away. We passed right under a ridge. As usual it ran S. (true).
The terrain has run up and down in huge waves as before. The going has been extremely variable. Good and utterly bad. For the most part the surface has been as smooth as a floor – except for a few quite small sastrugi. The place where we are lying this evening consists of huge, old rock-hard sastrugi, presumably formed during the winter – but filled in between by loose snow – fallen in quite calm weather and presumably quite recently. This new snow has filled in the terrain between sastrugi so that everything seems quite flat. These hard sastrugi and loose snow make travelling here heavy and sluggish.
– At 86°9' there was a little break in the fog and not far away – ca. 4 nautical miles – we caught sight of two long, fairly high snow-clad ridges – presumably 10,000 above sea level. We took the necessary bearings, and soon after they had disappeared. They lay to the west of us, and the range ran N-S (true). I have the impression that these snow mountains are completely independent of our other mountain ranges. We could not trace any connection, and its direction (N-S) also seems to indicate this. These mountains will be splendid landmarks for us on the return journey. We have not yet met any obstacles in our course – but who knows?
We have fallen 1,000 ft. quite gently today, and are now lying at 8,200 ft asl. This is rather peculiar, I feel, but we must be prepared for one thing or another among these high mountain ranges. We have done 16 nautical miles today, and are now at 86°17' S.Lat.
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.