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The Winter Journey: Part VIII

A Great Relief

After five days in temperatures below -50°F (-45.6°C), the men of the Crozier party are having a devil of a time. They’re barely able to make two miles of forward progress per day, and two of the men are suffering from frostbitten hands and feet. Ice accumulation in their clothing from sweat and breath has made their clothing as hard as boards. However, on the morning of July 4th, 1911 the men woke to a change in the weather pattern:

Position: Camp 7

Time: 09:30

Temperature: -27°F (-32.8°C)

Wind Direction: NE

Wind Force (Beaufort): 4 (11-16 knots)

Wind Chill: -56.4°F (-49.1°C)

Sky Condition: Overcast w/ stratus

Weather: Snow

Overnight Minimum Temperature: -64.4°F (-53.6°C)

British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913, Meteorology, Vol. III Table 69

Quite the change from the last few days – and a rapid warm-up from the overnight minimum….almost 40°F! The change did not go unnoticed by the men either:

During the night of 3 July the temperature dropped to -65°F (-53.9°C), but in the morning we wakened (we really did wake that morning) to great relief. The temperature was only -27°F (-32.8°C) with the wind blowing some 15 miles an hour with steadily falling snow.

Apsley Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, pg. 239

Imagine that…the men felt a great relief when the temperature rose to ‘only’ -27°F (-32.8°C). To me, it speaks volumes of just how horrendous the conditions were leading up to July 4th. The combination of the darkness and the steadily falling snow prevented the men from sledging today, and they spent the day in their sleeping bags enjoying a well-deserved rest and basking in the relative warmth. The weather had not changed much by the time the men took their last weather observation of the day:

Position: Camp 7

Time: 21:30

Miles Made Good: 0

Temperature: -29.3°F (-34.1°C)

Wind Direction: ENE

Wind Force (Beaufort): 3 (7-10 knots)

Wind Chill: -53.8°F (-47.7°C)

Sky Condition: Overcast w/ stratus

Weather: Snow

British Antarctic Expedition 1910-1913, Meteorology, Vol. III Table 69
Progress of the Crozier party after 8 days – stuck at Camp 7 due to bad weather

Today’s post will be fairly short since the men of the Crozier party did not make any progress and largely spent the day snug in their tent. To all of my American readers, I wish you a happy Independence day! All the best to any readers abroad as well – cheers!

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