The Wind Was Coming Upon Again ...

Scott ended his journal entry on 4 February 1911 with the ominous report: "8 p.m. It is blowing a blizzard - wind moderate - temperature mild." (Journals, p. 120, Carroll & Graf [1996]). The opening lines of his entries from 5 - 7 February tell the rest of the tale:

  • "The blizzard descended on us at 4 p.m. yesterday; for twenty-four hours it continued . . ."
  • "The wind increased in the night. It has been blowing hard all day. . ."
  • "The wind kept on through the night . . ."

Cherry-Garrard summed it up best: "This blizzard lasted three days." He explained

. . . outside there is raging chaos. It is blowing a full gale:
the air is full of falling snow, and the wind drives this along and adds to it
the loose snow which is lying on the surface of the Barrier. Fight your
way a few steps away from the tent, and it will be gone. Lose your sense
of direction and there is nothing to guide you back. Expose your face and
hands to the wind, and they will soon be frostbitten. (Apsley
Cherry-Garrard, The Worst Journey in the World, p. 116, Carroll &
Graf [1989]).

By late evening on 7 February 1911 the storm had abated enough to permit the company to undertake a night's sledging. But Scott surely knew that, as hard as the blizzard had been on the company's men, it had been infinitely worse for the ponies.