Shackleton Ice Shelf and Queen Mary Land

Map showing the location of the Shackleton Ice Shelf
Map showing the location of the Shackleton Ice Shelf. Map by Peter Boyer, South Wind.
Landing the West Base Party

In their own words

Wild, Harrison and Hoadley went to examine the shelf-ice with a view to its suitability for a wintering station. The cliff was eighty to one hundred feet in height, so that the ice in total thickness must have attained at least as much as six hundred feet. Assisted by snow-ramps slanting down on to the floe, the ascent with ice-axes and alpine rope was fairly easy.

Two hundred yards from the brink, the shelf-ice was thrown into pressure-undulations and fissured by crevasses, but beyond that was apparently sound and unbroken. About seventeen miles to the south the rising slopes of ice-mantled land were visible, fading away to the far east and west.

The ice-shelf was proved later on to extend for two hundred miles from east to west, ostensibly fusing with the Termination Ice-Tongue, whose extremity is one hundred and eighty miles to the north. The whole has been called the Shackleton Ice-Shelf.

Wild and his party unanimously agreed to seize upon this last opportunity, and to winter on the floating ice.

– J K Davis in The Home of the Blizzard

Generally speaking, if Adélie Land is the worst climate in the world, that in the vicinity of Davis Sea is the second worst. It is true that blizzards were neither so continuous nor so severe; on the other hand, the more frequent spells of fine weather tempted the party to sledge both in the late autumn and early spring. On all these occasions severe blizzards at very low temperatures, when they eventually did come, gave the sledgers some very unenviable experiences.

– Charles Laseron, in South with Mawson

The regular blizzard immured us on May 22, 23 and 24; the wind at times of terrific force, approaching one hundred miles per hour. It was impossible to secure meteorological observations or to feed the dogs until noon on the 24th. Moyes and I went out during a slight cessation and, with the aid of a rope from the trap-door, managed to find the dogs, and gave them some biscuits. The drift was then so thick that six feet was as far as one could see.

– Frank Wild in The Home of the Blizzard

This page was last modified on July 3, 2014.