Getting back with the dogs. The dogs with Meares and Geroff and now heading back. Scott had taken the dogs on much further than expected and this meant they had used up more of their supplies. The impact of going further with the dogs was more than just the using up of the supplies meant for the dogs and teams. The rest of the party needed to hand over a biscuit a day to Meares and Gerof reducing the main parties supplies. Further south meant further to return and a later arrival back at the base camp and less opportunity for the dog teams to replenished any used stores from the returning depots. Meares and Gerof had a difficult run back and it is said that from that moment Meares held a lifelong grudge against Scott. When back at base camp the question on what to do with the dogs and how to replenish depots as well as how best to help the returning party became a subject of great confusion and debate.
Scotts Journal December 12th 1911. The manhauling is hard work with Scott’s team having the worst time of it. They notice that their sledge has a build up of ice on the runners and this makes for heavy going. Once resolved Scott starts to catch up the other teams and resumes his leading place and as he declares ‘an obvious ability to keep it’. Later in the day Scott notes the other teams are ‘flagging’ and so camps, they have made about 9 miles. The whole of the lower valley is full of snow from the storm and this is making the going tough. The use of Ski is very important and Scott believes that progress on foot would be impossible with men sinking upto their knees. ‘A crust is forming over the snow and in a week or so it will be strong enough to support sledge and men’, at the moment the men sink and the sledge ploughs through and gets bogged down, ‘needless to say the hauling is terrible when this happens’. The party are seeing mountains and peaks not recorded by Shackleton. They are now about 6 days behind Shackleton’s timetable and the sledges are as heavy laden as they could be. The sledges are also top heavy and topple over on occasion. Evan’s party did better today but the temperature is high and everyone is ‘literally soaked through with perspiration’.
Commentary. The march to the pole is in three stages, across the ice barrier, up the glacier and across the plateau. The Beardmore Glacier ascends up 10,000 feet over 12o miles and the men were now manhaluling upwards. Today Evan’s seems to have done better in Scott’s eyes. In Evan’s book he records a conversation with Scott in which he highlighted that he had been manhauling for 5 weeks before Scott and the main party took up the challenge and so he could not be expected to deliver as fresh men could.