State Library of Victoria > La Trobe Journal

No 82 Spring 2008

27

Andrew McConville
'In the midst of eternal snows in a waste and barren land':
the Keith Jack Diaries and the Ross Sea Party, Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914–1917

Thus Wrote Keith Jack on Christmas Day 1915 from the Great Ross Ice Barrier1 in Antarctica. He and his fellow expeditioners went on to toast 'absent friends' with a 1/3 of a mug of lemon juice.

I

The early exploration of the Antarctic was dominated by ambitious, idiosyncratic men. Robert Scott, Roald Amundsen, Ernest Shackleton and Douglas Mawson led epic, dramatic journeys imbued with tragedy and heroism as extreme as any fiction. Expeditions from many countries ventured eagerly to the edge of the known world and beyond. For years they would be gone, returning with impossible tales of privation, endurance and adventure. Some men died, but it was more extraordinary how so many survived. Most swore they would never go south again but many could not shake the thrall of the Antarctic and returned to the hardship, the danger and the uncompromising beauty.
At once these expeditions are both remote and almost contemporary. They are of an age of masted wooden ships sailing to vast unknown coasts on uncharted seas. Explorers trekked across seemingly endless expanses of ice, drawing lines on blank maps as they progressed. As distant and different as this seems, many men involved were still alive until relatively recently. The last survivor of the first expedition to overwinter on the Antarctic continent was still alive in 19752 while Ballarat man Dick Richards, the final survivor of the last great expedition of this Heroic era3, Shackleton's Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1917), died aged 92 in 1985. Richards, with Keith Jack and eight others of the Ross Sea Party, endured unimaginable conditions laying store depots for Shackleton's planned crossing of the continent. They were stranded in the Antarctic for over two years, three died.
Keith Jack diarised his experience of the expedition.4 His writing presents a wonderful insight into a group of men coping in an extreme situation and indicates the strength of character needed to endure such an ordeal. Keith Jack was a chemist holding a masters degree when he joined the expedition5. His role was not clearly defined6 but he assisted chief scientist Alexander Stevens with the expedition's scientific program7. His dedication to this program and the associated routine duties of measuring and recording gave him a clear focus beyond the Party's dire situation. He rarely has anything harsh to say about his comrades. Only occasionally does he discuss his personal feelings. Often the experience is a
28

[Keith Jack] At Wellington N.Z.
Glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.
[Andrew] Keith Jack, compiler. H82.45/63. La Trobe Picture Collection.

catalogue of seal meat, blubber fires, raging blizzards and tedium. The power of the diaries can be in what is not said. When he does let his emotions slip it is all the more surprising and affecting because of his general restraint.

II

The Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1914–1917) was commanded by Ernest Shackleton and is more commonly known by the name of one of the expedition ships—the Endurance. Shackleton aimed to land at Vahsel Bay in the Weddell Sea. From his base there he would lead the first expedition to traverse the Antarctic, through the South Pole to the
29

The six diaries kept by Keith Jack during the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition of 1914–1917.
Four were compiled while he and his companions were stranded on Ross Island.

Ross Sea. Beyond the Pole, his team's survival would be reliant on store depots laid by the Ross Sea Party. But Shackleton's Antarctic crossing didn't ever commence, instead his expedition became one of the century's greatest adventure and survival stories.8
Shackleton's ship, Endurance, became beset by pack ice in January 1915 and was finally abandoned in October 1915. The men had retrieved three whale boats from the wrecked ship and remained camped on the drifting ice until April 1916. As the ice broke up they took to the open whale boats. After a treacherous journey they were finally able to land at the inhospitable Elephant Island, at the northern end of the Antarctic Peninsula.
To raise help Shackleton and five others then made an epic open boat journey from Elephant Island to South Georgia, some 1300 kilometres. Shackleton, ship's captain Frank Worsley and Antarctic veteran Tom Crean then walked across the mountainous island to the Norwegian whaling station at Stromness. On 30 August 1916 the Chilean ship Yelcho, with Shackleton on board, rescued the remaining men on Elephant Island.
This is the famous story of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. Far less well known was the fate of the party dispatched to Ross Island to lay stores for Shackleton's trans Antarctic journey. This is the story told in Keith Jack's diaries.
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III

The Ross Sea Party left Sydney on 15 December 1914 on board Mawson's former ship Aurora. Under the command of John Stenhouse, the ship sailed to Hobart to load stores, dogs and several expeditioners. On 24 December 1914 Aurora sailed for the Antarctic and entered the Ross Sea in January 1915. They commenced depot laying almost immediately. The ten man stores party was to overwinter in the hut built by Scott for his British Antarctic Expedition (1910–1913) at Cape Evans on Ross Island. The ship's crew would remain on Aurora. The ship lay about 40 metres off shore and was secured from the stern by a variety of cables attached to two anchors buried in rubble on shore. From the bow two further anchors had been lowered into the sea. The intention was to ice Aurora in over the winter.
There was a severe gale on 6 May 1915. Early next morning the men at Cape Evans emerged from the hut to find their ship Aurora, with the crew onboard, had disappeared. The ferocity of the storm had snapped the cables securing the ship, which had been dragged away with the ice. The stores party was stranded with limited supplies and much depot laying work to be completed the following summer.
Aurora, trapped in the ice pack and in constant danger of being crushed, was carried northwards with the ice for ten months. Finally she emerged into open water on 14 March 1916 and struggled to New Zealand, arriving on 3 April 1916.
On 1 October 1915 the men stranded on Ross Island commenced sledging journeys to lay stores as far south as the Beardmore Glacier. The glacier was discovered by Shackleton in 1908 during his attempt on the Pole. He described it as the 'Highway to the South'9as it provided a traversable route through the Trans-Antarctic Mountains. The Glacier is about 650 kilometres from Ross Island and a similar distance from the South Pole.
Initially Irvine Gaze remained behind with frost bitten heels. In late October he crossed the ice to Hut Point. Chief scientist Alexander Stevens returned to the Cape Evans hut to be the sole resident while the sledging teams continued depot laying work. In early January 1916 Gaze, Keith Jack, and John Cope were sent back at 80° south, when their primus stove failed.
The remaining six men trudged on to the Beardmore Glacier. Their return was desperate. They had been without fresh meat for some time and Rev. Arnold Spencer-Smith, a Church of Scotland priest, expedition leader Aeneas Mackintosh and Victor Hayward succumbed to scurvy.
Heroic efforts by their comrades saved the latter two, but Rev. Spencer-Smith died just two days from the temporary safety of Hut Point. The hut, at the southern end of Ross Island, had been built for Scott's British National Antarctic Expedition (1901–1904). It was icebound and in poor repair but it offered rudimentary shelter and, most importantly, access to seal meat, which negated the devastating effects of scurvy.
Once at Hut Point Mackintosh and Hayward recovered quickly. However they were
31

The Hut, C. Evans [Cape Evans] Ross Island
Glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.

impatient to return to the relative comfort of the hut at Cape Evans, about 25 kilometres away, across the sea ice. Against the pleas of their comrades Mackintosh and Hayward set off to cross the ice on 8 May 1916. They were never seen again. A storm blew up soon after they left. Caught in bad weather with no equipment they may have died of exposure, fallen through the sea ice and drowned, or been carried out to sea on ice that broke from the shore.
The three men remaining at Hut Point, Ernest Joyce, Ernest Wild and Dick Richards, waited until 15 July 1916, when they judged the sea ice to be safe, before crossing to reunite with the four at Cape Evans.
These seven surviving men endured a grim time before being finally rescued in January 1917.10 Seal meat and blubber were indispensable for food and fuel and during the bleak darkness of winter finding seals was a constant battle. The depot laying journeys and the death of their three comrades had extracted a physical and emotional toll. The men were worried that the crew of Aurora may have perished, and had no idea whether the First World War, that had commenced just prior to their departure, was over or still continuing, and at what cost. Dick Richards suffered a health break down in August 1916 and 'remained more or less useless for the rest of our stay'.11 John Cope stayed in bed most of the time. By
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October 1916 Ernest Joyce, Ernest Wild and Irvine Gaze spent considerable time at Shackleton's old hut at Cape Royds, ten kilometres further north. Alexander Stevens also spent some time at Cape Royds. He complained of smoke in the Cape Evans hut and in December retired to a tent he pitched nearby.

IV

Keith Jack began recording his experiences of the expedition on 15 December 1914 when Aurora set sail from Sydney. His first diary was actually loose sheets that appear to have been torn from a school exercise book. However when Aurora reached the Antarctic he was issued with an official diary—a fine leather book with a clasp, the title Imperial Trans Antarctic Expedition embossed on the cover. His first entry in this diary was Sunday, 24 January 1915, the date they commenced the first depot laying journey.
By June 1915 Keith Jack had filled the diary. In his final entry on Sunday 27 June 1915 he wrote: Scarcely worthwhile recording our daily routine work any further. So will only note special events
Using three rather unprepossessing notebooks, he recommenced writing on 1 October 1915, when the party set off for the second season of depot laying journeys. His entries are nearly continuous after that.
Initially writing on the recto pages, Jack reversed each diary and continued entries on the verso pages. Even after two years in the Antarctic his handwriting is neat and orderly. A final volume includes only a handful of entries for February 1917 after their rescue. The last entry is 12 February 1917, recording a civic reception in Wellington. Keith Jack later completed an abridged typescript of the diaries.
His diaries are notable as a personal account of the Ross Sea Party. He records his reaction to major events but also writes of the day to day routine, and the anxiety of their continued isolation. Keith Jack was a scientist and his diary is characterised by a scientist's attention to detail and to reason over emotion. Yet many entries reveal an underlying warmth and concern in their understatement.
In the first year Jack and several expeditioners were stranded at Hut Point for several months waiting for the sea ice to firm. They crossed the ice to Cape Evans in early June 1915, to be told that the Aurora had been carried away in a fierce gale a month earlier.
Wednesday 2nd June 1915
We were pretty upset to learn that the ship had gone out—broken away from her mooring—in a blizzard on the 6th May.
He continues in his diary to surmise the possible fate of Aurora. Finally he states:
All trust very sincerely that she has come to no great harm, but the position is obviously a serious one.
It was indeed serious. The party were stranded with limited supplies, a summer of brutal
33

[Ernest] Joyce and self [Keith Jack] on [Ross Ice] Barrier
Glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.

sledging and store laying was ahead, and they feared that their ship had been lost with all hands. It was in fact a desperate situation, but the party battled on without succumbing to despair.
The following year Jack and three others were at Cape Evans, the remaining expeditioners were stranded at Hut Point. The pressure of their situation became an ever greater strain and Jack began to suffer from insomnia.
Thursday 29th June 1916
Forced to remain in bed all day till 5:00pm owing to sleeplessness last night. All sorts [of ] disturbing thoughts re war, people at home, Hut Pt. party etc. keep coming to one during night and can't discard them from my mind. And it's such a loss of time too, having to be in bed in an attempt to get some rest. However will just have to grin and bear it.
In the first season they lost most of their dogs through poor handling. In the second season four remaining dogs accompanied the six expeditioners who made the brutal trek all the way to the Beardmore Glacier. The dogs were crucial to the party's survival.
Later, at Cape Evans, the men were saddened when one of the four dogs died after being injured in a fight. Jack's understated style hints at the deep sense of loss felt for this canine colleague.
Thursday 27th July 1916
The noble dog was one of Amundsen's and was one of the four which so greatly helped us right through the last arduous sledging season. Con had a character all his own, an
34

Camp on Great Ross Ice Barrier
Hand-coloured glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.

aristocratic looking dog in appearance, white almost in colour like Samoyeds. Of slight build he was strong and wiry and a great favourite with all and always ready for work. All were sorry to hear of his death.
The store laying journeys were a litany of blizzards, scurvy and crevasses. Occasionally, though, Jack could be reminded of an Australian summer.
Sunday 5th December 1915
Has been so hot today that I have been traveling in boots, underpants, socks and singlet—not another stitch on—not even a hat.
Castaway life was harsh, but the men were resourceful in finding activities to take their minds from the bleakness of their situation.
Saturday 8th May 1915
Wild made a draught board today, so we enjoyed a game tonight using lumps of sugar and pieces of biscuits as men.
Tuesday 21st March 1916
After dinner tonight we had quite an animated discussion on 'Labour Party and its Tactics'. Irvine opposing and we three others supporting labourism. Discussion continued till 11:30pm. It is my watch tonight.
35

"Aurora" in McMurdo Sound waiting for break-up of the ice
Hand-coloured glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.

36
Thursday 13th April 1916
Finished Du Baty's "15,000 miles in a ketch" last night. In some ways we are in a somewhat similar state as they were but ours is a far worse plight. After dinner I enjoyed gramophone recital deriving intense pleasure from records of Melba, Tetrazini, Caruso etc.etc. Had the machine going for quite one and a half hours and little these great artists will know of the pleasure they have given to us poor castaways in the frozen south12
Sunday 21st May 1916
In the afternoon did some reading and had quite long discussion with Stevens on the Nebular Hypothesis.
Friday 1st September 1916
Great discussion tonight as to whether a search party should have been sent out to seek Scott after Cherry-Garrard reached C[ape] Evans without him in March 1912. As usual no definite conclusion as might expect seeing we know practically no precise dates.13
The environment inspired Keith Jack into 'waxing poetical… after the R. W. Service style'.14 His poem, located opposite entries for December 5, 1915, (while laying store depots), is titled The Lone South Land, it begins:
Land of the Great White Silence, grim land of the polar night;
Land of the blighting blizzard, ice fields glittering bright;
Land where the white fanged mountains, nameless and cleaving the sky;
Whisper of unknown spaces as the drifting clouds sweep by -
In another stanza he addresses the seductive danger of the landscape:
Where the shimmering mirage dances o'er the billowy Barrier plain
Luring, tempting, enticing, oft-time too—not in vain-
And the lone sledge trail leads onwards into the vast unknown
With ever the frost fiend waiting, waiting to claim his own
He views his efforts in typically self deprecating fashion.
Wonder what they would say to this at home pretty crude of course but at times you feel as if you can't help trying to put your feelings into a rhyme, rough though it is.
At all events don't suppose anyone will ever see this so it doesn't matter much.
Keith Jack's meticulous attention to his scientific duties gave him a focus and discipline that enabled him to endure their grim situation, even as others in the party succumbed to melancholy and lethargy.
He couldn't understand why John Cope took to his bed for long periods.
March 14th 1916
Cope still remains in his bunk the greater part of his time… he says he is not ill and if this is so it seems a most unnatural existence.
June 18th 1916
Cope too only gets up for dinner each day—wonder what can be wrong with him!
Regardless what the weather was like, Jack attended to the scientific program.
37

Ross Is from Great Ross Ice Barrier
Glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917

Tuesday 12th September 1916
In hut all day owing to most furious blizzard. My turn for observation last night and at 3am experienced wind of more violence than ever before. Turned out at 2.55 and it was 4am before getting to bed again.
Even when thinking about the possibility of a relief ship he still considered the continuity of the scientific observation.
Friday 15th December 1916
Beginning now to have more frequently the ship to mind and wonder if relief will be sent this year. Hope so but at same time hope to get a complete set of tide charts before we have to depart, also should like to get as much information from anemometer as possibly can.
The planning of their rescue had not been without drama either. While Shackleton and all his men from the Endurance had astonishingly survived, the expedition funds were virtually exhausted. There was much discussion and argument about who would conduct and finance a rescue of the men on Ross Island. Finally the British, Australian and New Zealand governments agreed to fund the rescue.
In January 1917 the refitted Aurora entered the Ross Sea under the command of John King Davis and with Ernest Shackleton aboard. On 10 January the seven remaining men of the Ross Sea Party, together with the surviving sledge dogs, were rescued after being marooned for more than two years.
Amidst the excitement of the arrival of Aurora, Keith Jack stayed behind to take scientific observations while his colleagues took a sledge to the ice edge where the ship was cruising.
Wednesday 10th January 1917
It did not take long to decide to go out to the ship which kept cruising slowly along the edge of the fixed ice some six miles off. While a sledge was being packed I climbed the snow slope Se [south east] of hut in hope that someone on ship would see the black object moving against white background and thereby know somebody was at the hut. Learnt afterwards
38

Mt. Erebus Ross Is.
Hand-coloured glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.

no-one had seen me. About 10.30 all the others left with sledge load of gear while I remained to take observations etc.
John King Davis15 had seen many Antarctic explorers but these 'were just about the wildest looking gang of men that I have ever seen in my life. Smoke-bleared eyes looked out from grey haggard faces; their hair was matted and uncut; their beards were impregnated with soot and grease'.16
The store depots laid by the party remain undisturbed, moving inexorably northwards with the ice, towards the Ross Sea.
On March 5, 1917 Keith Jack finally arrived back in Melbourne, via New Zealand and Sydney.17 He volunteered for the AIF but was seconded as a chemist to the Government Cordite Factory at Maribyrnong (later known as the Explosives Factory). Jack was appointed assistant manager in 1940 and was sent to Britain in 1943 as Australian Munitions Representative. He later served as Chief Safety Officer for the Operational Safety Committee, (Dept. of Supply), 1947–1950.18
39

Pack pressing in near Cape Evans
Hand-coloured glass lantern slide, ca. 1914-ca. 1917.

V

Keith Jack's meticulously recorded data of the scientific program lay dormant for more than 40 years. Then, in 1960, Dr. Fritz Loewe, head of the Department of Meteorology at the University of Melbourne, sought him out and was delighted to discover that these records had survived.19 Dr. Loewe was studying weather patterns in the Ross Sea region and published the results collected all those years ago.20
In 1958 Vivian Fuchs led an expedition that completed what Shackleton had been attempting, the first crossing of Antarctica. It was an enormous achievement but with snow tractors, air support and communications it lacked the romantic appeal of the perilous expedition Keith Jack had been part of.21
[Andrew] Keith Jack died in Melbourne on 26 September 1966, aged 81. His diaries provide a unique perspective on a little known aspect of a very famous expedition.
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1

The Great Ross Ice Barrier is now known as the Ross Ice Shelf

2

Hugh Blackwell Evans (1874–1975). Canadian member of Borchgrevink's British Antarctic Expedition (1898–1900)

3

The Heroic Age of Antarctic exploration refers to the initial period of continental exploration, particularly from 1901–1917. It was a period of great national expeditions—Australian, English, Scottish, Norwegian, Swedish, German, French and Japanese, and of 'firsts', most notably the race to be the first to the South Pole. It was also a period of exploration before national claims were formalised and permanent stations established, before governments took control of Antarctic expeditions. Expeditions often received the support of learned societies and government, but were usually privately run and relied on significant private funding from benefactors and commercial (usually media) interests. They travelled in masted steam ships that went under sail at times. The expeditions were effectively out of contact with the outside world.

4

The diary quotations that follow are from Keith Jack's Diaries, 1914 to 1917. These diaries are part of the [Andrew] Keith Jack Collection that also includes collected photographs, clothing and equipment and is held in the Australian Manuscript Collection at SLV PA 93/117. Excerpts from the Keith Jack diaries, together with expedition photographs housed in the Picture Collection have been included on the Culture Victoria website http://www.cv.vic.gov.au/—a joint project of Victoria's cultural institutions. The Ross Sea Party is featured as part of the Journeys area of the site.

5

'The Veteran's Pass—A. K. Jack', Antarctic, December 1966, p.408

6

Keith Jack has variously been described as the expedition physicist (Argus (Melbourne) 6 March 1917 p.6), as assisting Dick Richards (Ernest Shackleton, South: the story of Shackleton's last expedition, 1914–1917, London: W. Heinemann, 1919. p.267–8), and as the expedition meteorologist (R. W. Richards, The Ross Sea Shore Party, 1914–17, Cambridge: SPRI, 1962. p.6). Dick Richards was appointed physicist but had a breakdown after returning from the Beardmore Glacier and was unable to work for much of 1916.

7

The scientific program included 'observations on meteorology, glaciology, oceanography and study of the aurora… generally 6 four-hourly observations were taken a day. They include: pressure as recorded by a mercury barometer and barograph; temperatures taken from dry bulb, maximum, minimum, solar maximum and terrestrial minimum thermometers and a thermograph; humidity from a hair hygrometer and wet bulb readings; wind direction and strength from a recording anemometer; cloudiness; frequency of precipitation and snow drift; and the directions of the smoke plume of Erebus. Very detailed observations of the sky cover and the weather conditions were also made'.

8

Ernest Shackleton, South: the story of Shackleton's last expedition, 1914–1917, London: W. Heinemann, 1919.

9

Ernest Shackleton, Shackleton in the Antarctic: being the story of the British Antarctic Expedition, 1907–1909, London: W. Heinemann, 1911, p.130.

10

[Andrew] Keith Jack, Diaries, 1914 to 1917. Australian Manuscript Collection SLV PA 93/117. Ernest Shackleton, South: the story of Shackleton's last expedition, 1914–1917, London: W. Heinemann, 1919. The Ross Sea Party was initially brought to public attention by Lennard Bickel in his Shackleton's forgotten Argonauts, South Melbourne: Macmillan, 1982. Its members have also been the subject of two recent books: Richard McElrea and David Harrowfield, Polar castaways: the Ross Sea party (1914–17) of Sir Ernest Shackleton, Christchurch, N.Z.: Canterbury University Press, 2004, and Kelly Tyler-Lewis, The Lost Men: the harrowing saga of Shackleton's Ross Sea party. New York: Viking, 2006.

11

R. W. Richards, The Ross Sea Shore Party, 1914–17, Cambridge: SPRI, 1962. p.40

12

The book Keith Jack was reading, 15,000 miles in a ketch by Captain Raymond Rallier du Baty, London: T. Nelson, [1912], was an account of a voyage in a tiny boat with a crew of four to Tristan da Cunha and the sub Antarctic Kerguelen Islands. The voyage commenced in November 1907 and made port in Melbourne in July 1909.

13

Apsley Cherry Garrard and Dimitri Gerof had taken additional supplies to One Ton Depot for Robert Scott's returning party in early March 1912. Scott's final camp was 18 kilometres further south. He and the other two surviving members of his party, Edward Wilson and 'Birdy' Bowers, died towards the end of March 1912. A search by expedition members in November 1912 uncovered their last camp.

14

Robert W. Service (1874–1958). Scottish by birth, Service turned to poetry after emigrating to Canada as a young man. Sometimes called the 'Canadian Kipling', he became immensely popular in the early years of the 20th Century with verse ballads of the Yukon goldfields, and the Canadian pioneering experience.

15

The State Library also holds the very significant John King Davis collection. John King Davis (1884–1967) was born in England but spent the majority of his adult life, (when on land), in Melbourne. He was Chief Officer of the Nimrod, transporting Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition (1907–09) in 1907 and commanded Nimrod on the return voyage to collect the expedition members in 1909. Davis commanded Aurora during Mawson's Australasian Antarctic Expedition of 1911–14, making three return trips to the Antarctic during that period. He commanded Aurora again in the 1917 rescue of the Ross Sea Party. His final trip south was with Mawson as master of Discovery for the 1929–1930 investigations of the British, Australian and New Zealand Antarctic Research Expedition. The Davis Sea and Australia's Davis Station are both named for him. From 1920 to 1949 he was Commonwealth Director of Navigation. He donated his papers to the State Library of Victoria. These include journals; diaries; log books; reports; correspondence; memoranda; inventories; lecture notes; press cuttings; scrapbooks; publications and photographs. This is a very significant collection and is referenced widely in articles and books on the history of Antarctic Exploration. Lengthy extracts from his journals were published in: Trial by ice: the Antarctic journals of John King Davis, edited by Louise Crossley (Bluntisham, Huntingdon: Bluntisham Books; Norwich, Norfolk: Erskine Press, 1997).

16

John King Davis, High Latitude, Melbourne: Melbourne University Press, 1962, p.265.

17

Argus (Melbourne) 6 March 1917, p.6.

18

'The Veteran's Pass—A. K. Jack', Antarctic, December 1966, p.408.

19

Fritz Loewe, 'Old records found', Antarctic, December 1960, pp.328–9

20

Fritz Loewe, Scientific Observations of the Ross Sea Party of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition 1914–1917, Ohio: Ohio State University, 1963.

21

Vivian Fuchs and Edmund Hillary, The Crossing of Antarctica: the Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1955–1958, London: Cassell, 1958. As with Shackleton, Fuchs commenced from Vahsel Bay. Edmund Hillary led a party from Ross Island, laying stores for Fuchs and his team beyond the Pole. Hillary couldn't resist continuing on to the South Pole once the stores were laid. It was only the third time (after Amundsen and Scott) that the South Pole had been reached overland. Fuchs completed his journey at Scott Base on Ross Island on 2 March 1958.