The Antarctic continent - picture 32 of 60
© by Alexander Gerst 2002
Flying south towards the pole and across the Byrd glacier. This glacier belongs to the largest ones on earth and has a width of 30 km, roughly as wide as the English channel. Nearly its complete mass moves with a speed of several metres per day. Shackleton chose a route over such a glacier on his attempt to reach the South Pole. The reason for this was that from the ground, the Beardmore glacier, as well as the Byrd glacier look like an inviting ramp up towards the Polar Plateau. If Shackleton could have seen the glacier with its labyrinth of crevasses and ice walls only once from the air, he surely would have decided otherwise - but he could not, and thus made one of the worst mistakes in his life. His last Ponies all fell into crevasses, an he lost a crucial amount of time that eventually lead to his failure to reach the pole, and nearly cost his life.
On the day when this photo was taken we crossed 80° south for the first time, eventually less than 1000 km away from the pole.
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