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Ross Sea: Cape Evans


“If you can picture our house nestling below this small hill on a long stretch of black sand, with many tons of provision cases ranged in neat blocks in front of it and the sea lapping the ice-foot below, you will have some idea of our immediate vicinity. As for our wider surroundings it would be difficult to describe their beauty in sufficiently glowing terms. Cape Evans is one of many spurs of Erebus and the one that stands closest under the mountain, so that always towering above us we have the grand snowy peak with its smoking summit.”

This is how now less than Captain Robert Falcon Scott himself described Cape Evans in his diary, later published as Scott’s Last Expedition (Vol. I, page 101. Edition “intended for circulation only in India and the British Dominions over the Seas”).

The hut at Cape Evans on Ross Island is one of the treasured holy grails of Antarctic history. It was built during Scott’s final expedition with Terra Nova (1910-13). Scott and 4 other men reached the South Pole on January 17, 1912 – about 5 weeks after their Norwegian competitor Roald Amundsen. On the return journey, Scott and his comrades starved and froze to death in their tent during a blizzard on or around March 29. Their frozen bodies were found by other expedition members in November the same year. The diaries were returned and edited; precious reading for all aficionados of south polar history!

Scott was influenced by Royal Navy traditions and thus had separate quarters for lower ranking crew in the first part of the hut and officers and scientists in the further part. One century later, this may appear odd to us, but it seems as if nobody ever complained about it. Everybody could behave the way they were used to amongst their likes, and people seemed to be happy with it.

Two panos from the first part, where the crew lived:

Cape Evans – 1/5

Cape Evans – 2/5

On the side, next to the crew’s quarters, right hand side as you enter the hut, there was the kitchen:

Cape Evans – 3/8

In the centre part of the hut, a separating wall was built with boxes. Next to the social separation, this was obviously also a rather practical solution:

Cape Evans – 4/8

The far end of the hut, where officers and scientists lived. The scientists had also some work space in this area.

Cape Evans – 5/8

Cape Evans – 6/8

Cape Evans – 7/8

Cape Evans – 8/8


last modification: 2014-05-14 · copyright: Rolf Stange