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Ross Sea: Cape Evans

360º-Panoramas

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 2 remai­ning 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.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova Hut: inter­ac­ti­ve Pano­Tour

Cape Evans virtual tour preview

Tech­ni­cal info

Once you have star­ted the vir­tu­al tour, you can eit­her use the map in the lower left cor­ner to navi­ga­te insi­de the hut, or the bar at the bot­tom, or click on sym­bols wit­hin the panos to enter the next one (only while the next loca­ti­on is visi­ble, not always avail­ab­le). Or you can just let it play and it will auto­ma­ti­cal­ly switch to the next pano after one tur­naround. You can switch the sound off (upper right cor­ner) if you wish, same with the explana­to­ry text.

You can also view this vir­tu­al tour on iPads and other tablets if they are power­ful enough and have an up-to-date sys­tems soft­ware. On desk­top sys­tems, you can use both HTML5 or Flash.

Sta­ti­ons

  1. Cape Evans (Land­s­cape)
  2. Cape Evans: Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut
  3. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: Ent­ran­ce
  4. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: Sta­bles ent­ran­ce
  5. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: sta­bles
  6. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, first part
  7. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, cen­tral part
  8. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, inner part
  9. Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, inner­most part (Scott’s cubicle)
  10. Cape Evans: the Nim­rod cross

Some addi­tio­nal infor­ma­ti­on about the indi­vi­du­al pla­ces:

Cape Evans (Land­s­cape): Cape Evans and Mount Ere­bus

Cape Evans is a litt­le pen­in­su­la at the foot of Mount Ere­bus, the sou­thern­most acti­ve vol­ca­no on Earth. The cape con­sists of dark lava rocks without any vege­ta­ti­on. From this litt­le hill, we have got a clear view sou­thwards: the way Scott went on his last expe­di­ti­on (1910-13, with Ter­ra Nova). He and his 4 com­ra­des would never return.

Cape Evans: Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut

Scott reached Cape Evans on Ross Island in ear­ly Janu­a­ry 1911. A solid hut was built, using pre-fab­ri­ca­ted mate­ri­als, inclu­ding sta­bles.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: Ent­ran­ce

The hut is qui­te spa­cious (15.2 x 7.6 metres). A cor­ri­dor is lea­ding towards the sta­bles. The ent­ran­ce area smart­ly pro­tects the main room from wind and snow.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: Sta­bles ent­ran­ce

The cor­ri­dor to the sta­bles leads around a cor­ner, whe­re a pile of seal blub­ber was stored. The smell of blub­ber is still in the air.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: sta­bles

The sta­bles is a long cor­ri­dor with stalls for the indi­vi­du­al ponies on the nort­hern side. Scott’s choice of trans­por­ta­ti­on methods has always been a mat­ter of deba­te. With the ponie stalls, ponie snow shoes on the wall, a bicy­cle and remains of a dog, a lar­ge part of the spec­trum is repre­sen­ted here in the sta­bles. (The bike belon­ged to Grif­fith Tay­ler, he used it in the vicini­ty).

You can still smell the hay!

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, first part

The main room is sepa­ra­ted into several parts. Near the ent­ran­ce, the kit­chen is on the sou­thern side and beds for the men with lower ranks on the oppo­si­te side. This reflects the hier­ar­chi­cal lea­ders­hip style of the navy offi­cer Robert F. Scott.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, cen­tral part

The cen­tral part of the main room was cal­led the tene­ments, this was whe­re the offi­cers were housed. A wall of boxes sepa­ra­ted the tene­ments from the first part, whe­re the lower ran­king men slept. The strict sepa­ra­ti­on was wel­co­med by ever­y­bo­dy: this way, they were all amongst them­sel­ves and could behave as they wis­hed and as was com­mon amongst their ranks.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: main room, inner part

Next to more beds for offi­cers, pho­to­gra­pher Her­bert Ponting’s dar­kroom was loca­ted here, tog­e­ther with some space for the sci­en­tists with litt­le labo­ra­to­ries. A second, smal­ler sto­ve pro­vi­ded warm­th for this part of the hut. The sto­ve pipes were smart­ly laid under the cei­ling through the who­le hut. On the dark room wall, the­re was a tele­pho­ne which con­nec­ted this hut to the older Dis­co­very hut at Hut Point fur­ther south in Octo­ber 1911. The cable was laid across the sea ice and did not last long, howe­ver.

Scott’s Ter­ra Nova hut: Main room inner­most part (Scott’s cubicle)

In the rear part of the main room, left (nort­hern) side, the­re are two half-sepa­ra­te cubicles. The fur­thest one, next to Ponting’s dar­kroom, was used by Edward Wil­son, who died with Scott, and Edward („Ted­dy“) Evans, second in com­mand. An Emperor pen­gu­in is lying on the table, cer­tain­ly not left the­re by Scott.

Oppo­si­te of Wilson’s and Evan’s, Robert F. Scott had his own litt­le cubicle. A slee­ping bag is still lying on the bunk. (The last one to sleep the­re, as far as known, was Aene­as Mack­in­tosh, com­man­der of Shackleton’s Ross Sea par­ty of his „Impe­ri­al Trans- Ant­arc­tic Expe­di­ti­on“ in 1914-17).

Cape Evans: the Nim­rod cross

Later, Scott’s hut at Cape Evans was used by the Auro­ra expe­di­ti­on from 1914 to 1917. That was Shackleton’s Ross Sea par­ty, a vital part of his pro­jec­ted cros­sing of Ant­arc­ti­ca during his „Impe­ri­al Trans-Ant­arc­tic Expe­di­ti­on“. The Ross Sea par­ty was sup­po­sed to lay depots for Shack­le­ton and achie­ved this under dra­ma­tic cir­cum­s­tan­ces. Three men died during this expe­di­ti­on: Aene­as Mack­in­tosh, the com­man­der, Hay­ward and Spen­cer-Smith. The cross on the hill clo­se to Scott’s hut is a memo­ri­al to the­se 3 men who died during their efforts to lay depots that would never be used: Shackleton’s Endu­ran­ce sank in the Wed­dell Sea, on the other side of the con­ti­nent, befo­re he could start his cros­sing.

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last modification: 2015-02-26 · copyright: Rolf Stange
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