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Panoramas: Ross Sea - Cape Royds


A vir­tu­al tour of Cape Royds (2015):
Shackleton’s Nim­rod-hut

Enjoy the vir­tu­al tour, we app­re­cia­te your feed­back – if you like the tour, plea­se for­ward the link to this page to others who might be inte­res­ted.

Pan­ora­mas of Cape Royds
as a vir­tu­al tour / pan­o­r­amic tour


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

And if you like, you can share the Pano-Link or link it yours­elf. 🙂


  1. Cape Royds 1: Mount Ere­bus
  2. Cape Royds 2: Ade­lie pen­gu­ins
  3. Cape Royds 3: Ther­mo­me­ter hut
  4. Cape Royds 4: Pony Lake
  5. Cape Royds 5: The sta­bles
  6. Cape Royds 6: Nim­rod-hut, ent­rance
  7. Cape Royds 7: Nim­rod-hut, main room 2
  8. Cape Royds 8: Nim­rod hut, Shackleton’s room
  9. Cape Royds 9: Nim­rod-hut, main room

Some addi­tio­nal infor­ma­ti­on about the indi­vi­du­al pan­ora­mas:

Cape Royds 1: Mount Ere­bus

Cape Royds is in McMur­do Sound, deep in the Ross Sea. It is a litt­le cape on the wes­tern side of Ross Island, on the foot of the famous vol­ca­no Mount Ere­bus. The first ascent of Mount Ere­bus was achie­ved during the Nim­rod-expe­di­ti­on.

All rocks are of vol­ca­nic ori­gin. In clear visi­bi­li­ty, you have got a good view over McMur­do Sound towards the Trans­ant­ar­c­tic Moun­ta­ins.

Cape Royds 2: Ade­lie pen­gu­ins

Here, on 77°33’ south and 166°9’ east, not­hing is gro­wing any­mo­re. Bio­lo­gists may be able to find some lichens with the magni­fy­ing glass, but the land­scape is com­ple­te­ly bar­ren.

But the­re is life at Cape Royds. It is home to the sou­thern­most Ade­lie pen­gu­in colo­ny any­whe­re. For the ear­ly explo­rers, this meant a relia­ble source of fresh food during the sum­mer. Addi­tio­nal­ly, the lake (Pony Lake) pro­vi­ded fresh water during the sum­mer, at least for some time and at least for the ponies. Fresh water sup­p­ly can be a pro­blem in Ant­ar­c­ti­ca, espe­ci­al­ly when you have got hor­ses!

Cape Royds 3: Ther­mo­me­ter hut

We are slow­ly get­ting clo­ser to the famous hut that was built during Shackleton’s Nim­rod expe­di­ti­on. The ship Nim­rod rea­ched Cape Royds in ear­ly Febru­ary 1908, after Hut Point fur­ther south had tur­ned out to be inac­ces­si­ble due to ice. Hut Point was the site used by Scott’s Dis­co­very expe­di­ti­on, which Shack­le­ton had been a mem­ber of.

The­re is a ther­mo­me­ter hut some met­res away from the main buil­ding.

Cape Royds 4: Pony Lake

Now we are some met­res nor­thwest of the hut, with a good view of Pony Lake. The nor­t­hern side of the hut, which we can see from here, is enlar­ged with walls built of pro­vi­si­on boxes. This part included the sta­bles for the ponies, the ken­nels and the gara­ge for the „car“. Which was not a gre­at suc­cess.

Cape Royds 5: The sta­bles

A clo­ser look at the sta­bles, whe­re the ponies win­tered in 1908. Only four out of ten ponies sur­vi­ved until the sou­thern par­ty, con­sis­ting of Shack­le­ton and three more men, star­ted their voya­ge towards the pole in late Octo­ber 1908. The men rea­ched 88°23’S, a posi­ti­on within 100 miles from the pole. Lack of pro­vi­si­ons forced them to return from the­re.

None of the ponies had made it to that point or any­whe­re near it. Most had died befo­re the sou­thern par­ty had even star­ted, some becau­se of eating vol­ca­nic sand at Cape Royds. The last sur­vi­ving pony out of the four that joi­n­ed the sou­thern par­ty was cal­led Socks. It died when it fell into a crev­as­se on the Beard­mo­re Gla­cier.

Cape Royds 6: Nim­rod-hut, ent­rance

Now we have ente­red the famous Nim­rod hut. It is one of the four famous his­to­ri­cal huts in the Ross Sea. The others are the Borchgre­vink hut at Cape Ada­re, Hut Point (Scott/Discovery) and Cape Evans (Scott/Terra Nova). Com­pared to the Ter­ra Nova hut at Cape Evans, the Nim­rod hut is smal­ler and simp­ler.

Geo­lo­gist Dou­glas Maw­son had a labo­ra­to­ry in the ent­rance area, but it was usual­ly too cold to be used.

Cape Royds 7: Nim­rod-hut, main room 2

Almost all of the 13 win­te­rers slept in the lar­ge main room. The bunk beds were sepa­ra­ted by thin walls to crea­te an idea of pri­va­cy. The­se walls were remo­ved later. In con­trast to, for exam­p­le, Scott’s expe­di­ti­ons, no dif­fe­rence was made bet­ween offi­cers and men in dai­ly life.

The hut was 10×5.8 m lar­ge, not a lot to house 13 men for an ant­ar­c­tic win­ter.

Cape Royds 8: Nim­rod hut, Shackleton’s room

Shack­le­ton had a litt­le room for hims­elf, which he rea­di­ly offe­red to others if the­re was a need. Phil­ip Brock­le­hurst retrea­ted the­re to rest after parts of his toes had to be remo­ved fol­lo­wing the ascent of Mount Ere­bus.

The room was under reno­va­ti­on when this pan­ora­ma was shot (2015). May­be I get a chan­ce to do it again when it is brought back to its ori­gi­nal con­di­ti­on?

Cape Royds 9: Nim­rod-hut, main room

This is whe­re dai­ly life took place: the lar­ge oven kept the hut warm, this is whe­re meals were pre­pared, the­re is a litt­le kit­chen area near­by. Bio­lo­gist Mur­ray had a litt­le labo­ra­to­ry behind the oven.

The­re are many arte­facts still in place, giving a good impres­si­on of the con­di­ti­ons of dai­ly life during the days of the Nim­rod expe­di­ti­on, inclu­ding the sled­ges han­ging under the roof.

Older pan­ora­mas of Cape Royds (2013)

First some impres­si­ons of the sce­n­ery at Cape Royds in McMur­do Sound. It is a rather dark, even slight­ly erie, sce­n­ery and atmo­sphe­re the­re under Mount Ere­bus, at least on an over­cast and win­dy day. How often do you have a clear, blue sky in McMur­do Sound? The Ade­lie pen­gu­in colo­ny at Cape Royds is, as far as known, the sou­thern­most one any­whe­re.

No 360° pan­ora­ma, only works with the Flash Play­er on mobi­le devices, for exam­p­le, with the → Puf­fin-Brow­ser.

No 360° pan­ora­ma, only works with the Flash Play­er on mobi­le devices, for exam­p­le, with the → Puf­fin-Brow­ser.

The hut at Cape Royds on Ross Island was built in ear­ly 1908 during Shackleton’s Nim­rod expe­di­ti­on (1907-09). In Octo­ber 1908, Shack­le­ton and 3 more men, among­st them Frank Wild, star­ted their trek towards the South Pole, but had to turn around 180 km away from their desti­na­ti­on due to a lack of pro­vi­si­ons. One of the expedition’s other achie­ve­ments was the first ascent of Mount Ere­bus.

Shack­le­ton would have pre­fer­red Hut Point fur­ther south as loca­ti­on for his base­camp, which would have given him the bene­fit of a slight­ly shorter distance to the South Pole, but the ice kept his ship Nim­rod from get­ting the­re. Cape Royds was accor­din­gly only second choice.


last modification: 2018-06-03 · copyright: Rolf Stange