Roald Amundsen's diary from his South Pole Expedition

During his expedition to the South Pole in 1911, Roald Amundsen wrote a diary. Follow him from day to day 100 years later. You may also read an online version of Amundsen's orginial diary.

Friday 15 Dec.

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

So we arrived, and were able to raise our flag at the geographical South Pole – King Håkon VII’s Vidda. Thanks be to God!

Thursday 14 Dec.

Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Fine weather all morning. Clouded over after we had taken the altitude, and snow showers arrived from the SE.

Wednesday 13 Dec.

Monday, 12 December 2011

Our best day up here. It has been calm for most of the day – with burning sunshine. The going and terrain have been the same.

Tuesday 12 Dec.

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Lovely weather. Almost calm and partly clear. Ca. –25°. Same fine going and terrain.

Monday 11 Dec.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Fine weather again. Light SSE’ly breeze and −28°. Sometimes quite clear. Sometimes a passing patch of mist. A lovely big ring round the sun.

Sunday 10 Dec.

Friday, 09 December 2011

−28°. Breeze from the south and crystal clear. It has been a little cool to go up wind, but nothing to make a fuss over.

Saturday 9 Dec.

Thursday, 08 December 2011

Haved stayed put today, rested, and prepared for the final onslaught. We have put down a depot here to lighten the sledges. HH keeps his sledge unchanged, while the two others have been lightened.

Friday 8 Dec.

Wednesday, 07 December 2011

One of our big days. It did not seem exactly favourable in the morning – thick and with no visibility as usual. But the wind had dropped during the night. What little remained, came from NE.

Thursday 7 Dec.

Tuesday, 06 December 2011

Same weather. Heavy snowfall. Sky and horizon melt into each other. Can see absolutely nothing at all.

Wednesday 6 Dec.

Monday, 05 December 2011

Have travelled absolutely blind all day. In such conditions, HH has to drive ahead with his dog team. Hass. and I, who otherwise would take turns in going ahead, cannot do so in this kind of weather, since we would simply come a cropper on the sastrugi.

Tuesday 5 Dec.

Sunday, 04 December 2011

Have gone completely blind all day. Breeze from N. with thick drift, and greater, more constant snowfall than I have yet seen in these regions.

Monday 4 Dec.

Saturday, 03 December 2011

We have been lucky, as usual. The wind backed – after having blown at storm force from the SE – to N. and eased and cleared up. We lost no time in turning out and setting off. We first had to cross the Devil's ballroom. Shiny bare ice with snow-filled crevasses here and there.

Sunday 3 Dec.

Friday, 02 December 2011

Had really decided on a rest day. But when the wind eased during the a.m., we agreed to give it a try.

Saturday 2 Dec.

Thursday, 01 December 2011

The 'vidda' over which we are now traveling resembles a frozen sea – a domed cupola if ice. Covered by quite small, covered crevasses. A few minor sastrugi here and there. Excellent conditions for a skater, but unfortunately unsuitable for our dogs and ourselves.

Friday 1 Dec.

Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How often has it not happened to me, that a day that one had expected nothing at all of – brought a great deal. – Gale from SE during the night and in the morning more drift and almost no visibility. Admittedly I had decided on a rest day for the doggies. But – in a little lull – we all agreed nonetheless to set off and try.

Thursday 30 Nov.

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

The fog finally relented in the course of the night. Lovely, fine morning. Sparkling sunshine and clear. The huge new land lay there bathed in the rays of the morning sun – a wonderful fairy tale in blue and white.

Wednesday 29 Nov.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Fog, fog and fog again, and in addition fine crystals that make the going impossible. Poor beasts, they have struggled hard to get the sledges forward today

Tuesday 28 Nov.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Fairly violent gusts of wind from the N. quarter during the night. As usual we were on our way around 8 ‘oclock. But the weather was not of the best kind. Fog and snow. A little sun now and then.

Monday 27 Nov.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

There was a short clear interval in the small hours at 3 o’clock, and we went out to investigate the conditions. We were on a slope with a fairly steep gradient along our course.

Sunday 26 Nov.

Friday, 25 November 2011

Instead of improving, the Nor’Easter assumed the force of a storm in the course of the night. It eased somewhat in the morning, but nonetheless was a heavy gale with thick drift when we turned out at 8 o’clock.

Saturday 25 Nov.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Had to stay put today as well. Same gale from NE with heavy, thick drift.

Friday 24 Nov.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

The gale had veered NE’ly and eased by morning.

Thursday 23 Nov.

Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The gale has lasted all day.

Wednesday 22 Nov.

Monday, 21 November 2011

We had violent gusts of wind during the night. Quite calm until the small hours. Gale from ESE true until midday with thick drift.

Tuesday 21 November

Sunday, 20 November 2011

So we won through. We are on the polar plateau at 10,000 ft. altitude.

Monday 20 Nov.

Saturday, 19 November 2011

HH & Bj. had found an excellent route up the glacier. There were many crevasses and chasms, but we found good bridges everywhere.

Sunday 19 Nov.

Friday, 18 November 2011

Continued the climb. The first short sharp slopes led us to the uppermost pass between the closest coastal mountains. They are about 4,000 ft. high.

Saturday 18 Nov.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Started our climb this morning. It began ESE ¼E. The dogs have done work today that has surpassed my greatest expectations.

Friday 17 nov.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

An eventful day. We soon reached the wave mentioned yesterday. It was very high – 300 ft. according to the barometer.

Thursday 16 Nov.

Wednesday, 15 November 1911

Fine weather all day. Light SE’ly breeze –24° and absolutely clear. It nonetheless feels quite sharp in our faces, and we cannot avoid little spots of frostbite here and there.

Wednesday 15 Nov.

Tuesday, 14 November 1911

The same fog persisted this morning, but luckily it retreated in the face of a light SE’ly breeze. Once more we had the most glorious view.

Tuesday 14 Nov.

Monday, 13 November 1911

Heard no noise in the ice during the night. No cracks in sight. Unfortunately the little light N’ly breeze managed to force the fog in.

Monday 13 Nov.

Sunday, 12 November 1911

Same glorious weather. Faint breeze from the NNE quarter.

Sunday 12 Nov.

Saturday, 11 November 1911

Fine weather. Gentle breath of air from NW. Partly clear, partly overcast. The sky’s appearance changes very quickly. A few moments, and everything has altered.

Saturday 11 Nov.

Friday, 10 November 1911

Magnificent going today over huge, smooth surface. The dogs have actually galloped. A few small sastrugi, but flat for the most part.

Friday 10 Nov.

Thursday, 09 November 1911

In port today. Had a storm from the S. during the night. It blew well. Eased towards the small hours. Got a meridian sight.

Thursday 9 Nov.

Wednesday, 08 November 1911

Same fine weather. Yesterday we saw some wisps of cloud in the SW quarter, but thought little of it.

Wednesday 8 November

Tuesday, 07 November 1911

Same wonderful weather, terrain and skiing. We are running like greyhounds over the endless flat snow plain, only broken now and then by a long, gentle wave formation running E-W.

Tuesday 7 November

Monday, 06 November 1911

An absolutely wonderful day. Fine weather -19°. Clear with a light airs from SSE.

Monday 6 November

Sunday, 05 November 1911

Better weather cannot be found. Absolutely calm. Burning sunshine and lovely warmth ca. –14°. The doggies are lying stretched out and enjoying themselves.

Sunday 5 November

Saturday, 04 November 1911

At 4 a.m. the sun came out for a moment and we were not slow in getting out of our sleeping bags.

Saturday 4 November

Friday, 03 November 1911

The S’ly wind eased during the night. Towards morning, it backed N’ly and the weather closed in.

Friday 3 November

Thursday, 02 November 1911

Stiff breeze with thick drift. The going has been extraordinarily heavy, and the dogs have struggled hard to move the sledges forward.

Thursday 2 November

Wednesday, 01 November 1911

Light breeze from SSE – 34½°. To begin with, it seemed quite cold, but one gets used to anything.

Wednesday 1 November

Tuesday, 31 October 1911

Set off in thick fog. We had an eventful march.

Tuesday 31 October

Monday, 30 October 1911

A wonderful rest day at 81°. Calm and clear.

Monday 30 October

Sunday, 29 October 1911

Gale during the night with thick drift. Eased during the morning. We turned out as usual at 6 o'clock and were ready to start around 8.

Sunday 29 October

Saturday, 28 October 1911

Brilliant weather. Light n'ly breeze. Cleared up –19°. Snow a little looser today.

Saturday 28 October

Friday, 27 October 1911

SE gale with thick drift during the night, continuing all day. Have been forced to stay put.

Friday 27 October

Thursday, 26 October 1911

Continued in the same glorious weather. Dead calm – Clear. Flat – fine without a single sastruga. Wonderful going.

Thursday 26 October

Wednesday, 25 October 1911

N’ly breeze. Clear. Wonderful for travelling.

Wednesday 25 October

Tuesday, 24 October 1911

Spent the day at rest. Dogs bursting with health. Tomorrow we go on further south.

Tuesday 24 October

Monday, 23 October 1911

Pure mess during the night. N’ly wind and snow.

Monday 23 October

Sunday, 22 October 1911

Overcast and thick when we started at 8 a.m. After a little while it cleared overhead but the whole horizon remained thick.

Sunday 22 October

Saturday, 21 October 1911

Thick fog. Stiff breeze from SE. Snowing and snowdrift. It was not a good day for travelling.

Saturday 21 October

Friday, 20 October 1911

Gale during the night from E., eased somewhat during the forenoon. Set off at 10 a.m.

Friday 20 October

Thursday, 19 October 1911

At long last we managed to get off.