Ice cliffs, Coats Land

[The ice cliffs of Coats’ Land, Antarctica, eastern edge of the Weddell Sea. Named by William S. Bruce, Scottish National Antarctic Expedition, 1902.]

“We were now in the vicinity of the land discovered by Dr. W. S. Bruce, leader of the Scotia Expedition, in 1904, and named by him Coats’ Land. Dr. Bruce encountered an ice-barrier in lat. 72° 18´ S., long. 10° W., stretching from north-east to south-west. He followed the barrier-edge to the south-west for 150 miles and reached lat. 74° 1´ S., long. 22° W. He saw no naked rock, but his description of rising slopes of snow and ice, with shoaling water off the barrier-wall, indicated clearly the presence of land. It was up those slopes, at a point as far south as possible, that I planned to begin the march across the Antarctic continent. All hands were watching now for the coast described by Dr. Bruce, and at 5 p.m. the look-out reported an appearance of land to the south-south-east. We could see a gentle snow-slope rising to a height of about one thousand feet. It seemed to be an island or a peninsula with a sound on its south side, and the position of its most northerly point was about 72° 34´ S., 16° 40´ W. The Endurance was passing through heavy loose pack, and shortly before midnight she broke into a lead of open sea along a barrier-edge. A sounding within one cable’s length of the barrier-edge gave no bottom with 210 fathoms of line. The barrier was 70 ft. high, with cliffs of about 40 ft. The Scotia must have passed this point when pushing to Bruce’s farthest south on March 6, 1904, and I knew from the narrative of that voyage, as well as from our own observation, that the coast trended away to the south-west. The lead of open water continued along the barrier-edge, and we pushed forward without delay.”

— Ernest Shackleton, South

About Ernest Shackleton

Polar Explorer. Leader of the Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, 1914-1917.
This entry was posted in Images, Shackleton. Bookmark the permalink.