National Geographic : 1936 Jul
MY FLIGHT ACROSS ANTARCTICA © Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition DUNDEE ISLAND'S HAIR SEALS HAD NO FEAR OF MAN The creatures apparently had never before been disturbed and, like dogs, seemed to enjoy having their sides scratched. After 45 minutes more a few additional peaks showed on the same skyline, and in another 25 minutes more mountains 120 to 140 miles away appeared on our left horizon; also a few peaks to the right. PEAK NAMED FOR MRS. ELLSWORTH Half an hour passed and it became very hazy ahead; below it was dead flat, with a patch of sastrugi (frozen windrows of snow) on our left. One hundred and ten miles farther on, again as we looked to the left, we came abeam of a solitary little range to which I took bearings. It was symmetrically formed with a cen tral pyramid rising to 13,000 feet and dwindling down at either extremity to merge into the surrounding plain. I named it Sentinel Range and its central peak Mount Mary Louise Ulmer, for my wife, whose unfailing help was a bulwark of sup port (page 18). Fifteen minutes later, on the south hori zon and 100 miles distant, appeared a long, black, flat-topped range which visibly ex tended through at least one degree of lati- tude. This appeared to be the last of the mountains we were to see, for ahead and around swept only a vast plateau meet ing the horizon in an expanse of white. Throughout the journey so far visibility had been from 120 to 150 miles. For two hours we flew on, with nothing ahead to break the monotony of the level ice plain stretching out beneath. We had been in the air nearly 14 hours, flying at about 112 miles per hour. Visibility began to get poor because of clouds ahead. We determined to land and take an observa tion, for we had no gas to spare. CAMPING 1,800 MILES FROM NEAREST SETTLEMENT This was the first of four landings dur ing the crossing and we passed 12 hours of our 19 hours here taking observations to check our position. The snow on the high plateau was granu lar and packed so hard that the skis of the plane made little impression. The surface elevation at our first landing place was 6,400 feet, and the plateau extended with slight undulations in all directions.