National Geographic : 1936 Jul
THE NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC MAGAZINE © Ellsworth Antarctic Expedition SNOW HILL ISLAND, WHERE THE WEATHER WAS ALWAYS BAD! The low ice face made it possible to land the months' wait gave only 12 continuous hours of area beyond. sheer to some 12,000 feet above sea level. Again I felt a supreme happiness for my share in the opportunity to unveil the last continent in human history. We were indeed the first intruding mor tals in this age-old land, and, looking down on the rugged peaks, I thought of eternity and man's insignificance. So these first new mountains we saw I named Eternity Range (pages 16 and 17). The three most prominent peaks on our right I named Faith, Hope, and Charity, because we had to have faith, and we hoped for charity in the midst of cold hospitality. In striking contrast to these rugged mountains were the flat, low peaks of the Antarctic Archipelago we had followed south-peaks which dwindled down into low isolated nunataks as they neared Stef ansson Strait. Undoubtedly both ranges are of sedimentary origin. I wondered whether valuable coal deposits might one day be unearthed here. The range which we now were crossing was a loosely formed one, with none of the crowded topography of peaks with glacier filled valleys and highly crevassed bottoms, Polar Star here on the second expedition. A two cloudless sky. Fossils were found in the bleak such as the Queen Maud Range shows. We saw neither glaciers nor crevassed surfaces in this part of our crossing. We fully realized that this was the most dangerous area of our flight, for on one side lay the frozen Weddell Sea, which no ship could penetrate, and on the other an un known continent larger than the United States and Mexico. On we went, the mighty panorama of the vast Antarctic Continent unrolling before our eyes. On and on, for three hours more, and the mountains beneath us gave place to a vast polar ice plateau from which emerged a few nunataks, the last evidence of the mountain chain just passed. We were fly ing at 10,000 feet above sea level, which was the average altitude of our flight. At 4:15 o'clock, when we had traversed 1,000 miles, and were yet 1,300 miles from the Bay of Whales, the radio broke down because of a defective switch and antenna lead. Not hearing from us, the world be gan to worry, as we learned later. At that instant on the distant right horizon we sighted a mountain range with isolated black peaks, which soon faded out.