The Crossing of Antarctica: The Commonwealth Trans-Antarctic Expedition (1955-58)

Fuchs wrote most of this book, including the chapters on the men who crossed from the Weddell Sea Shackleton Base to the Scott Base on the Ross Sea via the South Pole, with chapters on the Ross Sea supporting party written by Hillary who led that group. This is a thoroughly whitewashed version mostly omitting the conflicts between the two leaders. There are very few references to reading, though Hillary does say that “our library was well patronized” (p. 146). Some inferences can be drawn and we do know from Hillary’s other book that they had the paperback Penguin edition of The Worst Journey in the World, which they used to retrace Edward Wilson’s worst journey to Cape Crozier. Otherwise there are only fairly anodyne references such as these:

p. 51: in their crate at Shackleton base in March 1957: what became known as ‘The Great March Blizzard’, which lasted for seven days, only going out to feed the dogs and to sleep in their tents at night. Writing, reading, playing chess or Scrabble, the time passed slowly, the snow building up outside the door and having to be dug away every hour to keep from being completely buried.

p. 95: Hillary writing about the Cape Crozier trip: I was anxious to give the modified tractors a thorough try-out under conditions more comparable to a southern journey, so decided to repeat by tractor the route covered on foot by Wilson, Bowers and Cherry-Garrard in their amazing Worst Journey in the World. [They were able to find the remains of the hut where Wilson lived out their C storm 44 years earlier.]

p. 140: Hillary writing again: Quite often we found the modifications (in garments) we thought necessary were identical with similar ones illustrated in the books on Scott’s and Shackleton’s expeditions, and it appeared that much the old explorers had learned was not being used by later expeditions.