Chapter 6 A Bad Start
On August 23rd,the Norwegians'sledges were ready.They took them outside,and the dogs pulled them across me ice.The sun came up for half an hour,but it was too cold：－46°Centigrade.They could not travel in that weather.They went back to Framheim and waited.
They waited two weeks,until September 8th.Then,with the temperature at－37°Centigrade,they started.They ran happily across the snow to the south—eight men,seven sledges,and eighty-six dogs.Only Lindstrom,the cook,stayed behind in Framheim.
At first everything went well.They went twenty-eight kilo-metres on Saturday,and twenty-eight kilometres on Sunday.It was easy.Then,on Monday,the temperature went down to－56°Centigrade.There was white fog in front of their faces.They couldn't see anything.But they travelled twenty-eight kilometres.
That night,in their tents,they nearly died of cold.Next day,they stopped and made snow houses. Inside the snow houses,it was warm.But everyone was unhappy.
"I told you,Roald!"Johansen said."Even September is too early!We can't travel in this cold.Do you want us to die? Let's go back and wait for better weather."
Amundsen was very angry.He was angry with Johansen,buthe was angry with himself,too.He knew Johansen was right.
"All right,"he said slowly."We can go on to the depot at 80°South,leave the food there,and then go back.We can't do more than that."
It was thirty-seven kilometres to the depot.The wind was in their faces all day.Two dogs died on the way.At the depot,they did not stop.They put out the food and the flags,turned round,and went north.
At last the wind was behind them.The dogs ran quickly,and the men sat on the empty sledges.They went faster and faster.It was like a race.Amundsen was on Wisting's sledge,and soon he, Wisting, and Hanssen were three or four kilometres in front.Soon they were alone.They travelled seventy-five kilo-metres in nine hours,and they reached Framheim at four o'clock that afternoon.
Bjaaland arrived two hours later,with two more men.But the last two—Johansen and Prestrud—went more slowly.Their dogs were tired,their feet were wet and cold,they had no food,and they were alone in the dark.The temperature was－51°Centigrade.They reached Framheim at midnight.
Next morning,Johansen was angry.In front of everyone,he said："You were wrong, Roald. September was too early.I told you but you didn't listen.And then you left us alone and we nearly died in the cold!You're a bad captain—I'm a better captain than you are!"
Amundsen was very angry.But at first he said nothing,be-cause he knew that Johansen was right.Then,that evening,he gave a letter to Johansen.It said：
You aren't coming to the Pole with me.When I go south,you can take some dogs and go east to King Edward Ⅶ Land.You can go with Prestrud and Stubberud.You can be the first men to go there—but not to the South Pole!
The Norwegians stayed in Framheim and waited.They lay in bed,listened to the wind outside,and thought about Scott and his motor sledges.