As you stand in the still cold air you may sometimes hear the silence broken by the sharp reports as the cold contracts or its own weight splits it. Nature is tearing up that ice as human beings tear paper.
Cherry, on finding crevasses in the dark during the Winter Journey:
We began to realize, now that our eyes were more or less out of action, how much we could do with our feet and ears. The effect of walking in finnesko [booties] is much the same as walking in gloves, and you get a sense of touch which nothing else except bare feet could give you…. soon we began to rely more and more upon the sound of our footsteps to tell us whether we were on crevasses or solid ground.
Later, in daylight, on the giant Beardmore Glacier:
The day really lives in my memory because of the troubles of Keohane. He fell into crevasses to the full length of his harness eight times in twenty-five minutes. Little wonder he looked a bit dazed. And Atkinson went down into one chasm head foremost: the worst crevasse fall I’ve ever seen. But luckily the shoulder straps of his harness stood the strain and we pulled him up little the worse.
Bowers, the expedition superman and the third occupant of Scott’s last tent:
As a rule the centre of a bridged crevasse is the safest place, the rotten places are at the edges. We had to go over dozens by hopping right on to the ice. It is a bit of a jar when it gives way under you, but the friendly harness is made to trust one’s life to. The Lord only knows how deep these vast chasms go down, they seem to extend into blue black nothingness thousands of feet below.
And Scott himself, who had to be persuaded out after descending to rescue two fallen dogs:
While we were getting him up the sixty odd feet to which we had lowered him he kept muttering: ‘I wonder why this is running the way it is – you expect to find them at right angles,’ and when down the crevasse he wanted to go off exploring, but we managed to persuade him that the snow-ledge upon which he was standing was utterly unsafe, and indeed we could see the nothingness below through the blue holes in the shelf.