OTD in 1909, Shackleton was 33 miles from his waiting ship in the Ross Sea. When he set out to reach the South Pole in November, he left orders that Nimrod should sail if his team hadn't returned by February 28th. Now one of his men had collapsed. He refused to give up.
Leaving Lt. Adams to care for the team's physician, Eric Marshall, Shackleton set out with Frank Wild.
Their hearts must have sunk as they struggled across the final stretch, a one-thousand-foot glacier, there was no ship in the harbor. At an abandoned hut, they found a note. The ship had sailed two days earlier to find better shelter up the coast.
"With the strength of mind, optimism, and determination that characterized his best moments, Shackleton refused to give in to despair despite all the evidence pointing to doom." (Shackleton's Way)
Their fingers too frozen to hoist a flag, they managed to light a fire to signal the ship. Against all odds, the fire was spotted.
When the ship reached the harbor, Wild collapsed into a bunk. Shackleton organized a relief party and set off with the fresh men to rescue Marshall and Adams.
Returning to the ship, Marshall, Adams and the the relief party collapsed into their bunks. Shackleton went to the bridge and conned the ship out to sea.
Wild, Shackleton, Marshall, Adams aboard Nimrod.