Raimond Goerler on: Byrd's Condition at Advance Base
Q: Does he make a note about his condition in his weather diary? How bad
does it get for him and why?
RG: The conditions are very brutal in Advance Base. You're looking at outside
temperatures sometimes minus 70, the temperatures in the shack are quite
uncomfortable. They're made even more uncomfortable when Byrd discovers or
thinks he discovers that he's being poisoned from the stove and has to reduce
the amount of heat from the stove, shut off the stove at night and suffer the
severe cold because he realizes that he's going to die of poisoning. If he
keeps the heat on, he also reduces the light for the same reason to try to keep
carbon monoxide fumes out of his shelter and we do have a meteorological log
that Byrd kept daily and in the period, May 30th to June 4th, there's an
apology in that log, in which Byrd states that "my physical is quite desperate"
and in this case he was apologizing for the lack of a daily entry in that
Q: He's floating in and out of consciousness and calls himself a fool on a
fool's errand, do you think he was?
RG: I don't think Advance Basewas a fool's errand at all. Byrd new exactly
what he was doing and needed to do so to make the Second Expedition viable.
Keep in mind that Second Expedition is not financed fully at first. He's
dependent on revenues after the expedition so you know that expedition needs to
have a public success, a public drama. Knowing what we know of Byrd, he was
not a person to put himself foolishly at risk. This was a circumstance that
developed unexpectedly and one that almost cost him his life.