Former longitudinal profiles of Hatherton Glacier, an outlet through the Transantarctic Mountains, constrain nearby polar plateau elevations and ice-shelf grounding in the southwestern Ross Embayment. Four gravel drift sheets of late Quaternary age beside Hatherton Glacier are, from youngest to oldest, Hatherton, Britannia I, Britannia II, and Danum. The Hatherton drift limit is uniformly 20 to 70 m above the present ice surface. The Britannia II drift limit is within 100 m of the present surface of uppermost Hatherton Glacier but is 450 m above middle Hatherton Glacier. Extrapolation of this profile downglacier indicates a surface elevation 1100 m above the present Ross Ice Shelf. The Britannia I drift limit is parallel to, but 50–100 m below, Britannia II drift. The Danum drift limit is parallel to, but 50–100 m above, the Britannia II profile. From correlation with drifts near McMurdo Sound and from local 14C dates, we assign an early Holocene age to Hatherton drift, a late Wisconsin age to Britannia drifts, and an age of marine isotope Stage 6 to Danum drift. By our age model, the upper reaches of Hatherton Glacier (and presumably the adjacent polar plateau) have not exceeded their current elevations by more than 100–150 m during the last two complete global glacial-interglacial cycles, whereas the middle and lower reaches of Hatherton Glacier have thickened considerably during the last two global glaciations (late Wisconsin and marine isotope Stage 6). The effect of ice-shelf grounding probably was the major control of these changes of Hatherton Glacier. Holocene ice-surface lowering probably represents the last pulse of grounding-line recession in the southwestern Ross Embayment.