Contents
  Title Page
  Preparations Arizona USA
  Preparations Punta Arenas, Chile
  Day 1: Antarctica!
  Day 2: First Taste of the Wind
  Day 3: Close Call
  Day 4: A Beautiful Day
  Day 5: The Wedge Design
  Day 6: Circle of Survivability
  Day 7: Mountains to our West
  Day 8: Skiing in a White out
  Day 9: Jenny Unleashed
  Day 10: Face Mask Freezing to the Nose
  Day 11: Howling Winds and Rough Terrain
  Day 12: Sledging away from the Maritime Influence
  Day 13: Rocking out
  Day 14: Frozen Face Mask
  Day 15: Coldest and Windiest Place on Earth
  Day 16: Skiing on Frozen Rubble
  Day 17: Tracks!
  Day 18: Slogging into Fierce Headwinds
  Day 19: First Sponge Bath
  Day 20: Playing in the Junkyard
  Day 21: Three Weeks, One-Third of the Distance
  Day 22: Playing in the Junkyard, Part 2
  Day 23: The otherworldly Glowing Blue Light
  Day 24: A Packman Game
  Day 25: The vision must be kept
  Day 26: Frozen Cameras
  Day 27: Low Margins of Safety in Strong Winds
  Day 28: Anomalies in the flat Antarctica myth
  Day 29: Thiels Mountains Visible in the Distance
  Day 30: The Half-Way Point
  Day 31: Mid-Journey Resupply
  Day 32: Sastrugi on top of Sastrugi
  Day 33: Skiing Alongside the Thiels
  Day 34: White Out and Mild-Mannered Sastrugi
  Day 35: Difficult Terrain
  Day 36: Cameras Frozen All Day
  Day 37: Alone in an Immense Wilderness
  Day 38: Warm weather and sleds are dragging hard
  Day 39: Climbing to the Polar Plateau
  Day 40: The Disappearing Hill
  Day 41: Extreme Fun
  Day 42: Seven Down, Three to Go
  Day 43: If your ski tips have no shadow, stop quick!
  Day 44: A Strange Object Flies Overhead
  Day 45: Perils of Crossing a Body-Heat Rubicon
  Day 46: Inspired to Greater Heights
  Day 47: Antarctica's Double Sun
  Day 48: Eight Degrees Down, Two To Go
  Day 49: Skiing in the Tropic of Antarctica
  Day 50: The Sun and its Antics
  Day 51: Short Antarctic Summers Wait for No One
  Day 52: Showers and laundry perhaps? No chance
  Day 53: Gaining the Polar Plateau
  Day 54: Good Weather, Fairly Flat Terrain
  Day 55: Climbing the Same Hill for Three Days
  Day 56: Cold but Very Pretty
  Day 57: Gorgeous Weather, Enjoyable Day
  Day 58: Almost There
  Day 59: The Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station
  The Flight to Patriot Hills
  Patriot Hills
  Mount Vinson
  Patriot Hills
  Aconcagua

Skiing to South Pole

Fierce Winds, Ultra-Cold Temperatures

Adventures in Antarctica

58 days, 700 mi, Nov 2006 - Jan 2007

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2006-11-23 page 16 of 67

Day 13: Rocking out

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Taking a wind reading.

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Jenny's compass mounted on her forearm.

Good day today. We broke camp in 25 mph winds thinking today will be another windy one, but after sledging for half an hour the wind dropped to near zero. In another half hour it was back to 25. And so the day went, up and down. Note: Jenny carries a wind meter in her pocket.

With me in the lead, I tried to go around the worst of the sastrugi to the right because the route looked better over there. After I had done that, the route still looked much better to the right. That is when I realized the light was playing tricks, and the sastrugi was probably the same everywhere. So I headed straight through. This we did most of the day and it worked well, saving us innumerable detours.

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Rocking out. We each carry our music players in two zip-locks hung on our backs. We are always bucking headwinds, and if we carried the players on our front sides, they would freeze and quit working. But our backs are more protected from the cold blast, so it is a warmer place to carry them.

The afternoon was a joy, with good weather, expansive scenery, and good speed and progress. The terrain never ceases to amaze us, with it's beautiful and infinite variations caused by, not water, but wind erosion. Every square meter is a sculpture.

The lifeless landscape reminds me of Mars. I had no part in Jenny's painting the name Spirit on my sled, and Opportunity on her sled. But these names sure fit now.

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Finally getting away from that mountain. It's been on the horizon for a week.

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Skiing over a patch of ice. The snow consistency is not uniform across the surface, but varies from place to place, from soft snow to hard ice. Its difficult to ski on hard ice, because the skis can't get a grip, even though we have skins on the underside of the skis. And its even more difficult to ski on soft slow, because the pulks drag even harder. Fortunately for us, the consistency has been about right, at least for skiing. When it comes time to make camp, we have to be very careful to pick the right spot. More on that later in the story.

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Lunch stop, Jenny pulling out her insulated jacket.

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At our lunch stop I've got my hood pulled down, in order to cool off. Just kidding. But it's difficult to eat with a face mask loaded with ice on the inside. The ice is from my breath.

Towards the end of the day we wandered into a valley with sastrugi so large that we could not maintain our heading without detouring every which way.

Once at the bottom of the valley, we had a long climb up the next hill. Then, once at the top we had super impressive views looking back.

This ice moves about 20 inches per year, so this hill and valley is probably caused by the tip of a mountain buried a short ways below the surface, and the ice flowing around it. Like a large rock out in the middle of a slow moving river causing a massive slow wave.

At the bottom of the valley we crossed our second degree, so tonight's camp is 82 and counting. That means we have eight more degrees of latitude to reach the South Pole at 90 °.

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Writing the evening update. In the tent it's much warmer than outside, by as much as 50 degrees or more. The reason our tent is so warm, is first, because the air, here, is so much drier than it was near the coast, where the humidity made the cold extremely penetrating. Secondly, we have learned, through a great deal of trial and error, to manage our warmth. We pitch the tent with the doors on each end facing the wind; then we un-zip each door part-way, to let in just the right amount of ventilation to permit using the stove inside the tent without the fumes causing asphyxiation, and to prevent the steam from building inside. The wind is usually blowing hard outside. Without the wind, we could not use a stove inside. And finally, and most importantly, our tent is dark green in color to maximize solar heating. The sun stays above the horizon, so the solar warmth comes through all "night." The dark green color is also much easier on the eyes.

As I write this in the tent, we are enjoying our third cuppa and a large pot of oatmeal. Outside, it is blowing 25 knots again, and the temp is well below freezing, as usual. One unexpected advantage of my modification to this tent is it does not shake and rattle in the wind. So it is quiet inside.

Today's mileage: 14.7

The story has 67 pages. This is page 16.
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