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

2006-12-04 page 27 of 67

Day 24: A Packman Game

Today we are progressing beyond the beginner junkyard, to the intermediate level with the addition of a frigid south wind blowing at 20 mph and a black, stormy sky. Yes, and the white out.

photo

Making our way in white out conditions.

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Hard to imagine, but Jenny can't see what's around her feet. In a white out, you can see your partner ok, and the snow around them, and your sleds and the snow around them. But nothing else. The terrain around your own feet is essentially invisible.

photo

Jenny: And like the Packman game, no matter which way you turn, the sastrugi is there to get you. In fact, I had one particular spill where the sastrugi nearly ate me for lunch, and I needed Ray's help to get me extricated. Are we having fun yet?

During the morning we took hourly turns leading, but Ray took over leading throughout the afternoon after my nasty fall.

After each spill I would pick myself up with a grunt, look ahead to Ray, who waited patiently, and resolve not to fall down again. Ray has not slipped once. He is so solid on his skis, even while maneuvering through the giant sastrugi.

After 8 hours, Ray suggested we quit early. He knew I was tired and I appreciated his concern. But where would we find a flat spot for the tent amidst this white out chaos? True to form, Ray skied right up to a perfect spot and declared us home for the day.

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Home for the evening.

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Taking a wind reading for the daily call to Base Camp.

Ray: The conditions are particularly challenging this year, and I'm sure all the other expeditions will have their stories as well. With the strong, near-constant headwinds, and the deeply pockmarked terrain, we are certainly getting our moneys worth. Normally, with fairly flat terrain, a white out is merely a inconvenience. But a white out in deep and ubiquitous sastrugi is another matter altogether.

"I have fleeting moments where I think this is outrageous, but the vast majority of time I am enjoying this trip to the max."

Jenny is new to ski trips and winter camping, so she is on the learning curve and doing extremely well.

I too have my fleeting moments where I think this is outrageous, but the vast majority of time I am enjoying this trip to the max. Skiing to the South Pole has long been a dream of mine, and I am just so pleased to have the opportunity to be here. The harsh conditions are just part of the job description.

In these last three weeks we are adapting well, although every day brings new challenges. So we are both on a steep learning curve. Regardless of the conditions, Jenny is always the first one out of the tent in the morning, and I haven't heard one word of complaint the entire trip. As far as adventurers are concerned, she is absolutely top-rate. Her grit and determination have to be seen to be believed, and I see it every day.

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Smile for the camera.

Evening camp: S 83° 55.670' W 84° 02.095'

Today's mileage: 9.3 in 8 hrs

Temperature: -12C

The story has 67 pages. This is page 27.
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