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

Skiing to South Pole

Fierce Winds, Ultra-Cold Temperatures

Adventures in Antarctica

58 days, 700 mi, Nov 2006 - Jan 2007

Ray & Jenny Jardine

2006-12-06 page 29 of 67

Day 26: Frozen Cameras

The wind blew hard all night, and at wake-up time we decided to sleep in. Fortunately, it calmed to manageable proportions (25 knots) two hours later. So we quickly did our morning routine (light the stove, melt snow for the day's drinking water, get dressed, put everything away, while Jenny loads the sleds I shovel snow off the snow flaps, then we un-pitch the tent and stow it in my sled).

So it wasn't until 9:00 am when we started skiing. Better late than never.



The morning was cold and windy, -21 C with 25 knot wind. The sky was clear but the sun didn't seem to be doing its job.

The terrain was rough, rough, rough. And at one point we encountered a batch of sastrugi so menacing, that in a white out I doubt we could have negotiated it.

The hours passed slowly but steadily. We switched leads every so often to break the monotony.

Number 1: Monotony of looking at the back end of the other person's sled.

Or, number 2: Looking at nothing but sastrugi ahead and off to the sides.

At least with 1, you are free to relax from the constant route finding.

For the record, back in Punta I through-bolted the sled runners at their aft ends because I could see that the design was flawed and that the runners would likely pull off at the first opportunity. This is exactly what has happened. Two runners have separated at the aft end but my though-bolting has stopped them from separating altogether. So we are looking fine at the moment.

This is what happened to Rune's Acapulka sled in Antarctica last year. Before I submitted my order to Alex, the builder in Norway, he assured me he had fixed the problem. But now I realize that did not remedy the problem.

While on the subject of these Acapulka sleds, the drilled-out holes in the stainless-steel attachment tangs, that the traces tie to, had not been chamfered (de-burred) so these holes have sharp edges which are cutting our traces. The first trace cut loose on Day-2 on the epic evening. The fourth one cut loose today. I now have a system of loops, so that when one begins to cut through, I simply shift the cord so it rides on a fresh spot.

Again with the sleds, the Dragonfly model is intended for kiting. It is wide and short, so it resists tipping over. This sounded good in theory, but in practice the sled does not track very well, because it is too short for its width. In ice or frozen snow, which is most of the time for us, It fish-tails with every step, side to side, like a skier doing parallel turns to slow down. We don't need our sleds to slow down, but that's what they do.

With these minor peeves aside, we had an excellent day, but today's update contains no photos because both our cameras froze right off the bat. We wear two insulating shirts under our ski parkas and today we both carried our cameras between the two layers, and it always amazes us to pull out a camera and have it covered with ice.

  *   *

I am writing this later, and I will put it here, on this page, because I don't remember which day it happened. Jenny doesn't remember the incident at all. We had finished skiing for the day, and had just pitched our tent. The winds were strong, like always, and our number one priority was to never let go of the tent until I have buried the skirt with snow to hold the tent in place. I always have the tent anchored with my ski poles on the windward end, but the force of the wind on the tent could, possibly, pull the poles out of the snow. So I don't like to take any chances. So while I am digging snow, and covering the skirt, Jenny is supposed to stand on the windward side of the tent and hang on to it. But on this evening, instead of holding on to the tent, Jenny fainted and fell over, onto her back. Lights out. I knew instantly what had happened, and that it was not a matter of life and death. And I could not stop shoving snow until I had piled enough on the skirt so the tent would not blow away. This took me less that one minute. Then I came to Jenny's aid, and right then she came to. She asked me what had happened, and I helped her up and directed her to crawl into the tent. She seemed OK, so I handed her the foam pads, and then the rest of the gear. Once inside the tent, Jenny was her usual self. This was the only time it happened.

Evening camp: S 84° 17.858' W 84° 35.209'

Today's mileage: 13.0 in 9 hrs

Temperature: -21 C

The story has 67 pages. This is page 29.
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