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

2006-12-07 page 30 of 67

Day 27: Low Margins of Safety in Strong Winds

We were up early this morning and off by 7:30. The sky was clear, the air was cold, of course, and the wind was whipping the spindrift into a fast-flowing river 6" deep.


In a ground blizzard, the snow's surface looks blurry except for the down-wind wake of my sled. In real life, the blurriness looks like a fast-flowing river.


Within the first half hour, instead of my face mask freezing to my beard and chin, as it usually does, it froze to my upper lip. My reaction when something freezes to my skin, is to pull it off immediately. Unfortunately a dime-sized scab came off my lip with the mask, so I was tasting blood for the next 15 minutes. This is just to say that we are having problems with our lips. Sunburn and frost nip, even though we try to cover them, they are having trouble healing because the scabs are always getting torn off. This is a minor infirmity though.

Another very minor infirmity, which is healing nicely, happened on Day 2, which we wrote about previously. We were caught in a terrific windstorm, in extremely cold temperatures. We should have made camp, but there was no place to camp because we were climbing a never-ending slope up to a pass. Hour after hour, until we finally found a place to camp at 9:00 p.m. This was the same wind storm in which I temporarily lost my overmitt.

As the result of that cold wind, we each got frostbite blisters on the front of our thighs. This is actually common with people in polar regions, especially in Antarctica where they are constantly dealing with headwinds.

We didn't notice it initially, but a few days later we had purple splotches that within a few days turned to white, dime-sized blisters. I had about a dozen, and Jenny had twice as many. The skin turned purple around the blisters, and then red. The camp doctor, Martin, carefully monitored our situation over the satellite phone to help ensure that the damaged areas did not become infected.


Mid-day, Jenny pulls out some cookie bars for lunch.

He also advised us to wear an extra layer of clothing on the thighs, which we have been doing since. In fact, with these cold winds of late, we have been wearing four layers: ski pants, 2 pair of thermal pants, and a thigh-sized layer of fleece sandwiched between the two layers of thermal pants. The affected skin is healing nicely but slowly; the blisters have turned to thick scabs that are sensitive to the touch.

As usual this morning, the terrain was quite challenging and the cold wind was so intense that it had us feeling that our margins were quite low. By that I mean, if anything happened out of the ordinary, we would have very little time to deal with it.

For example, Jenny's sled sliced one of her traces again, and it took both of us working furiously, wearing our thin liner gloves, to make a replacement piece, especially tying the knots. With stiff, cold fingers, it is very hard to do. One would not think this is such an emergency, but anything that requires stopping and taking off the overmitts is a big problem because we rely on the constant moving to generate warmth, and we rely on our ultra-thick overmitts to preserve warmth in our fingers.




The light is playing tricks again. Those mountains don't appear in any other photos taken that day.

This is not to say that the day was an epic, by any means. As long as there are no hang-ups with the gear, we are quite happy.

In fact, after climbing a long hill in the afternoon, we came to a plateau and we enjoyed a few hours of easier going.

The best time of day for us is when we haul into camp, pitch the tent and crawl in. It is very warm and relaxing in here.



Evening camp: S 84° 28.969' W 84° 54.892'

Today's mileage: 13.0 in 9.25 hrs.

The story has 67 pages. This is page 30.
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