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

2006-12-15 page 38 of 67

Day 35: Difficult Terrain

photo

Seriously difficult terrain

Another slow day, and this time without the excuse of the white out. Difficult terrain. Seriously difficult terrain.

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Finding a "street" and climbing onto it, we have smooth skiing for a while, until the street fades out.

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The streets are elevated above the surrounding terrain a few feet, and this was our view to one side, looking west.

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Heading momentarily off-course for the next street.

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Climbing onto a street. The weather is good, so Jenny has little bags of cookie bars and other snacks riding handy on her sled, for quick access.

It seems that whenever we get within five miles of a mountain, downwind, the sastrugi have a field day. This time it was Lewis mountain and the expanse of low lying mountains to the south of it. This will be our last mountains from here, all the way to the pole, so we will have to come up with a new excuse next time.

Our present excuse is the three days we lost, more or less, detouring to the Thiels resupply. To reach this resupply, we had to go a few days, not south - which very generally is the direction of easiest travel because that is where the wind comes from, forming smooth "streets," but SSW rendering the streets unusable because we invariably had to cross them diagonally to stay on our heading. Normally this would not be a problem, but not this year of the monster sastrugi.

Then when we departed the resupply area, the route put us downwind of the mountains where the sastrugi were severe.

So the problem, at least this year, is the resupply is in the wrong place for us. It should have been directly south of PH or Foxy Pass.

photo

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The weather is good, so we enjoy a real sit-down lunch break. We have taken off our face masks and goggles for the photo. Even in good weather, the goggles are essential for preventing snow blindness, and to protect the eyes from the wind and piercing cold.

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Looking due north, back the way we had come. Nice weather, but still windy.

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Looking down on a sharp-edged sastrugi. It's about three feet tall.

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The reason I pile so much snow on the skirt is that I don't want to have to get up in the night, get all the expedition clothes on, and go out into a sudden storm to do the job right a second time.

Early this morning we encountered another problem. Upon rising we lit the stove, and because there wasn't any wind, we had to open both tent doors wide for ventilation. This was the first time that we had to do that, and it made the inside of the tent very cold, even with the stove going.

The stove was not going full blast, because of dirty fuel, so the whole ordeal of cooking oatmeal and melting water reeked of fumes. We couldn't even finish, so we had to go short on water today. Even then, we almost made ourselves sick. In fact, we were sick for several hours.

The company (ANI) is the sole supplier of the stove fuel used on these expeditions. They use Coleman fuel in one gallon cans, and at 65 dollars a gallon, one might expect brand new fuel in unopened cans. They buy some new each year, but also they use the dregs leftover from previous expeditions, and what-not. And unfortunately, they had not filtered the leftovers of the fuel we got, so we never knew what we might find when opening a can. We have seen clean fuel; and we have seen fuel contaminated with water and grunge. The most recent can we opened had black-colored fuel mold in it.

Unfortunately, we did not bring a fuel filter, but will have to improvise one tomorrow because I have had to dismantle and clean the stove almost every-other-day to keep it running.

Tonight I cleaned the stove yet again, and it is running beautifully for the moment, with minimal fumes. We are lying here like a couple of fat and happy cats in our warm tent.

I forgot to mention today's weather - it was very nice, some clouds, some sun, 5 to 10 knots of south wind, a bit cold at the rest stops. The scenery was absolutely breathtaking every time we turned around to view the mountains receding in the distance to the north.

Evening camp: S 85° 48.827' W 86° 39.556'

Today's mileage: 10.3

Altitude: 5515 ft., Temperature: -16 C

The story has 67 pages. This is page 38.
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