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

2006-12-25 page 48 of 67

Day 45: Perils of Crossing a Body-Heat Rubicon

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We encountered large sastrugi for most of the morning.

Today's wind: 10 mph NE. Sky: mostly cloudy with cirrus. Sastrugi: yes. Today's challenge: the cold.

We have noticed that the temperature can rise or fall significantly within a few hours, and such was the case today. In the morning, the temp was -20C with 5 mph winds. A few hours later a new system moved in, and the temperature dropped like a rock.

We realized the temperature was dropping, but because the wind was blowing northeast we didn't feel the extra cold on our faces, like we normally do in headwinds. The wind was blowing at our backs, essentially. So I had unzipped my ski parka, pulled the hood down, and removed my neck gaiter - all in an attempt to clear the ice and fog from my goggles.

Getting through the sastrugi was a tough job, and we were working hard. So I thought I was keeping warm, despite the open jacket and the temperature drop. Mainly I was concentrating on getting through the sastrugi, and not thinking about my body. We estimated the temperature dropped to minus 30 C. And still I was doing everything to try to clear the goggles.

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It came time to stop to drink water and eat a few snacks, and that is when I realized I was beginning to chill. We resumed skiing, but for the next hour I could not warm up my hands, feet, or body. I could not generate enough heat.

This was not a big problem, but I learned something from it - about the margins of safety, and how close we are to them. I had crossed my Rubicon, body heat wise. In retrospect I could have prevented that by bundling up before the rest stop.

After that hour of feeling uncomfortable, I remembered something from our CDT hike, years ago, in much the same situation. Back then we had kept warm by nibbling small candies. So we did that today, and the effect today was almost immediate. End of the problem.

Jenny experienced an incident also, mid-afternoon when we stopped for our only sit-down rest, to eat a few quick bites of granola. The wind had piped up to 10. We had been sitting there for five minutes when Jenny crossed her body-heat Rubicon. While putting the food away she lost function in her hands. Without the hands you are pretty useless out here. You can't even get your mittens back on.

I quickly pulled her jacket out of her sled, and helped her put in on. I suggested we make camp immediately; but she wanted to get moving. I sheltered her from the wind and tucked her hands (still wearing her inner gloves) under my armpits. That was enough to get her hands functioning and within ten minutes of skiing she was back to normal. The lesson here was when you stop, put on more clothes, and in such cold temperatures keep the rest breaks short, no more than a couple of minutes.

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Quite cold this afternoon.

Late afternoon we were warm and happy as we climbed a long hill. As we got higher, the scenery expanded. The sun was shining, and the white and silvery landscape rolling into the distance was extraordinary beautiful.

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Icicle blob formed inside my face mask and running down my chin. This is all condensed breath, and is stuck to my mask. I had to melt most of it, in order to remove the mask from my head, because the beard is firmly embedded in the ice.

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The double sun.

Snug and warm inside the tent, we had another visit from Santa's helpers. They brought cake and a bag of chocolates!

Evening camp: S 87° 38.382' W 86° 39.812'

Today's mileage: 12.8

Altitude: 8230 ft., Temperature in camp: -22C

The story has 67 pages. This is page 48.
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