Day 49: Skiing in the Tropic of Antarctica
The wind was 10-12 knots (at times) northwest for most of the morning. In the afternoon the wind quit, the sun came out, and the temperature increased to a balmy minus 12 degrees C.
We carry our water bottles in thick insulated stowbags so the water doesn't re-freeze. And these stowbags stay in our sleds.
For the technically minded, we have cut the eye openings of the face masks extra large to reduce sweating under the goggles. Note the icicle hanging from the scarf.
Skiing in the Tropic of Antarctica.
For the first time on this trip I was able to ski without my face mask on. (This lasted only 20 minutes or so, and wasn't a luxury but a necessity to reduce sweating.) We both wore our dark glasses today instead of goggles because they handle the fogging problem better in warm weather.
Also, for the first time on this trip we enjoyed a leisurely, sit-down lunch (sharing a bowl of granola), without feeling very cold.
In the late afternoon the wind piped up to 2 or 3 knots and that suddenly ended the feeling that we were in the tropics. It's amazing how little wind it takes to let you know you are back in Antarctica.
Ice crystals in the upper atmosphere making the sun appear much larger.
This photo is out of focus but it does show how I melt the ice from my face mask every evening, by laying it on top of the lidded pot that is melting snow.
We heard during our evening call to Base Camp the belated news that the British RAF "Southern Reach" team had to be evacuated. This had happened six days ago, a few miles east of our present location. One or more members of the team experienced serious frostbite during their first day of travel, and subsequent cold spells worsened their condition. info. This was the same storm that had frost nipped our legs. And the staff at Base Camp had warned all of us not to travel in such conditions.
Evening camp: S 88° 19.581' W 85° 37.077'
Today's mileage: 11.6 in 10.5 hrs
Altitude: 8870 ft., Temperature: -12C