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

2007-01-01 page 55 of 67

Day 52: Showers and laundry perhaps? No chance

Today was gorgeous. Blue sky, fairly smooth terrain, and no wind. What more could a couple of polar explorers ask for? Showers and laundry perhaps?

No chance, until we reach civilization, which for me, if all goes well, will be in 25 more days. This is part one of this trip to Antarctica: skiing to the South Pole. That done, Jenny is planning to return home. Look for Ray-Way Products to re-open soon thereafter. I have a couple of more projects in mind. For one, I am slated to join four others on an attempt to climb Antarctica's highest mountain, Mt. Vinson. More on this later.

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With the lack of wind and the sun shining brightly, the morning was quite warm. We skied without our ski jackets, and I did not wear my face mask. Never mind the frost build-up on our long underwear (it looks like snow); we were quite comfortable.

photo

With an absence of wind, the surface of the snow looks burnished. And everywhere you look you find interesting designs and patterns.

At 1:00 pm we were ready for our sit-down bowl of granola when the wind started to blow lightly from the southwest. Five minutes later we were sitting on Jenny's sled in full expedition wear, including ski jacket with the fur hoods up, and our insulated jackets, reserved for the coldest of times. It was a quick lunch.

"People living in New England might not realize that the South Pole is over three thousand feet higher that Mount Washington."

All day we seemed to be climbing. We are now over 9,000 feet. That means we have reached the Polar Plateau, and have climbed about 9,000 feet from PH Base.

Just a thought, but people living in New England might not realize that the South Pole is over three thousand feet higher that Mount Washington. Another interesting fact: the ice sheet over the South Pole is about 9,000 feet thick! Buried under the ice, the land under the South Pole is near sea level. It makes one wonder what Global Warming could do, if left unchecked. That is a lot of water to add to the oceans.

All afternoon the clouds grew thicker. Then just before quitting time the light went flat. Selecting a campsite in flat light is a guessing game. You don't really know if the ground is flat or sloped one way or the other; or how rough it is. You can't tell anything about it. Today's site turned out to be deep, soft snow.

We pitched the tent, set it aside, then packed the area firm, stomping it with our boots. At least shoveling the snow onto the snow skirt was easy. Normally I have to chop frozen snow and cover the skirt in blocks.

With the present weather system, the temperature has climbed to minus 11 degrees C. So the tent is not too cold inside, despite the lack of solar heating.

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The ski poles are almost to the hilt in the soft snow.

Tonight I discovered that I must have bumped my compass declination out of adjustment four or five ago. It has been reading eight degrees to the east ever since. So we're currently 4.5 miles off course. Fortunately I discovered this now. It would be most embarrassing to miss the pole and continue across the continent.

Countdown to the pole: 77 miles.

Evening camp: S 88° 51.684' W 84° 20.329'

Today's mileage: 12.1

Altitude: 9090 ft., Temperature: -11C

The story has 67 pages. This is page 55.
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