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

2006-11-15 page 8 of 67

Day 5: The Wedge Design

Good day today. Ice fog and some white out, but minimal wind and relatively warm temperatures (-5C).

Yesterday we felt like we were going steeply uphill, which is why we were going so slowly. In fact for three days it has felt like dragging two tires uphill. Max cardio workout, all day with no rests. In those cold winds, to rest is to freeze. Today we gained a plateau, level "ground," and still we went slowly. In 8 hours we covered only 9.7 miles. (7.5 mi yesterday.) Yet it was easier today, and we enjoyed the day very much.

White out conditions are interesting to say the least. You cannot see the ground you are skiing on. As you step off a 1-foot ledge with a jolt, you wonder why you did not see it! As you run into a sastrugi and come to an abrupt halt, you wonder what was that?

Today Jenny took the lead, to give my eyes a rest from staring at the invisible horizon, and she did very well. But she soon grew tired, and started wandering off course. Way off course. In 25 feet she turned 45 degrees. Almost as if her boot was nailed to the floor. This happened several times.  

In a white out you can't see the wind lines in the snow, but normally you can. And because the wind normally blows in the same direction, the wind lines give a person a general idea of the heading. For more accuracy, I painted this wedge design on both skis. By maintaining a certain angle with the wind lines, in this case about 40 degrees, I know I am about on the right heading.



Jenny takes the lead.



I painted this wedge design on both skis. The method is fairly common, but the design is original. Each wedge represents 15 degrees on the compass. The wind lines are about 40 degrees from south, and I'm heading due south.

My wedge design also works on the sun-dial principle. The shadow of a ski pole moves 15 degrees an hour, so looking at my watch and noting what time it is, I could maintain a certain angle on the wedges and know that I was on course. After a few days of using the wedges, I no longer needed them. For the rest of the trip I simply judged the angle of my body's shadow in relation to the shadow of my outstretched arm. The shadows move 15 degrees in one hour. (15°x24 hours=360° full circle).


Taking a break in near-white-out conditions. The air is below freezing, but the lack of wind makes it seem much warmer. We need such thick mittens to keep our hands warm because they don't get much exercise. We wear vapor barrier liners under them, to keep the moisture out of the mittens, so they don't freeze solid.


Skiing without a face mask in warm weather. Enjoy it while it lasts  


After shoveling a pile of snow on the snow skirt, to hold the tent in place, I'm tying the solar panels to the tent. These solar panels worked at "night", and still put out some charge when the sky was cloudy.


It was Jenny's idea to name our pulks "Spirit" and "Opportunity" the Mars rovers, and I thought that everyone in the modern world knew what the names meant. I was rather dumbfounded when nobody in our circle of Antarctica friends had a clue. They did, however, know what Mars is.  


We have loaded the camping gear into the tent, and put the pulks in place, and now it's time to retire for the evening. Here we have tied the pulks to ski poles, to prevent loss in the event of a sudden blast of wind. But because we can't see them at night, through the closed door, we later started tying them to the tent.


Our night-time gear placed into the tent. We sleep with two pads under us, one inflatable, and one not.


Jenny acting silly wolfing down a stick of butter. Butter helps us stay warm, and we use it in our cooking; but sometimes we eat it raw, like a candy bar.

The sun circles around the horizon, about 15 degrees above the horizon; so the daylight persists throughout the night. And now it is "night" and time for bed.

Oh, and I forgot to mention the funniest story of today. In good weather we took our first sit-down rest of the trip, sitting on a pulk (sled). To make this possible we had to unhook the traces from our harnesses. When the rest was over, we stood up, put our ski pole straps on, and began to ski away. After 5 steps I always check the area. And what did I find that I had left behind? My pulk! Jenny was in stitches.

Evening camp: S 80° 41.466' W 81° 27.715'

The story has 67 pages. This is page 8.
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