Sunday, October 8, 2017

A Winter Wonderland to Explore and Running the Skiway Part 1

A few weeks ago Les, the heavy equipment operator, had the area around the trash yacht cleared and flat. The last two weeks of storms and whiteouts has made the drifts larger than all season.


The snow level is almost piled up to the first floor. This was also flat and level two weeks ago. 

Destination Zulu (DZ) - the most often used exit/entry. The station is designed to elevate from the pilings. In two years the station will be lifted due to accumulated snow.

DZ Cargo deck with crane.

My ice friend (friends that we meet in Antarctica) Matt that I wintered with in McMurdo 2012 has for the past few years followed my daughter Jocelyn and my
 world bicycle ride. He spent the summer here at the Pole and I relieved him in February. Each year he sent us two calendars with various bike ride pictures from our blog. October is another fine month of pictures using lake pictures with Jocelyn and my wife Andee from Banff National Park in the Canadian Rockies, me at a spectacular waterfall in Chile and a great picture of Jocelyn and my son Cary. This is very appropriate with all of my family in October since next month we will all be together again. Thanks Matt for all the calendars.

Before I left Florida for the South Pole I had only one day to shop and pack for my nine month adventure. I splurged on this bag of candy and saved it unopened most of the season. Two weeks ago I broke down and opened this jumbo bag. I am rationing these M&M's to last until November 4th when I leave the South Pole. 
The South Pole Skiway is 12,000 feet long and 200 feet wide.

I am back running outside on the skiway. The temp was -66F with a windchill of -81F. I was dressed in four layers and outside for over an hour but didn't get cold as long as I was moving. Now I know how a dog with hair covering his face feels like. It's hard to see but the ice forms a warm barrier.

Les is doing a fine job preparing the skiway for station opening.The Dark Science Labs are in the background. That's an antenna behind the tractor.

Sastrugi is fascinating to me. Wind eroded snow that looks like waves. Sastrugi is found in the polar regions of the earth.

The aerodynamics are simply amazing. The eroded ends/points are so fragile but due to aerodynamics they have formed and lasted the brutal winter winds.

Back in front of Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station.

Underneath the station. The station is built on pilings that can be raised as the ice builds. Small sleds to the right.
Running at the South Pole

Several more sastrugi pix.

The following day was more windy so I didn't get as far. I got a little frostnip near my eye. My work antenna domes in the background.

Les taking advantage of the good weather with long grooming days on the skiway. After our sunrise we didn't see the sun for 12 days, including four whiteout days. It was brutal.

The summer crew will spent the entire summer season, about three weeks pushing the winter accumulated snow out to "no man's land" as it never melts. 

The entrance to the vehicle maintenance facility and logistics. Power plant exhaust to the left.
This is what it looked like in February. 

No wake zone near DZ entrance.

1 comment:

  1. Hello Mike,
    Your pictures are so impressive and they share the best part of the clear days, although so cold, they look enchanting. I know i wouldn't think about running outside, or inside for that matter, but it does look good on you! Hope the frost nip is not a permanent scar. I guess if you have your fingers and toes when you return we can be grateful. I know you are enjoying those M-n-Ms and we can find more when you return. In fact, we all know you can spend a lot when you feel the urge to stock up! Cary has lots of greens and maybe tomatoes when you get home! Enjoy your friends and keep writing entries on this blog!
    Love always, andee