Friday 23 August 2013

Winter Trip No 2 - Friday

On the way back near the pass, the other
two out on their trip are climbing a new route.

The weather is supposed to get quite bad in the next couple of days so we had to leave today. We got up, had manfood for breakfast (all-day breakfast) and de-camped afterwards (took the camp down and packed everything onto the sledges). Then we drove back. On the way, Steve placed new flags to mark the way through the pass as the old ones were getting quite buried. Other than that stupid me lost the GPS on the way (I was concentrating too much on staying

Steve putting new flags out in the pass.

the right distance to the sledge in front of me so the line would not get pulled by me... oh well, shit happens). Driving up on the other side of the pass was quite exciting as we had to get enough speed to be able to tow the sledges up which was quite a bit faster than we usually drive!
On the way we stopped at Orca crevasse as I had not been in it yet. However, we were not able to get very far as the roof had dropped quite a bit and it was not safe to venture into it anymore. It was still pretty impressive.
We got back home later in the afternoon. What a week! We were so lucky with the weather. No days of lie up is pretty rare. And on top of that we had hardly any wind and cloud either! 

Me on the skidoo. (Photo: Steve)

Photo: Steve

Scrambling down the crevasse. (Photo: Steve)

Scrambling out of the crevasse.
Rather less elegant, but I got out. (Photo: Steve)

View from the top of the crevasse.

View from the top of the crevasse.

Thursday 22 August 2013

Winter Trip No 2 - Thursday

Yay. Made it to the top (Photo: Steve)

We got up around 8am to leave for Snow Ditte. AND I DID IT! Took us about 2 hours to get up and 1 hour to get back down. It wasn’t anywhere as difficult and scary as I thought it would be. We had an awesome view from the top (even spotted Rothera in the distance) and some refreshments. However, we soon had to leave as there was a slight very chilly breeze on the top. When we stopped on the way down, I nearly forgot my ice-axe (we had to go a short bit back up – whoopsie). Just for your information, Snow Ditte is 1309m high.

We had a lazy afternoon after getting back to the tent with Ministerone, Sudoku, knitting (yes, part of

Lazy time!

my cardigan which is still not finished, has been knitted in a tent in Antarctica) and my music (poor Steve, most of it was in German ...). Only downside was, that the battery of my kindle was empty, but hejho – survived that as well. The evening was just as lazy with port and wine. For dinner we had

quite a creation: rice, tuna, sweet paprika, cashews and some kind of sauce. For dessert we had some of the cakes which I had made (for the Germans: Amerikaner).

I nearly forgot to mention that we discovered that it is indeed possible to freeze red wine. The bottles which were on the side of the tent popped open (the cork came out) and the wine was frozen solid. So wine must freeze somewhere around -20 degrees...

Tomorrow, it is home time already :( Might need a holiday after this holiday ;)

Rothera in the distance, half hidden by the mountain. (Photo: Steve)

On the way up, still a long way to go. (Photo: Steve)

Little break on the way. (Photo: Steve)

Happy <(") (Photo: Steve)

And that is where we went up, up to the right of the rocks, over the hump to the peak.

Wednesday 21 August 2013

Winter Trip No 2 - Wednesday

The bit in the middle is the
Barre Mangin Cole.
View from the top :)

Another late start to the day (I guess this time we had an excuse though). Last night it got down to minus 20 degrees! We had a lazy day in order to recover from yesterday (I was surprised that I was not as sore as I expected to be ...). However, Steve said it is important to get some exercise done (plus spending such a gorgeous day in the tent would be a shame), so we ended up walking up the Barre Mangin Col. This took about 45 to 60 minutes. Compared to yesterday it was absolutely freezing (cold in general and a wind that cooled one down). I was breathing out of my backside (new term I learned on the winter trip) on the way up, even though it was much shorter than yesterday. However, it was worth it. Once we got to the top we had a beautiful view of the east side of the island and nearly saw Rothera. The way back down was a walk on the beach compared to yesterday!

The pinnacle. (Photo: Steve)
Newish jerries filled with fuel.
(Photo: Steve)
Afterwards, we drove to the Sloman glacier. This is where Snow Ditte is, a quite common destinationfor trips. The glacier is full of crevasses. So in order to be able to start early tomorrow we put some tracks in we could follow. On the way we stopped by the pinnacle which is an easily recognisable rock feature where food and fuel is stored in case that fieldparties get stuck on this side of the island and need more than they have got with them. The depot has got old style manfood and dogfood as well as recent boxes with manfood and jerries wit fuel.

When we got to the Sloman glacier (named after the first scientist doing research on it) we had to double up the skidoos again in order to pull the sledge up the slope. On the way the sledge tripped over
Snow Ditte. Does not look half as
scarry on a picture than in real life.
which meant that we had to turn it back around. Easier said than done: we had to dig a trench on the downhill side and turn it on its back, dig another small trench in order to roll it upright. Afterwards, we had to lash it up again as the lashing had gotten lose. We than finally got to Snow Ditte and man, it looked scary (steepish and long). I was really not confident whether I could do it or not...

On scheds we talked to Tom (our Comms Manager) and had Steak & Ale pie with pasta for dinner (lots of calories to make sure we have enough energy for tomorrow). Early start tomorrow for Snow Ditte!

Icy eyelashes. (Photo: Steve)

Tuesday 20 August 2013

Winter Trip No 2 - Tuesday

During the night, the temperatures inside the tent got down to -15 degrees which seems bloody freezing. The sleeping bags however where really warm and it might be interesting to know that wearing less inside them is more. So instead of putting lots of layers on, just thermals is enough as the body needs to be able to heat up the sleeping bag itself. Only the head sticking out got cold. This meant that I buried it instead inside the sleeping bag (whilst asleep) which lead to me repeatedly waking up and needing to get some fresh air from outside the sleeping bag. Additionally, when I woke up I nearly strangled myself with the cords which tighten the head bit as I somehow managed to tangle them around my neck. Sleeping in a tent in Antarctica is far more life threatening in so many more ways than I expected... But, I survived.

Today, I woke up a little late (around 10am), so we left later than expected. Hence, we went to climb the Myth (1235m) which was only a short drive away and just behind the Mythical Monster. The

Cuddled up with the teddybear,
ready to go to sleep
(Photo: Steve)

way up was good fun and it was really nice and sunny. The only thing is that I realised just how unfit I was. However, the scary bits were a bare minimum. Coming down was a totally different story. I had forgotten how scared I am walking down the hill... But hej, even though it was type 2 fun (not fun at the time, but in retrospect), I managed to pull through thanks to Steve and we made it back to the tent, exhausted but in one piece. The sunset was absolutely stunning!

We spoke to Mike (our base commander) on scheds. The weather for tomorrow is looking amazing again. For dinner we had mushroom Risotto and menfood (beans and chicken sausages in tomato sauce).

(Photo: Steve)

(Photo: Steve)

Happy and on the summit! (Photo: Steve)