Travel Log: January 24th, 2000

January 24th, 2000

How cold is it?

Randy writes:
Current weather:
Weather for South Pole Station
01-24-2000 at 17:06 Z
Temperature -30.7 C -23.2 F
Wind 359 At 15 Knots
Windchill -55.4 C -67.7 F
Barometer 686 mB
Physio Altitude 10400. ft

Yesterday was the first really nice day in a while! The wind is still unusually high, but the sky was blue, so we took a lot of photos. I have managed to catch a cold -- the one with the hacking cough that is circulating around the base. The terrible thing about the South Pole Station is that everyone is in such close proximity and their immune systems a bit depressed due to lack of micro-organisms here, so that every new germ tends to get a good portion of the station sick.

A really strange thing that happened was that I was in MAPO yesterday looking at a plane landing and I noticed a small group on skis with sleds approaching the runway. They quickly backed up when they saw the plane. I found out latter that their manager had warned the world with press releases and the pilots were well aware of them as their radar picked up the ski poles.

It turned out that they were a group of British female skiers who had trekked across the continent from Patriot Hills to the Pole (700 miles) in 60 days. They were very well wired with an Iridium phone and all other types of gear. I belive it is the first British female traverse. (see photos below!)

They were, well a bit ripe to say the least, after so much time on the ice, but in very good spirits. They had all lost a lot of weight and had met on a traverse of the North Pole a few years ago. That is all that I know about them, aside from that they were interesting to talk to once they had showered.

Randy

Editor's note: I have learned of a website for this group, as well as the fact that this expedition marks the last of the 1999-2000 expeditions (of which the folks at the Pole are aware). They will fly the women out soon after they arrive (weather permitting). After this group, no more tourists, no more expeditioners, until next season. Randy and Steve have to leave soon!

What Randy misses most on his travels is Gia, his fiancee!

Click on any small image to retrieve a larger one...

The skiers from Great Britain. The last photo is of the skiers' sleds near the Pole. The skiers have a website with more information.

Views of Ethan Schartman, Clem Pryke, Dave Pernic, and John Kovac working at the Station.

The AST/RO building.

More views of the construction of new buildings going on at the Station.

Another bike tester, Steve, from New Brunswick, NJ.

More views of AASTO, like yesterday. Here the monitoring equipment is more clearly visible, as is the bike, which Randy used to get here!

Blowing and Drifting Snow

Anything that sits on the ice at the Pole is slowly buried by blowing and drifting snow. The geodesic dome is one of the oldest buildings of the Station, and it is really buried (see photos below) - every year they have to dig out the entrance, making for the hills you've seen in photos from previous days and below. More recent buildings are on stilts so that the snow blows through the legs and doesn't bury the building. It still accumulates, though -- check out these photos!


Look how blue the snow is!

I'm sure there is a story to this snow sculpture (it looks like Easter Island to me), but I have been unable to extract it from the folks at Pole as yet.

The new Dark Sector Lab, and then a photo of the PICO drilling for the last AMANDA string of the season to be deployed. The last photo is PICO/AMANDA central with dark sector lab in background (I believe they heat the water, prepare the detectors etc. here, and then set up tents for the drilling and deployment).


For Steve's Travel Log, see the Ice Prowler website.

Go on to the
next day...