South Pole via Kansas Glacier

Dec 16

sastrugi and tractors

Published at 06:46
Dispatch created from email
Mornings are a bit of a rush. We have only one hour forty minutes to get ourselves fed and watered, prepare our thermoses and day bags of food, call Union Glacier comms, get dressed, pack up and step outside the tent. Paul is like clockwork and we emerge simultaneously from different tents (he is with Jade, I am with Ming and Heath), give a hearty good morning and begin de-camping. A half hour later, tents down, skis on, we heave into the harness and lurch forward.

Sastrugi, wind-formed ridges of hardened snow, are a polar travellers curse and we hit them early in the day. These are small compared to what we will encounter later but enough to slow us down. Our first two hours gave us only 4.6km. Thankfully the sastrugi petered out and a delightfully flat surface helped us nail 17.6km for the day, despite the incessant strong wind from the east and banks of mist.

Around midday we were confronted by an alien sight. The tractor traverse from McMurdo rumbled past us a kilometre to our west, heading to the South Pole. The two front tractors were towing cabins, the next six towing low profile fuel bladders to resupply the station. We had no idea if they saw us. Later we crossed the ice road and again as we cut our own line SSE. It will be a few days before we are clear of ice disturbance flanking the surrounding mountains and can head due south.

1. The team approaching sastrugi
2. Skiing in mist
3. Final food break


  • Name: Camp 11
  • Elevation: 2488 m
  • Latitude: 86° 1644South
  • Longitude: 136° 2320West


  • Report as abuse...
    2017-12-16 19:44:25 KeithTuffley says: That's an awesome shot of the sastrugi Eric.

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