Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

First Antarctic Hike. . . BRRRRR!!

Low Visibility - overlooking the bay. .

I made grand plans on Saturday to explore my surroundings on my day off.  I finally adjusted to the time change and the weather has been beautiful.  I awoke early and put on my cold weather clothes with plans to hike observation hill with a friend, Robert.  As I was leaving the dorm, a veteran worker who lives in the same building asked if I was really going for a hike.  When I responded yes, he asked if I would like to know how to access the weather on line.  In showing me the online weather station, he told me that the windchill was -42 F.  Yikes.  I met Robert at the planned time.  Given the temp and low visibility, we opted to explore the town instead.  We walked for 20 minutes before we escaped the elements and warmed up with hot chocolate and baileys.

By early afternoon, I was tired of reading and staying warm.  There was a sign up on the rec board advertising a hike on the Hut Point Loop that brings you past Discovery hut (built by the Scott expedition).  I again dressed warmly and walked to the Galley where I expected to find the hike cancelled.  Instead I found 6 other people, dressed as I was, ready to explore in the bitter cold.  We hiked in the coldest, windiest conditions I have ever seen.  The wind was pushing me sideways.  When I turned my back to the wind, I could lean backwards without falling.  The wind was so strong that three other hikers and I turned around at the half way point after crossing an extremely windy, exposed ridge.  Seeing two more, windier, higher ridges, I opted to stay safe and head back to town.  We were out for a total of one hour without any cold injury!   We checked the weather when we returned:

Outdoor Temperature -30.0°C (// -22°F)
Wind Speed 30kts (// 35mph)
Wind Direction NE
Wind Chill -49.8°C (// -58°F)

It was too cold for me to take pictures.  Robert was braver and snapped these photos as we hiked off the ridge:

Hiking off the ridge. I am in the lead

Continuing down the Ridge

8 responses

  1. marisa lord

    Sounds like a lot of fun!!! Cold and all. I love the cold weather. I’m living vicariously through you on this trip! I want to go to Antarctica now!

    xoxo ❤

    September 26, 2010 at 7:06 PM

  2. dana

    you are the craziest person i know! but i love you 🙂 stay safe

    September 26, 2010 at 8:13 PM

  3. Mm

    I like the part about turning around when it became unsafe!! Unfortunately, you make me wish I were there….! Are you glad you are a Minnesotan and already know how it feels to have your nostrils stick together??

    September 26, 2010 at 8:52 PM

  4. Mom

    was supposed to be from “mom” not “Mm”!

    September 26, 2010 at 8:54 PM

  5. Ashwin

    Sooooooooo cool! I mean cold. Great to see you exploring!!!

    September 26, 2010 at 10:15 PM

  6. Kelly

    You are brave! What an adventure, but I am so glad you chose the safe route! It makes me worry less. How neat this experience is! I am living vicariously through your stories and pictures! Jim and I went to a farm yesterday, the alpacas are so cute and cuddly – and no it was not -30 degrees here…….. yet!!

    September 27, 2010 at 5:15 AM

  7. Julia

    Hi Jessie!
    This looks like an amazing experience! Good for you for braving that cold. I’m having fun reading the blog. Take care!!

    September 27, 2010 at 8:39 AM

  8. Zak

    Looks like pretty rough hiking weather, but come January you’ll probably be doing it in short sleeves. If you get bored with hiking see if you can get an invite on the Kiwi ski hill for a few downhill turns.

    September 27, 2010 at 10:54 PM

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