First Antarctic Hike. . . BRRRRR!!
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 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: