Ice and Medicine at the end of the earth

Castle Rock Loop Hike


We had gorgeous weather this weekend!  Two friends and I set out on a day hike of the Castle Rock loop.  The rock was named by Scott’s Discovery expedition (1901-1904).  The rock is open for scrambling later in the season.  We had sunshine, amazing views and warm temperatures.

There are three warming huts on the loop.  They are called “Apples” and provide emergency shelter in case of an unexpected storm.  They are stocked with food, fuel and survival bags.

The weather was too nice to spend time in the Apple.  On the way up the trail, we had views of Castle Rock and Mt. Erebus (Active Volcano on Ross Island).  The cloud cap over Erebus made for amazing views.

Like all other trails in the Ross Island trail system, the trail is marked  by flags.  At the rock, the trail turns to the right and drops steeply to the sea ice below.

Kelly and I hiked the loop.  Robert decided to carry a snowboard, despite the fact that he has never been on a snowboard before.  While Kelly and I enjoyed views of Erebus (above) and listened to incredible silence, Robert attempted snowboarding.  He quickly converted the snowboard to a sled which proved to be more energy efficient.

At the bottom of the trail, we were treated to more pressure ridges.

We finished the hike at the Scott base store and caught a shuttle back to McMurdo.  The hike was 7 miles and we covered it in about 3 hours (+ 1/2 hour of waiting for the snowboarder :)).  I am looking forward to repeating the loop on skis when T.J. arrives!

6 responses

  1. Dave Roberts

    Wow, what an adventure. Everthng looks so cool. When you say warm, what kind of temperature are you talking about?

    Thanks for the posts, they’re awesome.

    Love, Dave

    November 10, 2010 at 3:08 AM

    • I think it was 23F with no wind. Balmy 🙂

      November 10, 2010 at 8:18 AM

  2. michele

    i love that the trail map shows where people have been hurt/killed, and that the explosives storage area is off limits. both are good things to know…

    November 10, 2010 at 10:53 AM

    • I was wondering if anyone would notice the injuries marked on the map. Should have guessed it would be Michele 🙂

      November 10, 2010 at 12:49 PM

  3. michele

    you betcha!

    November 10, 2010 at 1:24 PM

  4. Phenomenal picture of Mt. Erebus with the lenticular cloud above it!! That is absolutely amazing that you can have such a view in total silence!!!


    November 12, 2010 at 3:45 AM

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