Skiing and Biking in Antarctica
As the weather has warmed, the skate skiing on the Ross Ice shelf has improved. I try to get our skiing at least once per week. It is awesome to be skiing in the warm sun under Mt. Erebus. On Christmas day, when all of these photos were taken, we were treated to clear skies and a very active Mt. Erebus. You can see a little smoke in the photo below.
We walk (or catch a shuttle if we are lucky) to Scott base. We put our skis on after the transition zone on the road to LDB and Pegasus. “The road” is ice, covered in compacted snow. Unfortunately, the roads are not groomed for skiing, so we have to navigate ruts and tire treads. While Jordan and I traveled the LDB road on skate skis, Kressley and Adam biked. It was a gorgeous day in the sun. Followed by a large Christmas dinner!
A round trip ski out to LDB (Long Duration Balloon) facility and back is approximately 10.2 miles. I am amazed at the level of difficulty this ski trip becomes with the slightest change in weather. We are all convinced that there is a slight uphill on the way to LDB. Making the return trip faster and easier. But when the wind is blowing across the shelf ice, back toward Scott Base, the hill feels much bigger. I have been planning on skiing the McMurdo 1/2 marathon in two weeks. A sprained elbow from a skiing fall has set me back a bit, but I am still hoping to participate in the race.
The hardest part of the ski trip is the hike back to McMurdo. The steep climb from Scott base is tough on tired legs! Kressley and I stopped for a photo in front of Erebus. Behind us, you can see the transition zone that we have to navigate before putting on our skis.
T.J. is here! After 5 days of waiting for runway repairs in Christchurch, he arrived at 5AM yesterday morning. He has been busy packing and getting ready for his trip to WAIS divide. He is doing Happy Camper training overnight tonight (Wednesday night), in much better weather than I had! He is hoping to catch a flight to WAIS divide on Friday. If all goes smoothly, it will be a short trip through McMurdo. He will start updating you all on science from WAIS when he gets settled in to his tent and routine.