Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Survival Training AKA Happy Camper

Mandatory for those who will be out in the field, but for people like myself it is an opportunity to get out, have fun and learn something in the meantime. However, it is a lot of work, and even in the best weather conditions it is a challenge like no other.

We planted ourselves onto the Ross Ice Shelf by lunch in a dense ice fog, but luckily by the end of the day it cleared. Carrying, or really dragging our equipment to the campsite that we will create from the packed snow and ice isn't as easy as it may seem. Lucky we were, and had great weather, 21F/-6C but when the wind kicked in at midnight it was as low as 7F/-13C.

Chris and I dug about 3 feet into the ice creating a kitchen. A task that we were both very proud of and actually spent most of our down time in that ditch. Me hoovering over the pot constantly adding snow to melt for hot water, and the 2 of us drinking lots of coffee, hot chocolate, and all the delicious beverages that get added to them. No wonder, along with Trevor we were up into the early morning hours as the rest of the group slept off their hard work.

We constructed a wall of snow blocks cut with a saw to block camp from the wind, set up the tents, dug up the kitchen, boiled reserves of water from the snow, so now it was time for me to make my bed.

Yep, that's where I'll be sleeping tonight! Just 85 feet below me are the frigid waters of the Southern or Antarctic Ocean. Not finished, I would cover the top with a sled, giant snow blocks and smaller ones to fill in the gaps. And for the record, quite comfortable. Brings on a whole new meaning to camping.

The Pezquin and I are tucked in and ready to sleep, him into the wall, and me into my sleeping bag. I had more layers of Merino wool on me than a random shop in Soho, I was probably wearing an entire flock of sheep head to toe.

The night was filled with mini naps due to vivid dreams so intense that they shook me from my sleep over and over again. Each so different, as different as each of my most memorable experiences in this lifetime. Now I have one more.


  1. That looks so fun!

  2. It was, you could try digging a trench at the lake this summer! :)