Every Shade of White

Miles Advanced North: 353.8

Location: Lower Leverette Glacier

Weather: Sunny, 15 ABOVE

Elevation: 1,557ft.

The Transantarctics- such beautiful mountains too! Finally off the Plateau and down into warm weather. Yesterday our elevation was 5,055ft and three days before that we were at 9,600ft. We can actually BREATH here, some of us were even wearing t-shirts and sneakers- it’s absolutely wonderful.

I’m going to say this now before I forget- we really have a great crew! I may hate them all tomorrow- but right now, NOPE, everyone is awesome, in fact, the world is awesome! Hallelujah, back to the land of the living!

Location: Ross Ice Shelf

Number of Days Since We Left McMurdo: 71

Miles From McMurdo: 400.9

Weather: Clear; 31 Degrees

Elevation: 291ft.

We’ve been using a snowmobile to re-flag the traverse route. This is a tedious job because you’ve got to stop every quarter mile and plant a flag- that gets old after 1,050 miles. I’ve been doing some calculating and I figure the traverse route has about 17,000 flags laid out along the trail. As old flags get buried and tattered, we add new ones next to them.

Considering each flag costs about $4.50- we have about $76,000 dollars worth of flags along the route, and that’s at the low end of the number. From what I understand, the bamboo comes from south-east Asia and the flags themselves get tied on in Boulder, Colorado. And then they’re shipped to California where they get put on a barge and eventually they get down to Antarctica .

Currently, we are near the Long Duration Balloon payload crash site. The LDB project studies the Ozone Hole. Amazingly they have been able to ‘land’ the thing about a mile off our traverse route- and they want us to pick it up and bring it back to McMurdo.

That’s all good but they want to fly out a couple times and get all the sensitive gadgetry off it first. So we are stuck here until they get their sh1t together. We are all fed up with this traverse business and we want to get home.

Days Since We Left McMurdo: 76

Total Miles Northbound: 1001.0

Total Traverse Mileage: Approx. 2,552

Miles To Go: 48

Weather: Ice-Fog In Morning Then Sunny, 31 Degrees

I have seen every shade of white this continent has to offer. And I’m tired of it. Not just me, everyone is mentally drained and homesick ready to get on a plane and get the heck out of here. Even the best of us are a$$holes now.

The day started out as usual, whiteout conditions until noon, then the curtain of ice-fog opened suddenly and there she was- Mt Erebus (the most southerly active volcano in the world) billowing plumes of steam across the horizon like a giant welcome-home-banner.

Mt. Erebus rises from sea-level straight up to 12,000 ft- it’s an impressive sight and I never get tired of it.

Just 48 miles to go!

With any luck, we’ll be in McMurdo by dinner time tomorrow.

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