2013-2014 South Pole Traverse – Day 15

Day 15
Miles Advanced: 43
Total Mileage: 773
Elevation: 8,221ft
Weather: 13F. On Plateau: Wind-chill -43F

 

Mac Ops had given us the forecast- the weather wasn’t looking good. So the team got together and decided to push hell-bent for the polar plateau. The agreement was based upon the weather knowledge of the Leverette Glacier, which can produce the effects of an enormous drain that funnels storms in a concentrated strength down the valley. These are called Katabatic Winds, and the supercharged storms they create are legendary. Down here they are known as Herbies (hurricane blizzards) and you don’t want to be in the way when they decide to vent. I have pictures on this site under “Storm of the Century” if you’d like to see what these Herbies are capable of.

 

As we made our ascent we passed some of the most stunning scenery this continent has to offer. Nunataks- which are basically entire mountains that have been buried in snow and only their summits are visible, poking up like islands in the sky. Icefalls- which are chunks of ice as large as skyscrapers that topple over and pile upon each other like some horrific train wreck. Hanging glaciers- which appear to defy gravity as they pour over the top of the plateau like melted wax that solidifies firmly to the mountains vertical faces.

 

We worked 15 hours straight but were able to achieve the top of the Leverette just as the storm brewed. We were a tried but a happy bunch. Tomorrow we begin crossing the polar plateau.

 

Seracs
Seracs

 

 

Mount Beazley
Mount Beazley

 

 

Magsig Rampart
Magsig Rampart

 

 

Jeff and Bill
Jeff and Bill

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