Location: Ross Ice Shelf- about halfway back to McMurdo
While coming down the Leverette Glacier we had a bit of excitement when we noticed a very large open crevasse just off our trail. There are open crevasses on the glacier but they are typically seen far in the distance- to have one suddenly appear so close to our route is unsettling. Nearby, the buildup of pressure in the ice has created a large hill. This hill could be mistaken as an old berm we used to cache fuel on. If an unsuspecting traverser went to investigate, they could easily fall in. The crevasse is about 250 feet off the trail proper; it is 20 feet wide and 300 feet long running almost parallel to the trail. We used GPR to scan it, making sure it didn’t creep under the snow to our path. We flagged that section of the trail really well to make sure the SPoT2 guys don’t accidentally wander off the path in a whiteout. It makes me wonder about the other expeditioners using our trail. It appeared that none of them had their own radar and were relying entirely on our good judgment. We have also seen their tracks cutting corners (where we have not GPRed) instead of staying on the route. If this lackadaisical approach continues, an accident is bound to happen.
Here are some pictures of the scenery on the Leverette Glacier.
My favorite thing about the South Pole Station is the interesting characters you meet. This one skinny kid I sat next to in the galley is getting his PHD in astrophysics from Harvard. He spends his days interpreting the cosmic microwave background of the universe. What?! Yea, he uses data from the SPUD Telescope to look at the EDGE OF THE UNIVERSE! It’s crazy, it’s amazing, and it’s so far out there I have no idea what he’s talking about.
And folks are so talented it makes me sick. Not only do they have a specialized trade but they always have some other remarkable skill or hobby. One of the cooks playing guitar at open mic night was “John Denver” good. I’m serious. I wanted to grab that guy and yell “What are you doing here! Quit your day job and go on tour for gosh sakes!”
The Pole also attracts various adventurers and thrill seekers. Prince Harry (yes, thee Prince Harry) is skiing into Pole from a couple hundred miles out. I believe his group is raising money for wounded soldiers. With him is that really hot guy from the True Blood TV vampire series, or so I’m told. As you can imagine the women in town are going crazy. After all, this is their last chance to become a princess.
So we are on the trail again headed north, back to McMurdo. Last night we ran in to SPoT2, stopped and had a fine meal together. We hadn’t seen our friends in over a month and decided to have an impromptu party in the middle of the Polar Plateau. We arm wrestled a lot for some reason.
Besides us, there are four parties using our trail this year. Two of them are driving across the continent in Toyota trucks, one of them on skis, and one lady on a bicycle. We passed one of the trucks today- they are on a different time schedule than us and were asleep. With all this white snow everywhere different colors really stand out and it appears they are pooping and peeing all over the place! From their tracks it also appears that they are very interested in our fuel caches. Someday we might have to lock the fuel up somehow- perhaps behind a fence with barbwire.