Whiteout

Miles Advanced: None                                                                                                                                       Weather: Whiteout, Wind-Chill 27 Below

Location: Lower Leverette Glacier

The wind was pounding the Living Module at 3:00am and it was getting serious. We attempted to hook up our loads around 9 but it was no use, we couldn’t even see the first flag which was less than 50ft away.

So we parked and decided to watch a movie. Which one? ‘Whitout’ with Kate Beckensale of course. Glenn wants me to tell you that he actually drove the Tucker Snowcat from the movie. He’s proud of that. Some read books, others caught up on their sleep.

With the extra time- Storm made a delicious Mexican dinner and even baked cookies- what a guy!

Above: Galen almost gets blown away, just like the movie ‘Whiteout’!

Miles Advanced: 30.0

Total Mileage: 728.2

Weather: Morning Fog Then Clear, 10 Degrees

Elevation: 4,117ft.

We’ve been plagued by some ‘not-so-great’ weather but today made up for all of it. We advanced just 30 miles cause we had to do some shuttling up the hills but the views were spectacular and I didn’t mind it so much.

I tried to re-create Robshaw’s Traversalini tonight and I must say it turned out pretty dang good.

Storm of the Century

Miles Advanced: 0

Wind-Speed: 40.3mph

Wind-Chill: Avg. -56f, Down to -73f

Visibility: Piss Poor

Mankind was never meant to exist on the ‘Last Continent’ and today it seems Mother Nature is trying to remind us of that fact. In all my seasons on the Ice, I have never witnessed a storm quite like this one- it’s not so much the wind-speed or the cold, it’s the amount of snow that’s so remarkable.

They say Antarctica is the driest continent on earth- so where is all this snow coming from? Forecasters predict this weather is going to last a couple more days and I sincerely hope not, as we will have a couple days of shoveling out as it is.

Above: We use ropes to guide ourselves through the whiteout.

Fueling the generator was a necessity and we lucked out when all our hoses linked together and reached the bladder without an inch to spare. This chore lasted an hour and I felt like I was getting sandblasted the whole while.

There was snow in my goggles, up my nose, in my ears, and down my spine. McLovin’tried smoking a cigarette but the filter plugged full of snow within a couple puffs.

P.S. No, those were not my bloated, hairy, midget legs.

No, those were not my extremely muscled bodybuilder legs either.

No, I am not taking a 1976 bodybuilding trophy to the South Pole

Yes, you are retarded if you email my wife, or my boss, about these daily updates- remember, I could be making all this stuff up. Who knows? Maybe I’m in Florida right now typing all this from a Jacuzzi.

And No, I’m not going to stop using the words ‘midget’ or ‘retarded’ because they are both awesome.

Miles Advanced: 0

Wind Spd: Avg. 32.5mph

Wind-Chill: Min. -63.5F

Ambient Temp: -8F

Visibility: 50ft.

Yup, the storm persists. This is the third day of the blizzard. The weather forecast says we may have a small window tomorrow afternoon to dig everything out and move it some 500ft to higher ground, and then another storm is supposed to hit. Jeez.

The Moonregan  Traverse is coming through this way soon. They are using our route to make it to McMurdo and back in record time. From what we’ve heard, they are about 50 miles away. As the visibility is poor we decided to flag all our sleds and bladders so we don’t have a collision. Usually we don’t have to worry about others using our route but I think those days are gone. The more expeditioners that hear about a flagged/crevasse-free route to the South Pole, the more we are going to start seeing them use it.

Moonregan Traverse

Miles Advanced: 0

Weather: Stiff Wind, Clear Skies

Wind-Chill: -25F

Location: Same place we’ve been for the last 4 days.

The mechanics got Ozone started (front-end loader) which was a miracle because I don’t know how we would have freed the tractors without it.

There was still a ton of shoveling as every nook and cranny was jammed packed with Antarctic concrete. Dosinga was heard saying, “I think I’m getting carpal back.” The electronics on the Prinoth were stuffed full of snow too and we used a Chillmat (for heating not chilling) to melt them out.

The Moonregan Traverse came through- what nice guys! It was super cool to have guests as we haven’t seen anyone else for about a month now. 10 guys, mostly British, although a couple Icelandic, and one American.

The sole American and mountaineer of the expedition happened to be Vern Tejas! I had never met Vern before but I’d heard many stories. Vern is an Alaskan Legend and my freakin’ hero! He made the first solo winter ascent of Denali, guided Antarctic legend Norman Vaughan to the summit of the peak that bares his name, and has the most summits of Vinson Massif (Antarctica’s highest mountain) at 26. I didn’t look this up- I just know this stuff. You might say I have a man crush. Anyway, he was super cool and let me drive one of the Moonregan vehicles in a circle. It was the best circle I have ever driven.

Anyway, we gave the Moonregan guys a Banoffi pie and a couple bottles of wine, cause that’s how we roll. Side Note: Moonregan dudes didn’t bring any booze with them. Crazy I say. End Note.

Miles Advanced: 13.9

Total Mileage: 837

Temp: -23 Ambient

So tired, the whole freakin’ crew is sore and grumpy as hell.

I am living off Ibuprofen. Somehow we managed to get everything dug out. Loads reconfigured yet again. And we are on the move.

The Moonregan crew made it all the way to the Ross Ice Shelf and back in two days- said they got sloshed on the wine we gave them- nice! God they’re fast- I hate them for that!

It was my day to cook so I got some BBQ chicken and washed all that nasty kiwi barbeque sauce off. Then I made Weimer’s Surprise. It’s like a Curry Dish. Not as good as Two Fat Indians in Christchurch , but pretty good. Actually, it was really good. Really really good! In fact, the whole crew gave me a standing ovation. I made that last part up. But like I said, it was good… really good.