Less than 24 hours after landing on “the Ice”, we had to “really, experience” the ice. Our rooms were still not quite situated, our personal stuff was barely unpacked, and we were missing one crate of stuff, including our “pee bottles”, sunscreen, and lotion – things that we would really miss on our upcoming Ice adventure. Some of us were still jetlagged from two intense days of traveling, others had side-effects from the previous day’s flu shot, and we were all excited, anxious, and curious about being in Antarctica.
Bob, Stacy, and DJ all got out of this “Happy Camper School” as they’d taken it within the last five years or had found a way that their experience could grant their pardon. John made it for the first indoor lecture, but then his side-effects got the better of him and he had to retreat to the warmth and comfort of his bed, a place the rest of us would only dream of that upcoming night. That left Jennifer, Julie, David, Kevin, Paul, and me with a group of 14 others including 2 wilderness teachers to go out and survive one night on the harshest continent. It started fairly calm, indoors, with a lecture about the danger of being on the ice and ways to mitigate or survive them. Then we saw the pictures of the effects of frostbite. Wow, we woke up! This was real and those pictures of black thumbs and toes could really be what ours would look like that very day or night.
With that we were off to see how we would survive. With a hectic last run to our dorms to pick up even more clothes, I now had something like 7 layers of pants, 5 layers of tops, 5 different hats, and 8 pairs of gloves stashed with my ECW gear to keep away that frostbite. Would it suffice?
After a mysterious half hour drive in the back of a Delta truck, we were out on the ice shelf, away from the warmth and luxuries of McMurdo.
Our instructors, mountain rescue guides Bryan and Mattie, started our schooling in a gentle manner. Still in a hut with a roof and four walls protecting us from the cold, we reviewed setting up stoves.
See full blog with photos.
A followup to: Bringing Antarctica to You.
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