Geoff Sims @ UNSW
Home South Pole Diaries 2012/13 2nd January, 2013


Wednesday, 2nd January, 2013

We finally got here. (John)

It can take as little as two days to get from Sydney to South Pole, but this time it's taken us two weeks. Most of the problem has been the very warm weather that has turned the Pegasus ice runway into a kind of slushy swamp, but being in McMurdo over the whole Christmas/New Year period didn't help, either.

Today started out as more or less a repeat of 30 December; out of bed at 6, into the shuttle (this time a Delta), at 7:15 then bumping and grinding through the ice towards Pegasus. Just a couple of miles from the airfield we slithered to a halt, the Delta completely bogged.

Everybody out! This reduces the weight of the Delta by about 10%, and every bit helps.

Lots of digging, and some sheets of plywood under the back tyres for good measure...

...while we all look on (well, most of us).

Finally we're off-loaded at Pegasus, sit around for an hour (some of which was spent watching the "Ivan the Terrabus" music video on my laptop), climb onto "our" LC130, and two and a half hours later (exactly the same time as it took us to drive from McMurdo to Pegasus in the Delta), we're at South Pole.

It's currently -23C here, but fortunately with little wind. The altitude is a bit over 2800 metres but, because of the cold, the air pressure is even lower than one would expect - corresponding to about 3000 m.

All of the equipment we sent from UNSW has arrived, but a couple of boxes sent from the University of Arizona are still in Christchurch. We should get it in the next couple of days. Meanwhile, we'll repack our stuff ready to put in a Twin Otter for Ridge A, practise putting up our tents, make some little bits and pieces we still need, and marvel as our bodies adjust the pH of our blood to acclimatize us.

With looks only a mother could love, the LC130 is nevertheless a fabulously capable aircraft - especially when seen against the vast, featureless horizon at South Pole.

As the sign says - welcome to South Pole!


Back to South Pole Diaries 2012/13