Skip navigation

Day 13: Summer in Antarctica
(December 31, 2012)

Cycle South ExpeditionCurrent Position
Position Date: 2013-01-01 13:56:02
Position Lat: 0
Position Long: 0

Calling Union Glacier with my RoadPost Iridium phone.The wind died at some point this morning leaving me literally baking in the Antarctic sun. I had my Bergans expedition shell completely off and was biking in my Core Baselayer and then even that got too warm and I stripped down to just a short sleeved shirt. I was seriously temped to take that off as well, but thought the better of the idea as I would probably get a bad sunburn. (Image: Calling Union Glacier with my RoadPost Iridium phone).

I switched from my Optic Nerve goggles to glasses and used my multi band simply to keep the sweat out of my eyes. Polar travelers often say, 'sweat and die,' (as in extreme cold sweat can freeze instantly eliminating the insulative properties of clothes). However, today I had no real choice. It was that hot. Thankfully (I never thought I would say that) the wind picked up a bit in the afternoon.

Despite the balmy weather, today was anything but easy. It seems that Antarctica in all its wisdom has decided that nothing will be easy for me - not even my return trip. My old trail was thoroughly drifted in and I spent the day spinning, spinning out and falling over in soft powder. In between the soft patches, small ridges of harder drifts caused me to buck and bounce so violently that I seriously began to wonder if I was doing damage to my gear inside my Granite Gear panniers.

I'm at a weird point in the actual trip where I can't see any mountains (the Patriot Hills) and am also out of the larger sastrugi fields - strangely enough, I miss both. The snow here is this milky flowing mass that doesn't seem to have any defining characteristic except that it is very hard to travel across.

MapI've been going over the physics of all these drifts and soft snow in my mind. When snow blows and repacks, it becomes firm because, the chemical bonds inside the snowflake are reforming with the neighboring flakes (in very general terms). Because the snow here has already been blown all across Antarctica before reaching me, the snow crystals are very rounded and forming bonds with other flakes is more difficult - which means that drifted snow will stay mushy longer here than, say Minnesota. While the wind has been difficult to deal with, it's affect on snow has been equally as bad for my bike. (View current position by clicking on map).

I've been thinking a lot about the word tenacious today. Of course, it is the motto of Ergodyne, one of my major supporters and serves as an inspiration for how they create their products. However today, I tried to think of ways in which I personally could be more tenacious, and not just when I'm on an expedition, either - in my daily life. It was nice to spending some time focused on positive ideas. I've been riding around with the burden of not accomplishing my goal so I vowed to be more tenacious in my optimism.

I found a deflated Green Party balloon. I saw it because my tripod fell off my bike and I decided to walk and stretch my legs. It's the only trash I have seen out here during my entire journey. Where did it come from and how did it get here? The most logical assumption would be that it came from the South Pole. Perhaps one of the workers accidentally let it go. Was it part of a New Year's celebration? I hope so.

© 2015 Wenger NA. All rights reserved