Friday, September 30, 2011

Presure Ridges on the Ice

A pressure ridge is an ice formation typically found on large frozen lakes or sea ice during the winter. In the most basic sense, a pressure ridge is a long crack in the ice that occurs because of repeated heating and cooling on the surface of the lake.
In cases of extreme cold, ice will shrink in volume like any other solid, opening up cracks in the surface of lakes that are completely frozen over. The cracks quickly fill with water and freeze again, but when the temperature rises later, the ice expands and forces itself upward along the lines of the crack, in much the same fashion that plate tectonics creates mountain ranges, albeit on a much smaller scale. Pressure ridges can sometimes extend for miles, making an ice road impassable for truckers hauling freight to far northern locations. (The definition)

Ok free science lesson, Not to much else to say about it. The ice is ever changing, so the ridges are always different. The pictures I took hardly show the true beauty of the ice. The bluest blue I've ever seen. I find myself stumbling to look for the words to describe the sheer color and....(stumbling) Take the bluest sky you've ever seen, and multiply it by least. I'll let the pictures do the talking.......

Once again, the human eye proves more powerful than the camera. In the next two pictures, you can just barely see the sliver of the moon as you look between the ice. Much better live...

That is a brief tour of the Pressure Ridges. Also I got some pretty good pictures of Mt Erebus, history to follow. A big thanks to Wikipedia for making my explanations both factual, and extremely easy to write. (read copy)

Well that's today's tour of the sights of Antarctica, till next time.......

Till next time...."Cooking on Ice"

Friday, September 23, 2011

A Slippery Slope!!

Today I went for another hike. This time up a local landmark "Ob Hill" or Observation Hill. It looks like a regular hill or mountain, but is a bit deceiving.......
 / -77.85; 166.69

Oops, my bad that's Everest, at 29,035 feet, maybe in a future blog. But back to reality, standing an impressive....750 feet...."Ob Hill";

Observation Hill as seen from Hut Point.

Observation Hill is a large hill (750 ft/230m) adjacent to McMurdo Station in Antarctica and commonly called "Ob Hill." It is frequently climbed to get good viewing points across the continent. Regular clear skies give excellent visibility.

Robert Falcon Scott's party was found by a search party led by the surgeon Dr. Edward L. Atkinson. They were found dead by the members of the base camp, who took their photographic film, scientific specimens, and other materials. They had to leave Scott and his men in their tent, and later parties could not locate the campsite, since that area had been covered in snow. Scott's party eventually ended up drifting out to sea on an iceberg.

The search party returned to what is now known as McMurdo and climbed Observation Hill. There they erected a large wooden cross, inscribed the names of the fatal party and a short quote from the Alfred Tennyson poem "Ulysses", which reads "To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield."
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So that is the history behind it.

....wait 750 feet!!!??? Didn't feel like that. Well I guess coming from Florida where a speed bump requires notation on a survey, it's a big change for me.

Moving on, lets talk shoes girls. (and guys) Not what your thinking, but shoes nonetheless. So I was issued "Bunny Boots" with my gear.

These are Bunny Boots. More history; they are named for The Snow Shoe Rabbit of Alaska which has fur that changes in the winter. Its feet are white, ergo, Bunny Boots. They are great for the cold, good down to -65 F. However.....

...that is the tread on them. Not so great for hiking. Especially on ice and loose volcanic rock which is all Ob Hill is composed of. Yes I was warned they were no good for traction, but I guess I once again learned the hard way. Note to self: listen to what people who have been here tell you; especially women; no matter what anyone says, I will admit they are right 99% of the time. OK well 90%. Sorry guys. Anyway, a debate for another time.

So as I was saying girls, (since the guys all signed off after that comment) Had I listened or just looked at the two shoes side by side it would've been an easy decision. I was thinking warm, not traction.

...OK guys you back? Onto the climb. Rumor has it that the path is clearly marked.

I found this, which incidentally is not for the trail I was taking, but a marker still. After this, nadda. The beginning of the trail was clear, but kinda faded the higher I climbed. I would've rather the other way. I can navigate on the ground, tell me where to go up a bit. Towards the top I saw nothing, not even foot prints.

Onward and upward right? The combo of loose rock and snow/ ice was doubling the effort to climb this pimple of a hill on a prepubescent mountain of any stature, but I couldn't let it beat me.

Truth be told I decided not to be the hero and stopped 10 or 15 feet from the top. Live to fight another day. Next time I will either go when its less snow covered.....actually I will just where better shoes. I know its a poor mechanic that blames his tools, but I'm going with the shoes on this one. Here are some picture near the top. I'm not as frozen as I look. Actually its just frost...mostly.. on the other hand, my climbing partner looks much more frozen...

 I guess in this one I look a little frosty.....

Still it was worth the climb for the views. Here are some of town. I've seen this picture on the Internet since I began this journey. Now I have my own.

The little red dots above are helicopters.

There is a box to sign towards the top. Like a guest register of sorts. No book, just the wooded box. Good thing my climbing partner had a sharpie. Last thing I was packing was school supplies.

As I reached the top I got great views of the surrounding hills. The sun was almost blinding.

I could also see the weather rolling in acrossed the open ice. It was beautiful; swirling around and creeping my way. Almost like watching the fog coming in on a lake, or a warm rain in Florida here to cool me off.

...wait cool me off? Its already -30 degrees. Three thing went through my mind:

1. This isn't Florida                   
2. I don't want it any colder      
3. I'm 700 feet up....time to go! 

I really enjoyed the day. I didn't even think about the temperature. It's not that bad when the wind isn't blowing. Really just a perfect day. Think I found my new passion. I truly love it out here, and enjoyed the climb. Next step better gear, then bigger climbs.

But for now I celebrate the small victories.....

On the way down I reverted to my childhood. Got snow, a hill, and a butt? I can get down a lot faster than walking......slid down probably half the hill on my rear end. Wow was that fun!!!!

When I was going through these pictures it dawned on me how truly happy I look here. Even though my eyelashes are frozen, I haven't felt so happy in a long time. Of all places to find joy!

Till next time..."Cooking on Ice"