SPEC Last Degree Team Day 6


Here we are on Day #6 of our Last Degree Expedition with Robert Swan.

We had a leisurely start to the day. Breakfast at 8:30: eggs and bacon… awesome. Who would believe breakfast was more than a granola bar at this latitude?

Once we packed up the tents, dressed for the day, hydrated and made sure we had pliantly liquid for the journey we started skiing at 10:30amlocal Antarctic time.

On just our 6th day on this ski journey we were blessed with seeing the incredible 22 ° ice halo effect of the sun on the ice crystals. . This halo is formed by light deflecting through the hexagonal face of any ice crystals in thin cirrus clouds or icy fog. No light is deflected less than 22°, setting the minimum diameter of the arc and the hole in the center of the halo. Most light is deflected to approximately 22°, creating a bright inner edge. The vision is truly amazing to see.

Altitude sickness is still affecting some of us but we were warned and all prepared. With that said, we made good progress today at 6.28 nm. Our routine is that we ski for 1 hour… then take a 10 min break, normally for hydration, then repeat this throughout the day. Today we did so 4 times. The we were finished foe the day.

The visibility was very low, making it difficult to see any horizon for much of the day. This also makes skiing harder as the light is flat and you are unable to see any undulations in the snow. Fortunately, the snow conditions Robert said were the best he had seen this year.

Here beyond 89 °S is known as The Crystal Desert – and today we learned why it was given that name. The temperatures are so low, that any precipitation immediately freezes creating what looks like ice crystals or “diamond dust”.  Diamond dust is a ground-level cloud composed of tiny ice crystals. This meteorological phenomenon is also referred to simply as ice crystals.  It generally forms under otherwise clear or nearly clear skies, so it is sometimes referred to as clear-sky precipitation. In polar regions diamond dust may continue for several days without interruption, and today we enjoyed watching these crystals fall and blow all around us, the ground was shimmering. Very cool.

Now in a routine, we are able to get the tent set up in a short period. Which is great due to the low, low temperatures. Daniel and I have the swing of it. Not the fastest… but okay. We’ve somehow also been designated the “Thrown” builders for the past two nights. I must say the design tonight was awesome. We need to order cabinets and floor, but other than that, it’s a thing of beauty.

Our guides, Devon and Johanna are world class. Johanna holds the record for fastest walk to the South Pole. 39 days, 700 nm  and Devon has skied to the South Pole over a dozen times now.

Dinner was excellent and warm and now all of us are tired and camp is now very quiet. 7:30am wake up tomorrow. Hoping to cover 8+ miles on 6 pulls. We will need a Barney Bar or two for sure as we will be on skis for 7 hours. Loving this journey and glad you are along with us….enjoy some images I took today…………

Chris Powell

CMO Commvault