Sunday, November 15, 2009

Ice Caves and Cape Evans trip

Michael and Meg are auditioning for Easy Rider or . . . . letting the wind hold them up.

Two weekends ago, I went on a recreational trip to Cape Evans. Cape Evans is located fifteen miles north of McMurdo Station, but still on Ross Island. On the way there, we also stopped at an ice cave.

Our sled full of survival gear and the ice cave in the distance.

Our ride to Cape Evans, a delta. I love the nothingness beyond the delta.

During my first year on the ice, I visited Cape Evans four times: twice on recreational trips, once to take out the flagged route, and once to put the flagged route back in after winter. At this point, I'm not as excited to see that piece of history. I was really excited for the chance to see emperor penguins and the ice cave. After being closed a few years, the cave reopened just after I left the ice my first time. Emperor penguins have eluded me every time I've been out, however, I had heard of sightings on the road out so I was hopeful.

The ice cave.

In the back of the cave, the light comes through the ice in the ceiling.


The ice caves are a great addition to the Cape Evans trip. I was told the the caves reopened because the sea ice levels have finally dropped back down. They were high for years because the giant iceberg, B-15, blocked the bay up almost a decade(?) ago and didn't let the ice out each year. The build up is finally clearing out.

Scott's Hut at Cape Evans and Barne Glacier.

Cape Evans is home to Scott's Hut where Scott launched his fatal expedition to the South Pole. Scott was beaten to the pole by Amundsen, but didn't know it until he reached the pole. They didn't make it back.

Scott's sleeping quarters.

My first penguin this time is the same as my first penguin last time.

A little Pittsburgh love . . .

Shackelton's Endurance expedition also used the hut. Shackelton intended to complete a transcontinental crossing via the Pole in 1914. He never made it. He was trapped in the sea ice before he ever touched land and his journey home has been well captured in Shackelton's iMax or The Endurance. The part of that story that isn't well known is that the men waiting for Shackelton on the other side of the continent were left waiting three years because their own ship had blown away in a storm. The anchor is still there today.

An iceberg on the way out to Cape Evans.

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