*&^%(@’ing Ice

| November 16, 2013

Snarg. We’ve had had a lot of sea ice on this trip, which is perhaps what you might expect on a trip to Antarctica, but WTF. Antarctic ice is a very dynamic situation and something that has to be seen to be understood. When in moves in, it is a force to be respected, like it or not. Endless epics and numerous books have been written by parties who have misunderestimated (<--- my favorite Bushism) the impact of ice. When it moves in, it is on a monumental scale and the best you can do is to try to stay ahead of it and not get trapped. Antarctic ice is a lot like avalanches - sometimes the danger is readily apparent, and sometimes it is hidden. The obvious type of danger is when huge chunks are crashing into each other, bobbing wildly up & down and have geysers of sea water shooting up between them. It's probably not such a great idea to take a Zodiac into this. The less obvious danger is when you are in a bay and the ice suddenly creeps in and surrounds you. The Ice Axe trip is usually one of the first cruise ships into Antarctica for the season, which means that some of the channels may still be blocked. While the ice does break up, due to wind and tides, it doesn’t all just immediately evacuate the area, and instead lingers in huge packs. Sometimes the dissipate in a day, but other times they swirls around and make landings very difficult, which was the case this season.

Category: Random

About the Author ()

Andrew McLean lives in Park City, Utah and is a gear designer, writer, photographer, ski mountaineer, climber and Mountain Unicycle rider. He and Polly Samuels McLean are the parents of two very loud little girls.

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