Being a pampered Wasatch skier, it has been a long time since I’ve had he pleasure of skiing in the rain, but my Northwest roots were well watered today on the Martial Glacier. Aside from the gusts of wind that could knock you down, the skiing itself wasn’t too bad. As an added bonus, what was bad yesterday (hard ice) was soft and skiable today, but the powder was smoked, or actually more like boiled.
Regardless, it was still fun to get out with Dave, Launce and Paul, and of course, it wasn’t crowded. I like skiing on the Martial Glacier as it is such a good warm-up for Antarctica. Sometimes it is easy point & chute conditions, but more often you have to hunt around a bit to figure out which aspect or terrain feature is going to have the best snow. Being down in the Roaring 40’s latitudes means that wind is a major factor, which is generally bad, but if there has only been and inch or so of new, often the wind loaded gullies can have 10″ of cream.
Of the 120ish people who are going over to Antarctica, most are in town or expected tonight in time for the formal welcoming dinner. The Clipper Adventurer is scheduled to come in at 3:00pm and then we are expecting to head out at 5:0pm tomorrow.
The first 4 or so hours of the trip are down the historic Beagle Channel and sometime around 11:00pm we make a mid channel rendezvous with a pilot ship which takes the channel pilot back. This is cool to watch as by then it is pitch black and starting to get into the open ocean, so all you can see are the boat lights. We are also going to be passing by Port Williams, which has the distinction of being the southern most town on earth.
From there… the Drake Passage. Forecasts are calling for calm seas, which is a bit disappointing. I’m deathly allergic to cats and wilt in the heat, but I don’t get seasick, so I like a nice rowdy ride. I think I’m in the minority on that one.