Ice School at Barne Glacier

One of my first excursions out of camp–nearing Scott’s first hut on Hut Point one can see the emerging solar presence after 6 months of darkness. In the very distance is Tent Island and the slope of the Barne Glacier.  Those of us who venture off base must take an ice school first.  The first step is to climb Tent Island about 12 miles north (everything is North now).

Shown here is the Barne Glacier with Mt. Erebus in the background. This ice tongue is emerald green, extremely hard and extremely cold–a poor choice for ice climbing. The Barne Glacier is located on the west side of Ross Island between Cape Evans (location of Scott’s Hut) and Cape Royds (location of Shackleton’s Hut) about 20 miles north of McMurdo Base.

We begin our ascent–it is as if we are on climbing on one of Saturn’s moons.

We have just finished a climb of the highest point on Tent Island which is a remnant of an old crater. The sun is a few degrees above the horizon and will climb steadily soon circling overhead without setting.

On our return, we encounter this huge rift and using an auger, penetrate to the ocean below–this is the McMurdo Ice Sheet we’re drilling through–about 16′ as I recall.

 

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