Three miles due north of McMurdo Station is a superb rock feature called Castle Rock. On Sunday with no wind predicted, Martina, Dan and I plan an ascent. We first check out at the firehouse, collect our radio and leave our itinerary with Firehouse Annie. We transit the pumice roads of McMurdo Station past the Vehicle Maintenance Facility (big truck fix-it shop), up the hill past the explosive storage and “T-site” where all the antennas are (see “McMurdo Sunday” below–Castle Rock is directly in front of Mt. Erebus). On our left are two huge spheres: the NASA tracking facility and the New Zealand equivalent. A right turn puts us on the snowfields of Hut Penninsula where we find our first emergency shelter (called Apple One). Another mile and a half takes us across a sweeping expanse with Castle Rock dominating the skyline in front of Mt. Erebus. A short 20 minute scramble brings me to the summit–fixed ropes protect the last exposed section 870+ feet above the Ross Sea. For more information on this route or others in the Ross Island area, click here.

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