Posted by: sioglac | Nov 14, 2011

The ride to the ice

Another photo montage for all of you. From start to finish, it took not quite 12 hours to get from civilization (Christchurch, New Zealand) to the highest, driest, coldest, most barren continent on Earth. After the break, how it happens (i.e. click the “more” button):

Shuttle to the CDC at 6:30AM. Finish up packing and put on your ECW gear.

Eat breakfast the the International Antarctic Centre

Take pictures of silly signs
Look at all the parkas (“Big Red”) sitting around. Then a pre-flight briefing
Go through security and board a REALLY big C-17. Thanks USAF!
Snap a tourist-y pre-take off flight (R to L: Knut, me, Ben, Lucas)
Look around the plane. Realize I’m both extremely small and extremely inexpensive to some of the other cargo on board (like the gigantic big sled above).
Change from my ECW blue boots to my street shoes. Realize the boots are Asics Tigers. As are my street shoes. Get confused. Why does the USAP force all its participants to be hipsters (note: I’d provide a link explaining that Tigers are standard issue for hipsters, but USAP [rightfully] blocks UrbanDictionary access at McMurdo)? Then realize the standard ECW issued boots are Bunny Boots and the blue boots are both in high demand and reserved for field workers. Laugh as I decide the Tigers go to the hipsters on ice. (side note: I swear I’m not a hipster.)
Eat lunch on the plane. The “Yummy Muffin” was really good. Chips were okay. Chicken wasn’t bad. Ham sandwich (on the right) looked gross so I didn’t touch it. Also made my poster for AGU on the flight as (accidentally) shown on the computer screen.
Look out the singular plane window just before take off. Get totally blinded by how bright it is. Put on glacier glasses. Stand in awe of where I’m heading.
Deplane on the sea ice runway. Runway thickness was 82 inches (~2 meters), which is really thick for first-year sea ice. Yes, we landed a very large plane on ice that’s about 6 feet thick. And it’s entirely safe. Ice is awesome.
Ivan the Terra Bus was full (the front vehicle in the previous picture), so we got to ride the Delta. Way less bumpy than expected. (L to R: Atsu, Knut, Ben)
Lucas and myself in the Delta. Check out my specially-requested, fashionable yazoo hat. I love it. Can I keep it USAP?! No one else requests them!
From there, we went to our in-brief, ate dinner, and started working. But my first 24 hours on ice requires a whole new post.


  1. […] hours, we “geared up” (meaning put on our ECW) and hopped back in that same delta truck I took from the sea-ice runaway a few days earlier. Only this time all of our luggage was in there and it made for a really crowded […]

  2. […] That’s me on my ride. With my sweet helmet. And big red. And hipster boots. […]

  3. […] tomorrow. Friday and Saturday, they are moving the runway because the sea ice near McMurdo (where I landed 16 days ago) is getting too thin. Which puts us on a plane to Whillans likely on Monday. C’est la vie. […]

  4. […] Pegasus, the new sea-ice runway, which is about 14 miles away on a snow road. And we got to ride in our old friend the Delta. Matt sums up my feelings about this pretty […]

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