Saturday, January 23, 2010

Hiking Ob Hill, Antarctica

Hooray! The ARRO is packed and ready to be shipped. It was slow going, but we finally got it done and I'm officially done with work here. Yesterday was some of my army buddies' last night here, they left on a plane North today. So we spent the evening celebrating. First, we hiked Observation Hill - what a great view from up there! Observe the many cool pictures...

View from the bottom

Demolition zone, complete with warning dummy!

View from halfway up

I'm king of the world!

Me and the boys on the peak of Ob Hill

Scott's cross, memorial to Robert F. Scott, Antarctic explorer & ultimate victim of the harsh Antarctic conditions

Scott's cross with a great view of Mt. Erebus in the background

And now, for a short digression into the geology and history of Mt. Erebus:

Erebus was named after a ship by the same moniker, captained by an early explorer, Sir James Clark Ross. Erebus was a son of the Greek god of Chaos. Perfectly appropriate for this volatile mountain. Mt. Erebus is the ideal test subject for volcanologists. It is one of only a few such volcanos in the world where you can witness & study the lava lake directly from the inner crater. It's lake is always active, constantly convecting and well viewed from a relatively safe position. Although one must watch out for the occasional lava bomb, a blob of magma thrown high into the air during a violent convection. Mt. Erebus was first summited by members of the Shackleton expedition in 1908. It is a favorite among scientists because it is so easy to access compared to other similar volcanos. A mere 35 km from the cushy McMurdo station, the mountain is easily reached by helos and has a permanent base camp on its slope.

After the climb up Ob Hill, we hit the Southern Exposure for a few games of shuffleboard, and later in the night I had a chance to go to my first mid rats! (Check the glossary on that one...) Well, it was a good send off at least. Farewell friends!

{Actual posting date: Saturday, January 23rd, dinnertime}

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