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THE VOICE FROM ANTARCTICA

December 5, 2013

Novo Research Base Antarctica12/2/13 REPORT FROM SUE

 Sue called home via her satellite phone connection.

The 360 degree views from Holtanna Glacier expedition site is a shimmering white desert-like setting with stark 2,000 foot sheer rock walls of light brown with pink quartz stone rising out of the white like giant fangs. Their camp is at the base of the rock walls. If you are interested in viewing this area, the following URL provides amazing photos and videos http://gripped.com/articles/antarcticas-great-climb/

 Even in relatively good weather, it can change minute by minute with sharp drops in temperature if clouds block the sun.  She said: One minute we’ll be in T-shirts outside in the sun, and then the sun goes behind a cloud, and we have to bundle up in lots of layers. At night, there’s complete silence. Every once in while, I’ll hear a boot crunching in the snow past my tent.

 The closest weather reporting station to Sue’s current location on Holtanna Glacier (106 miles away) is the Russian Novo base research station. Today at Novo, the not so balmy summer weather was clear with a temperature of 23 degrees, actually warmer than it is here in Whitefish. These are temperatures are moderate for those who like winter sports, but working outside and sleeping in tents at those temperatures for months is a different story.

 If the temperatures are similar to Novo, last night it was -2 degrees F and tonight, warmer at 14 degrees. Throughout the week, the crew may have clear skies with temperatures ranging from 27-34 degrees in the daytime to 9-14 at night. 24 hours of daylight helps provide the ability to work long hours, but labor in the cold burns many calories and is quickly exhausting. Based on current assessments, Sue reported the project is likely to stretch into February.

 Sue is experienced and hardy with years of experience in all climates, from the hottest in Africa in the Afar Region, the coldest in Antarctica and the highest in Nepal. Her years on the ski patrol at Crested Butte Ski Resort in Colorado, with Wilderness Medical Associates teaching survival skills, and when she wasn’t looking for avalanche victims with her dog Sasha jumping out of helicopters, she worked for 11 years providing care to orthopedic and urgent medical patients in a ski clinic. On this trip, she has already used some of the skills she learned in her varied jobs. Every day she has had medical emergencies including: a leg laceration, finger cuts and a blistered nose. Protection from the unrelenting sun is very important.

Along with medical issues, another job keeping her busy includes helping prepare meals. The cook on the trip is a woman named Lou. They both sound like they are having a great time so far. As news comes in, I will up date you.

 Betty

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