Our Tent Blows Away

Well. Antarctica is a windy place. In our training, we were repeatedly warned, “The Dry Valleys are #@&#$@% windy.” All our stuff is rocked down. There are rocks on our food boxes, rocks on our urine containers, rocks on our propane tanks, rocks all over the outsides of our tents, rocks on our tent stakes, and, bizarrely, rocks on our rock samples. There are a lot of rocks. I did not imagine just how many rocks I would be using as weights.

Regardless, one of our tents blew away.

Extremely strong winds fell off of the ice sheet, accelerating downhill, and slammed into our camp on Thursday night. We had barely made it back in from hiking. The winds are sudden and strong, and called katabatics. This katabatic started out of nowhere. It was a gorgeous day, 12 degrees F or so, sunny, windless. And then the katabatic hit. The sides of the Scott tent were basically punching us in the face. I, having never been through a proper katabatic, thought the whole Scott tent was going to rip apart.

The Scott tent survived, but one of the mountain tents did not, despite the staking and the rocking. The fly acted as a sail, and up and out went the tent, off down the hill, through a gulley, and out to frozen Lake Bonney. Within a few minutes, the thing was several kilometers away. Very impressive. Fastest moving tent award.

Several shout outs:

From Kelsey: Happy birthday Mom!

From Rachel to family: I love you more.

From Rachel to Mom: I think I want to get a nose ring.