Monday, April 27, 2015

16. Professor Numb Nuts in Antarctica

Excerpt from Chapter 16
Blizzard in Fosdick Mountains, Marie Byrd Land. Photo © Steve Richard.

[Scene: The Team is now at their deep field site in the Fosdick Mountains, northern Ford Ranges of Marie Byrd Land. Bruce and Dave are sharing a Scott tent and riding out an Antarctic blizzard for the first time. Bruce feels the call of nature and must face a cold reality…]

“Damn Dave, I need to go out for a BM. It’s a f**kin’ blizzard.” I said.

“Ha, ha, ha Bruce, send me a postcard, ha ha ha.”

This will be unpleasant. We didn’t have time or energy last night to build a latrine made of snow blocks we cut, and didn’t have a toilet tent. Geez, can I wait unit the blizzard stops? That could be days. Our training warned about constipation, a common problem with field parties. That would make my situation much worse.

With reluctant determination I put on fleece pants over my long johns, wind pants over the fleece pants, a windbreaker over my fleece jacket and another pair of socks. I moved to the entrance and grabbed my boots, put them on and then my balaclava hat and goggles. I put on my parka and gloves last, put TP in my pocket. I untied the canvas tunnel and started to crawl out through it. Dave drank his Raro, looked at me, shook his head, grinned.

I pushed open the tunnel, crawled into it, stuck my head out into the blizzard. I saw only violent white, could just see the shadow of the Chris and Steve’s tent. I jumped out into the snowstorm and stood up, wind blew horizontal across my body and pushed me sideways. From inside Dave grabbed the loose tunnel fabric and tied it closed.