Thursday 21 September 2017

Antarctic Entertainment.

The descent of Gwendoline, one of the local peaks which makes a good ski tour.
Before I headed South back in March, I wondered what I would do to keep myself entertained through the long dark Antarctic winter. In reality keeping myself entertained has not proved to be a problem at all, I fell like I have been constantly busy.
When I first arrived Rothera was on operating on summer work hours; 8.30am until 6pm Monday to Friday, and 8.30am until 1pm on Saturday. However, after the ship left the station changed to winter work hours; 9am until 5pm Monday until Friday.  
After work ski tour on the back of reptile ridge a couple of evenings ago. There is now just about enough light to get out after work.
At the weekends, weather and winter trips permitting, I have tried to get out skiing and climbing as much as possible. Unfortunately the weather has been very unsettled this year, and so I have not been out as much as I would have liked.
Soft snow. Myself enjoying some nice powder on the side of reptile ridge. 
Rothera is quite a windy place, and the snow we get here is often quite firm and wind affected. However, you do sometime get powder, unfortunately it does not tend to last very long before it blows away. There is some good ski touring in and around the Stokes Peaks, which are about half an hour skidoo drive from base. However, the number of skidoos we have access to is quite limited, which limits the number of people who are able to get out there. Reptile ridge, which is much smaller, but is much closer to base and can be accessed without skidoo can also give some good skiing.  
Climbing on North Stork. Conditions here were a bit better then on Reptile ridge, but not as good as over in the Stokes. 
From a climbing and mountaineering point of view the Stokes peaks offers the best option for day trips. There has been some good snow/ice on some of the routes this year. However, again access is via skidoo, and this as well as the poor weather, has limited how much climbing I have manged in the Stokes this season. Unfortunately the much more accessible reptile ridge has not been in great condition this year. Most of the ice here melted out last summer which was unusually warm and settled. Little ice formed here during the autumn, and so most of reptile consists of  unconsolidated snow on loose and shattered rock.

I have been trying maintain some kind of rock climbing strength. Therefore I have been training a fair bit on the finger board which I brought down with me and the small campus board which was already here. There is also a set of gymnastic rings, which are good for a cheeky half hour session at lunchtime. It will be interesting to see how I am climbing when I do finally make it back onto some rock climbing (although who knows when that will be). 
Trying to maintain some finger strength. 
There is a small gym at Rothera. I have found that half an hour or so on the treadmill or the rowing machine before work is a good way to start the day. On a Sunday evening and a Wednesday evening, Ben, one of the other winterer's, runs a Yoga class which have been going to. After nearly six months, I am slightly less inflexible than I was to begin with, but do enjoy the yoga class.

I have really got into playing go. Go is an ancient Chinese strategy game in which aim is to capture territory and your opponents pieces. The rules are very simple, but is is played on quite a large board (19 by 19) and the things tend to get very complex very quickly.
In the middle of a game of go. So simple, yet so complex. 
Then there are organised stations events. These have included film nights, crazy golf evening and an ongoing come dine with me cooking competition.
All this together with keeping in touch with people back in the U.K, keeping up this blog, and reading (there is a good library here), has kept me pretty busy. 
Steve, in appropriate attire, tee's off in the garage during crazy golf competition.