Camping at the South Pole to – 75 c

One of the activities that had outstanding and of which one hears to get here was the spend a night in the tent Scott assemble a few meters from the geographic South Pole brand a while ago. The idea of a night with temperatures from – 100F (-73.3C) seemed a real madness, as surely many of you. Before coming here and experimenting with these temperatures, it seemed impossible. And even after the night also spent this summer as part of the training at Happy Camper, and that has been one of the coldest nights of my life. A very real fear that I never was the not to wake me if I slept.

We hear so many stories about sweet death and at much higher temperatures, which seemed a threat to take into account. But in reality, I do not think that there is such a thing as ‘sweet death’. It is possible that death from cold is itself a sweet moment, but to get to that State where you go to sleep to not wake, you had before going through a phase of extreme cold that is surely enough agonizing. We’re a few meters from the heat of the base, so I imagined that if at some point I began to be really cold, I would wake up, and you could remedy.

In fact, this activity has been doing quite some time, and he never nothing happened. Another fear which had was that even if she could wake me up, maybe then my nose or my fingers already had severe frostbite. That is why he was willing to keep me with everything. So far, between these doubts, and that we had not had temperatures maintained, had not tried it, but this weekend (14/15 July) and there was no excuse. A Saturday, no guard and temperatures of up to – 75 c. I had to try it.

The problem is that just as a my had occurred le to others, so the first ‘stint’ was caught. Three campers entered the store between 10 h and 11 h o’clock. We were in when they return to us avisarían and then go to JP and I. To make time and accumulate some tired to sleep better, we decided a few to repeat of the 300 club. So in several batches, we were enjoying the sauna and massage-75 c on our skin. In April the thing was much more easy, we had some light and the slope was sufficiently small to save him with a couple of steps. Now, it’s all dark and have to make a detour to overcome all the snow that is has been accumulating these months across the base. Still perfectly enough time to reach the Polo brand and enjoy a totally starry sky, and even Northern, this weekend have been spectacular.

He hoped the return of the first group of 6 o’clock or 7 h in the morning, but at 3 o’clock had already returned, only that warned me not. Someone saw them back, but didn’t know where they were sacks. I went to the store and there they were, completely frozen. So I had to make several trips to the station to bring them inside and to dry them before using them. That took a while. There were people who continued to make about 300 and asked to take them a photo. To my also I had previously removed. Finally I went to prepare me for the night. I put a layer of underwear extra, wrapped my feet with heaters chemicals, and filled out even a girdle for lumbago, fortunately I have not had to use, chemical heaters to get around the belly. After my two balaclavas, as when I’ll run, and several heaters also for hands, aside from gloves and mitts. Again back to the store with bags. With all this clothing, move is complicated, and prepare the inside of the tent you exhausted. I put several bags as insulation extended on the ground and then one inside the other for sleeping. I got boots and everything and I could just close zippers to middle waist. I tried to take a photo, but it was really complicated, and in the time needed to prepare everything froze the camera. So I kept it in the body for the night, got another pair of mitts, and I lay. The feeling was great. You’re wearing so many layers that you feel like in a cloud, or how one of these space capsules in the hibernating astronauts in fiction films. With the cumbersome that results often sleep in tent, feeling there inside was totally comfortable, provided, of course, is, you don’t want to change their stance. At the time he entered JP. I took the entire face covered, to the eyes, so I just felt it. For a few hours we doze, feeling totally comfortable. To hang out JP began to have cold hands, and returned to base. For those heights, I saw that there was no risk, so it didn’t stay single. For a few hours it would be the person most South of the planet. I started noticing something cold in the upper part of the body, despite the layers, so that little by little trying to squeeze me into the sack to protect the shoulders.

I didn’t sleep much. I have in fact only a notion of having slept because I dreamed. I dreamed that he entered light by the store, and that was day and hour of waking up. Of course I knew that it was a dream, because you will not here until September, dawn. A while later I joined a little, I got some chemical heater more hands, because they had already they didn’t have any effect, and I tried to close something more zippers. That was enough to again regain a certain sense of comfort and hold one good while longer. Shortly after I called the Chief radio. He had apparently accidentally pressed a button, and they thought maybe he needed help. It took me awhile to reach radio, hidden between layers of clothing, but I was able to reassure them. I held still and dormité a while, up to 15 h 30 or 16 h when I decided that it was time to return. Then, the worst is to collect bags again. Hands, that you manipulate, remain very cold right away, but it was the last effort. I also got a pocket a battery that had kept and I tried to record a small video, and I took a picture with neutrino, which did not want to miss this event. The lens, but rather was frozen, and with condensation, don’t get to see much.

Back at the base, he played back to sit and dine. I also had time to see a documentary of climbing in which by the way, came out areas of Catalonia and also Albarracín! But shortly after they warned of the Aurora, which had been appearing throughout the day, westerly. I was lazy, but it was a unique opportunity, so I went back to dress me and going out to enjoy the show and get a photo. It was amazing. Although colors coming if the photos are not appreciated at first glance (and showing for the first time red, purple, yellow, etc), extended covering the entire sky, and raining on us engrossed and half frozen. I don’t know if he will return to repeat something, is little more than one month in order to enjoy them, and it is sure that this time is going to be recorded for a long time.

That was the weekend. Despite having not gone bad night in the shop, I caught the bed with pleasure. Some of the classmates who tried it also, spent a horrible night, others enjoyed it like me. The key is to really go well warm. I believe that you trips that I did taking and bringing the sacks also helped to put me in the sack with heat. But if you’re not well sheltered, then you’re losing body heat and the cold is so extreme that there is no hope of a return to warm. It makes me reflect on one of adventure challenges that are still pending, to reach the South Pole in winter. No wonder that no one has tried it yet. Our night here is a fully controlled ‘experiment’. I took 10 or 15 pairs of chemical heaters, and we had the base two minutes, they were not realistic conditions for someone who has raised a crossing. Hold the 24 h of the day these temperatures for days and days and no possibility of rescue seems almost impossible. But that is the challenge.

About 20 years ago I spent one night at the top of the Moncayo in middle of January along with some friends and my father. That night I think we rondamos-10 c and it is one of the worst nights I can remember, we had a terrible cold. Who I was going to say that 2 decades later it would repeat the experience nothing less than at the South Pole and to – 75 c!