After 3 gorgeous and sunny days, the sky as blue as only an Antarctic sky can be, the ice fog surrounded Vinson Base Camp last night. The view out the tent was white on white.
It crept up the Nimitz Glacier, and if it ever got dark here, we would use the cliche, “under the cover of darkness.” Instead, “while we slept” will have to do.
The ice fog is a crystalline mix of ice floating in the air, a sense of living in a cloud and a biting cold. No meteorologist would probably call it ice fog, but it is the most apt description of how it looks and feels.
The snow underfoot, which resounds at the best of times, practically echoes on the walk to the dining tent. Inside, the view out the window is still a bright white, indicating that the Camps above are most likely clear and sunny.
With all climbing teams on the mountain, the “day in the life of Vinson Base Camp” will consist of weather observations and radio calls to Union Glacier, checking in with all our teams on the hill, shoveling snow into what looks like a stainless steel hot tub so we have a constant supply of water. Then we tackle the myriad of tasks on our list, from an updated inventory of our extensive Base Camp first aid kit, to burying supplies left for next year for a departing team, to doing yet more snow shoveling to keep the water tank full.
Yet there is always the ice of Antarctica underfoot, the glare of the sun even through the fog, the shifting cracks and pops of the glacier as it slides us slowly but inevitably down the mountain that makes it all unique.
We shall have pancakes, bacon and eggs for breakfast, a second pot of fresh coffee, and dive into our day.