Antarctic Fox
The log of Rachel and Kevin Fox's trip to the Antarctic Peninsula in the Summer of 2008-9
Day 6: Mountain Climbing
December 31 - Just South of the Gullet, the Antarctic Peninsula

After our ice camp was all packed up and squared away, we set sail Southward through the Gullet. It's New Years Eve in Antarctica, and we're pushing to get as far south as possible before our midnight celebration.

After five days of perfect weather, this was our first cloudy day since the first day on King George Island.

Escaping The Gullet

Escaping The Gullet - The boat trail leads off into the mountains. You can't even see the narrow pass called the Gullet that we passed through. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Mirror - “The southern half of the horizon was enlightened by the reflected rays of the Ice...The clouds were of a perfect Snow whiteness and were difficult to distinguish from the ice hills...The edge of this immense Icefield was composed of loose or broken Ice so close packed together that nothing could enter it. It was indeed my opinion as well as that of most on board that this Ice extended quite to the pole or perhaps joins some land to which it had been fixed from creation.” -Captain James Cook, 1774 - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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What's all this then?

What's all this then? - A crabeater seal pops up to keep an eye on us as he takes a big breath in preparation for another dive to grab some krill. Notice how green the water is. Green water means phytoplankton growing under the ice. Phytoplankton means there are krill around thriving on it, and where there's krill there are seals. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Through the Gullet with even less ice than we expected, we made a stop on Webb Island for some hiking and to see the beautiful graveyard of icebergs trapped in the shallow bay.


Passing - Riding in the zodiac boats through a beautiful iceberg mine field. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Helping Hand

Helping Hand - Kevin, Paulyn & Noah beginning the trek to the summit by climbing the snow shelf from the beach. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Because it's there.

Because it's there. - C'mon. What's the worst that could happen? You could roll down the mountain gathering a huge snowball around you as you roll. Worst thing? I meant most awesome thing. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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After landing on the island, some of us took straight to conquering the summit, while Brian took an opportunity to create a temporary snowman-addition to the crew.

Packing Snow

Packing Snow - Having found some really good packing snow Brain is building a snowman! - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Portable Bunny Trail

Portable Bunny Trail - The wide gentle slopes of saddleback glaciers like this make great resting places for seals loking for a couple more runs before they go back in to the water for another snack. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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A snow man and his snowman.

A snow man and his snowman. - Sans coal and a corn-cobb pipe, Brian has made an arctic-ninja snowman. Nobody will see him coming! - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Where's Snowman?

Where's Snowman? - A cloudy day looks quite pretty with a little sepia treatment. Can you find the snowman that Brain built? - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Solitude - I've always found graveyards peaceful, but never more so than when it's an iceberg graveyard whose silent strength dwarfs our ship in the background. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Climbing - Kevin and I following the group up the the mountain. The plan is to get to the summit, at this point I've already decided I don't think I will make it up there. For one my knees are not always happy with steep climbing and some of that ahead looks steep, but also, I was inspired by the textures in the icebergs I saw riding in and Tim said he would take me too look at any that I want if I decide to come down early, I have to say I'm really tempted by this. In the end, Kevin and I made it just a little further than where the lead people currently are in this photo before the two of us and Paulyn turned around and headed back for our own private iceberg tour. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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The higher we went, the steeper the snowy climb grew until Paulyn, Rachel, and I decided it was wiser to document the progress of the others from midway up the mountain, and took some extra time to grab some beautiful shots of the strait between our own Webb Island and Adelaide Island.


Goat-Foxes - We let the others claim the peak while we documented the beauty around us, and the red dots that steadily shrank up the side of the mountain. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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The Expedition of Aughty-Eight

The Expedition of Aughty-Eight - Nothing makes you realize just how much this place doesn't change than to try imagining (or re-creating) the photographs that might have been taken here a century earlier. - Photo by Kevin Fox
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Safe Snowman

Safe Snowman - Brian's snowman is demonstrating proper safety by wearing a life jacket. And of course his head will melt first since he is wearing his cosy warm head gear! I would worry that Brian was getting cold without this except that we were shedding layers too. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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On The Rocks

On The Rocks - Grounded bergy bits on the beach. Say that 5 times fast. I desaturated this shot some because it gave a cleaner prettier look. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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In The Distance

In The Distance - Once Kevin Paulyn and I all trundled back down the hill to the zodiac we looked back up to see where the rest of our group was now. We couldn't see much with our eyes, but my zoom lens found a few of them. - Photo by Rachel Lea Fox
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Land of the Midnight Sun

Land of the Midnight Sun - The GPS officially admits that there's no such thing as sunrise or sunset where we are now. (Note that the photo wasn't taken at midnight. 'Time' in ths photo is just the zeroed-out stopwatch.) - Photo by Kevin Fox
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As you can see from the GPS above, we had already traversed far enough south that there was no such thing as sunrise or sunset, and we're now guaranteed to greet the new year with the midnight sun, but midnight's still a half-day away, so there's more to do...

Read the next chapter: Day 6: Ice Textures

Table of Contents:

Introduction: Telling the Story posted Jan 10, 2009

Day 0: Positioning posted Jan 12, 2009

Leaving, on a jet plane posted Jan 12, 2009

Day 1: The Herc posted Jan 15, 2009

Day 1: Penguino posted Jan 16, 2009

Day 2: Chicken posted Jan 17, 2009

Day 2: Leopard posted Jan 19, 2009

Day 2: Snow Day posted Jan 22, 2009

Day 2: Shipwreck posted Jan 26, 2009

Day 2: Totally Tabular posted Jan 27, 2009

Day 3: Gentoo Cute posted Jan 29, 2009

Day 3: Lichen Shag Glacier posted Feb 3, 2009

Day 3: Palmer Station Visit posted Feb 9, 2009

Day 4: Icy Penguins posted Feb 11, 2009

Day 4: Adelie Awesome posted Feb 15, 2009

Day 4: Leopard Seal Attack posted Feb 17, 2009

Day 4: Kayak posted Feb 19, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Station Visit posted Feb 23, 2009

Day 4: Vernadsky Sunset posted Feb 25, 2009

Day 5: Antarctic Circle posted Feb 27, 2009

Day 5: Polar Plunge posted Mar 5, 2009

Day 5: Mouth of The Gullet posted Mar 13, 2009

Day 5: Ice Camping posted Mar 18, 2009

Day 6: Flamingos on Ice posted Mar 20, 2009

» Day 6: Mountain Climbing posted Mar 24, 2009

Day 6: Ice Textures posted Mar 26, 2009

Day 6: Antarctic New Years posted Apr 2, 2009

Day 7: Crystal Sound Icebreaker posted Apr 9, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 1 posted Apr 17, 2009

Day 7: Abandoned Antarctica: Base W - Part 2 posted Apr 21, 2009

Day 8: Bird Watching in the Fish Islands posted Apr 23, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 1 posted May 5, 2009

Day 8: Icee Day - Part 2 posted May 11, 2009

Day 9: Port Lockroy - Base A posted May 20, 2009

Bonus Chapter: Baby Penguins! posted May 21, 2009

Day 9: Antarctic Humpback Whales posted June 3, 2009

Day 9: Dallmann Butt Sliding posted June 11, 2009

Day 10: Birthday Whales posted June 23, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 1: The Birds posted July 15, 2009

Day 10: Hannah Point Part 2: Elephant Seals posted July 22, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 1: Walking on the Moon posted Dec 11, 2009

Day 10: Deception Island - Part 2: The Martian Chronicles of Oz posted Dec 15, 2009

Day 11: Emperor Penguins posted Jan 8, 2010

Day 12: Black and White and Pink All Over posted Aug 4, 2011

More chapters posted every few days...

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