Tomorrow our three person team, and ~5000 lbs of gear, will depart via fixed-wing aircraft for the Miller Range in the Transantarctic Mountains. There we’ll set up the first of two small remote field camps that we’ll use throughout our six-week field season. Our camp locations this year are farther afield and more southern than last year and, consequently, we’ll be exposed to lower temperatures and more hazardous terrain, including glacier travel. These extreme conditions ultimately require more preparation and training, so we’ve spent much of our last two weeks at McMurdo Station, Antarctica, taking skidoo training, crevasse rescue training, deep field training, etc. These trainings, daily meetings, and gear preparation have left me grossly out of touch with the rest of the world, despite the fact that we’re currently living in a research station with an approximate population of 1000. Nevertheless, I’m eager to unplug further and live in a remote camp with a population of 3.
It’s a particularly interesting time to be out touch with the world. Last year when we returned from two months in the field we learned that Adele must have poor cell phone service and people care about Justin Bieber again. This year is different. This year is a presidential election year. And when I’m skidooing across a glacier, or hammering off pieces of rock with chattering teeth and a runny nose, many of you will be casting your ballots to determine the future of the United States. If you agree to Keep America Great, I’ll agree to Make Antarctica Great Again… whatever the hell that means.